India’s National Consumer Rights Day

A business normally thrives on the fact that a happy customer would be returning to the same seller.
A business normally thrives on the fact that a happy customer would be returning to the same seller.

The National Consumer Rights Day is celebrated to make people aware about the rights of a consumer. This day is to celebrate the rights and powers that a customer or a consumer has, but are unaware about it.

This particular Day is not to be confused with World Consumer Rights Day, which is celebrated on 15th of March. The World Consumer Rights Day is celebrated on an international level and the National Consumer Rights Day are for the people residing within India. Apart from this difference, the main agenda of both these days are the same – to make the consumer aware of his/her rights.

A consumer or a customer is a person who consumes any goods or services and pays a certain amount of money for it. It is important that these consumers understand what rights they have and how and when to use them. This day was made to make people aware about the rights of a customer.

The government has to fix prices and rates for nearly all goods and services that are available. It also ensures that prices for the same good is equal throughout a particular region. The sellers at times charge more than what they are supposed to and this is the reason why customers should be cautious so that no one can trick them.

A business normally thrives on the fact that a happy customer would be returning to the same seller to buy products or services. But still there are a huge lot of sellers who misuse the consumer rights and increase their own profit share. It is also getting more difficult to protect the rights day by day as new scams are being developed and there are new techniques to exploit the consumer.

The National Consumer Rights Day was formed in 1986, under the Consumer Protection Act. This was one of the steps taken by the government to help out its citizens.

The major objectives of the Consumer Protection Act 1986 were as follows:

1. To promote and protect the rights of the Consumer such as Right to –

a. be protected against the marketing of goods and services which are hazardous to life and property.

b. be informed about the quality, quantity, potency, purity, standard and price of goods or services, as the case may be so as to protect the consumer against unfair trade practices.

c. be assured, wherever possible, access to a variety of goods and services at competitive prices

d. be heard and to be assured that consumer's interest will receive due consideration at appropriate forums.

e. seek redressal against unfair trade practices or restrictive trade practices or unscrupulous exploitation of consumers.

f. to consumer education.

2. To provide speedy and simple redressal to consumer, a quasi-judicial machinery is sought to be set up at the District, State and Central level.

A business normally thrives on the fact that a happy customer would be returning to the same seller.Unsplash

A new Consumer Protection Act was passed in 2019, which came into force from 20th July 2020. This act will be empowering consumers and helping them to protect their rights thorough various notifies rules and provisions like Consumer Protection Councils, Consumer Disputes Redressal Commissions, Mediation, Product Liability and punishment for manufacture or sale of products containing adulterant / spurious goods.

As per the Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission Rules, there would be no fee for filing cases upto Rs. 5 lakhs.

The Central Consumer Protection Authority may impose a penalty on a manufacturer or an endorser of upto Rs. 10 lakhs and imprisonment for upto 2 years for a false or misleading advertisement. In case of a subsequent offence, the fine may extend upto Rs. 50 lakhs and imprisonment for upto 5 years.

The Department of Consumer Affairs also took certain initiatives to reduce costs and ensure timely redressal of consumer grievances. They are as follows:

  • National Consumer Helpline – Call 1800-11-4000 or 14404. Timing: All Days Except National Holidays (09:30 AM To 05:30 PM).
  • Consumer Forum at District, State and National levels called District Forums, State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission and National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission.

Under normal circumstances, the Union Government of India, along with the State and Local Governments, held programmes and awareness on this day every year. Events were also organized in Schools, Colleges and Universities. This year, the celebrations will be held amidst precautionary measures due to the ongoing pandemic.

(Keywords : Consumer, buyer, seller, rights, India, protection, authority, dispute, government, awareness, Act, rule, provisions, National Consumer Rights Day, December, goods, services, celebrate, price, exploit.)

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