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Consumer Rights - NCERT Notes UPSC
Jun 29, 2022
Consumer rights refer to a consumer's right to safety, to be informed, to choose and to seek redressal, concerning their products when they make a purchase.
Read further to know more about the topic and enhance your UPSC CSE preparationwith this detailed article.
The Consumer in the Marketplace
People participate both as consumers as well as producers in the marketplace, while acting as a consumer they may be vulnerable to certain exploitative exposures such as:
Unfair trade practices like adulteration, wrong measurement etc. by the producer.
Evasion of responsibility by the producer post sales of the product.
Passing offfalse information about the product through media etc.
Due to this, a need for consumer protection in the marketplace arose, giving rise to the consumer movement.
In 1985, the UnitedNations adopted the UN Guidelines for Consumer Protection. This was a tool for nations to adopt measures to protect consumers and for consumer advocacy groups to press their governments to do so.
At the international level, this has become the foundation for consumer movement. Today, Consumers International has become an umbrella body to over 220 member organisations from over 115 countries.
It arose out of dissatisfaction of the consumers as many unfair practices were being indulged in by the sellers.
No legal system was available to consumers to protect them from exploitation in the marketplace. Hence there arose a movement for the protection of consumer rights.
As a result, the responsibility of ensuring the quality of goods and services shifted to the sellers.
Rampant food shortages, hoarding, black marketing, and adulteration of food and edible oil gave birth to the consumer movement in an organised form in the 1960s, in India.
In India, the consumer movement as a ‘social force’ originated with the necessity of protecting and promoting the interests of consumers against unethical and unfair trade practices.
Due to these efforts, in India, the government enacted Consumer Protection Act 1986, popularly known as COPRA.
While using many goods and services, consumers have the right to be protected against the marketing of goods and delivery of services that are hazardous to life and property.
Producers need to strictly follow the required safety rules and regulations.
For example, pressure cookers should have a safety valve.
Right to be informed
Consumers have the right to be informed about theparticulars of goods and services that they purchase (for example, ingredients used, price, batch number, date of manufacture, expiry date and the address of the manufacturer).
Consumers can then complain and ask for compensation or replacement if the product proves to be defective in any manner in comparison to the details informed.
Right to choose
Any consumer who receives a service in whatever capacity, regardless of age, gender and nature of service, has the right to choose whether to continue to receive the service or not.
Right to seek redressal
Consumers have the right to seek redressal against unfair trade practicesand exploitation.
If any damage is done to a consumer, s/he has the right to get compensation depending on the degree of damage.
The consumer can file a complaint before the appropriate consumer forum on his/her own with or without the services of lawyers.
The Right to Information Act (RTI) has expanded the right to be informed to even the government as a provider of services.
December 24 is observed as National Consumers Day.
ISI, Agmark or Hallmark logos and certification help consumers get assured of quality while purchasing the goods and services. For some products like LPG cylinders, food colours and additives, cement, and packaged drinking water, it is mandatory on the part of the producers to get certified by the certifying organisations.
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