“Consumer is the King” is the new mantra in current age for the sellers and service providers. We are in a generation of customer-centric environment. With changing times, the economic and business environment of India also went through a transformation. In the 1980s and 1990s, we opened our economy and truly became a global trading partner with the world. Most of the upcoming businesses are twirled in the dilemma of adopting and driving changes. This not only exposed customers to new products but also to new problems. There were no laws for Consumer Protection in India. So, the government finally introduced the Consumer Protection Laws in India to Protect the Rights of consumers. Complaints regarding goods can be filed in consumer court.
How to protect Consumer rights in India?
Before moving further, you need to ask yourself that have you faced any problems as a consumer? Have you ever complained when you have had such a problem? Do you know that you could seek the assistance of a consumer group to protect your interests? Are you aware of the rights of consumers in India?
If no, then this will help to fight and protect each and every right made for you as a consumer. Consumer Protection Act, 1986 secures the interests of consumers in contradiction to insufficiencies and defects in goods or services. It seeks to secure the rights of a consumer regarding unfair or restrictive business practices. This right helps to educate the consumer on their rights and responsibilities and how to seek help or justice when faced exploitation as a consumer. It teaches the consumer to make the right choices and differentiate between right and wrong.
The Consumer Protection Law in India
This act was passed in Lok Sabha on 9th December 1986 and in Rajya Sabha on 10th December 1986. It was approved by the President of India on 24th December 1986 and was published in the Gazette of India on 26th December 1986.
You no longer need to hesitate if you feel cheated as a consumer as the Consumer Protection Act covers all public, private and cooperative sector. And this applies to all the goods and services until and unless the Union government exempts it.
Basic Rights of A Consumer
You have all the basic rights i.e. the Right to basic needs, right to safety, right to information, right to choose, right to representation, right to redress, consumer rights and right to a healthy environment.
You can simply file a complaint by sending a notice to the construction company/ developer, before filing a formal complaint.
This complaint may be filed to eliminate the defect is found to be true by the appropriate laboratory from the goods in question, to replace the defective goods with the new ones of the same type free from the defects, to repay consumer with the appropriate price of the defective goods or charges paid by him, to pay the compensation to the complainant as may be decided by the redressal agency for the loss suffered by him, to remove the defects or deficiencies in the services rendered to the individuals, to stop the unfair or restrictive trade practice or give an undertaking not to repeat in future, not to supply hazardous goods and much more.
Right to be Heard
|1. Make sure you have the contact details of the company’s consumer grievance handling system and that they are easily accessible.
2. Try not to purchase products/services from a company that doesn’t provide details of the consumer grievance officers
Right to Redress
|1. Ignoring losses on purchased goods or services and the failure to file a complaint against them encourages the unethical business people to continue the supply of low standard or defective goods and services. Always complain about genuine issues and never keep loses to yourself.
2. It is your consumer right in India, you must file a complaint if you are not satisfied with the provided quality of product/services.
3. Claim for the compensation/penalties as per the stated rules and regulations to ensure the improvement of quality delivery service.4. Read all the all terms and conditions related to return/replacement of defective goods, refunds and warranty policies.
Right to Safety
|1. While purchasing goods look for relevant Standards such as quality mark – ISI, Hallmark, Agmark, ISO, FSSAI, etc.
2. Stay away from buying spurious/fake/duplicate/hazardous products
Right to Consumer Education or Right to be Informed
|1. Do not completely rely on the words of sellers or the advertisements provided by them. Look for market reviews/feedback. Also, inform officers if you find a service or product to be of sub-standard.
2. The consumer should access to complete information on the quality, quantity, utility, price, etc., of the product or services.
3. Ask for consumer grievance forum contact details of the company you wish to buy the product from.
Right to Choose
|1. Access the alternatives and information available with the product or service in consideration.
2. Compare specifications, other options and fair prices of the goods and services before finalizing on the purchase
3. Study feedback and reviews of the products or services.
What we actually need to do?
Under the Consumer Protection laws in India, you do not need to hire a lawyer to file a complaint. Duly fill the complaint form and submit it to the district forum commission having jurisdiction of the other party’s residence or office of profit or the area where the project is located. Fees for the same could be submitted via a demand draft when the claim is:
- Less than Rs 20 lakh, the plea will be heard by the District Consumer Court.
- Between Rs 20 Lakh to Rs 1 Crore, the plea will be heard by State Consumer Court
- More than Rs 1 crore, the plea will be heard by National Consumer Court
However, it may be noted that a complaint to a redressal agency may be filed by:
- An individual, consumer;
- Recognized consumer association;
- More than one consumer who has the same interest; and
- The State or Central Government.
The complaint to a Consumer Court must be in relation to goods sold or delivered or service provided to the complainant. If the consumer court finds any of the allegations in the complaint filed before it, is true, it shall issue an appropriate order to the opposite party. Before going for consumer court call National Consumer Helpline tollfree number 1800 11 4000 under Department of Consumer Affairs, Government of India.
In order to conclude, every area involving either the sale of goods or services for a valuable consideration a consumer stands protected under the Consumer Protection Act in India. The polarity of this law is unlimited. With time, improvements will undoubtedly provide better consumer protection in India. Till then know your rights, stay safe and stay protected.