A consumer is a person who makes direct use of a product without reselling it. All of us can be counted as consumers as every day in our lives, we make use of several products, ranging from food, medicines, household appliances and automobiles. As a product ultimately benefits or harms the consumer, consumer rights is an issue that needs to be protected by every government.
The Consumer Protection Act passed by the Indian government in 1986 provides the guidelines for protecting the interests of the consumer. It outlines six issues that entail the rights of every consumer – right to safety, right to information, right to choose, right to be heard, right to redressal and right to consumer education.
The consumer’s safety is paramount and hence, marketing of hazardous products should be prohibited. The consumer also has a right to know every detail of a product, which can include the true cost, the quality, the expiration date and any possible negative consequences. The consumer should also be given the right to choose a product among a variety of goods and services that are available at competitive prices. Monopoly of a product or collusion being left with no choice but to buy the available product at the given pricing.
A consumer who undergoes any form of loss due to the usage of a product can file a complaint in special courts that protect consumer rights. The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) has been established to serve the interests of the consumer. Consumer courts have been instituted at the district, state and national levels that protect consumer rights. Finally, the right to consumer education aims to create awareness among the consumers of their rights, through education in schools or through campaigns.
In any market in any country, the consumer is always the king. Therefore it is the responsibility of the government to protect the rights of the consumer.