By Kuch Khaas Hai Thursday, June 6, 2013 0 comments

Who is a consumer?
1.2 Section 2(d) of the Consumer Protection Act says that consum­er means any person who—
   (i)  buys any goods for a consideration which has been paid or promised or partly paid and partly promised, or under any system of deferred payment, and includes any user of such goods other than the person who buys such goods for consideration paid or promised or partly paid or partly promised, or under any system of deferred payment when such use is made with the approv­al of such person, but does not include a person who obtains such goods for resale or for any commercial purpose; or
  (ii)  hires or avails of any services for a consideration which has been paid or promised or partly paid and partly prom­ised, or under any system of deferred payment, and includes any beneficiary of such services other than the person who hires or avails of the services for consideration paid or promised, or partly paid and partly promised, or under any system of deferred pay­ment, when such services are availed of with the approval of the first mentioned person;

Objects of the CONSUMER PROTECTION ACT, ` [Sections 6 and 8]
There is one basic thought that ‘consumer needs to be protect­ed’. Another thought is - how he can be protected? Definitely, there has to be some agency to work towards this protection. The Act has provided for constitution of Consumer Councils for this purpose.
Now, when we say that these councils are there to protect the consumers, a question arises - consumers are protected against what? 

Rights to consumer

Right to safety - It is right to be protected against the marketing of goods and services which are hazardous to life and property.
Unsafe goods may cause death or serious injury to the user due to defective ingredients, defective design, poor workmanship, or any other reason. At times safety hazards are found due to absence of proper instructions to use the product. Thus it is to be ensured that—
Manufacturers and traders ensure that the goods are safe for the users, in case of hazardous goods, they give clear instructions as to mode of use, consumer is informed of the risk involved in improper use of goods, and vital safety information is conveyed to consumers.
Manufacturers or distributors who become aware of the unforeseen hazards after the goods are supplied must inform the authorities and the public in order to forewarn consumers about such hazards.

Where a product is found such as is likely to be hazardous even when properly used, traders should either recall it and modify the same, or replace it with a new product, or adequately compen­sate for it.

Right to information - It is right to be informed about the quality, quantity, potency, purity, standard and price of goods or services, with a view to protect the consumer against unfair trade practices.
Adequate information is very important in order to make a right choice. In our country, however, consumers do not get adequate comparative information about the quality, quantity, potency, purity, standard and price of different kinds of goods or services which are available. As a result buying decisions become difficult. Therefore consumers need to be given maximum information about the wide variety of competing goods available in the market.

Right to choose - The right to choose can be made meaningful by ensuring access to a variety of goods and services at competitive prices.
Fair and effective competition must be encouraged so as to provide consumers with the widest range of products and services at the lowest cost.

Right to represent - It is right to be heard and to be assured that consumer’s interests will receive due consideration at appropriate forums.
The Consumer Protection Act, 1986 has well taken care of this right by making available the instrumentality of Redressal Forums. Every consumer has a right to file complaint and be heard in that context.

Right to redressal - It is a right to seek redressal against unfair trade practices or restrictive trade practices or unserpu­lous exploitation of consumers.
When consumers are wronged in a market place transaction, appropriate and adequate redress must be available. The Act has ensured this right by establishing Consumer Forums and recognising restrictive and unfair trade practices as a ground to make a complaint.

Right to education - The right to consumer education is a right which ensures that consumers are informed about the practices prevalent in the market and the remedies available to them.
For spreading this education, media, or school curriculum, or cultural activities, etc. may be used as a medium.

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