It is very essential for a consumer to be aware of her/his rights in order to be protected against unfair practices of trade. Some of the rights of the consumers include the right to have information about the quality, potency, quantity, purity, price and standard of goods or services.
Even in the presence of strong and clear laws in India to defence consumer rights, the actual plight of consumers is dismal. The most important legislation for the rights of the consumers is the Consumer protection Act, 1986, which allows every legal entity, an individual, a firm, a Hindu undivided family, a company, to have the right to exercise consumer rights for purchase of goods and services. Apart from knowing one’s rights, it is also important to know the remedies in case one’s right gets infringed.
In general, the consumer rights in India are listed below:
- The right to be protected from all kind of hazardous goods and services
- The right to be fully informed about the performance and quality of all goods and services
- The right to free choice of goods and services
- The right to be heard in all decision-making processes related to consumer interests
- The right to seek redressal, whenever consumer rights have been infringed
- The right to complete consumer education
Apart from the Consumer Protection Act, 1986, several other laws like the Weights, Standards & Measures Act have been formulated to ensure fair competition in the market and free flow of correct information from goods and services providers to the ones who consume them. As a matter of fact, the degree of consumer protection in any country is regarded as the right indicator of the progress of the country. The Department of Consumer Affairs, incorporated by the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, serves as the nodal organization to protect the consumer rights, redress the consumer grievances and promote the standards governing goods and services provided in India.
The following are the circumstances in which a consumer may file a complaint:
- The goods or services purchased by a person or agreed to be purchased by a person has one or more defects or deficiencies in any respect
- A trader or a service provider resorted to unfair or restrictive practices of trade
- A trader or a service provider if charges a price more than the price displayed on the goods or the price that was agreed upon between the parties or the price that was stipulated under any law that exist.