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Consumer Rights: ‘Jago Grahak Jago’

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National Consumer Day-24th Dec

By: M Ahmad

In today’s digital world the buck stops with the consumers. With digitization causing a huge overhaul & changing the way customers consume, companies are trying to keep up with the pace of change by leveraging technology that in turn helps them bring creative ideas to life each day. Customers are considered to be the King of the market. This holds true in today’s market scenario. Traditionally, this rule usually entails a company’s promise to provide good customer services to the Customers.

For a business to sustain having its customers is the prime requirement. Various businesses spend a lot of time and effort in advertising and promotion of their product to attract the consumer. Gone are the days of “Caveat Emptor” now it is “Consumer is King”. There are no dearths of sellers who wish to fulfill all of the consumer’s demands, and cannot afford to alienate consumers with bad service or products. Consumers have tools at their disposal such as consumer complaints, courts, forums etc . Every human being born on this globe becomes a ‘consumer,’ who begins to consume things and services in some form or another, and therefore the ‘cost estimation’ and expectation of ‘value for money’ emerge!

Anyone who consumes any goods and service and pays for it is considered as a consumer. A consumer can be a person taking some services of purchasing milk or any other food item.

In India, National Consumer Rights Day is observed on the 24th of December every year and the day is honored all across the world on 15th March. Its goal is to raise consumer knowledge about their rights. The day shows the rights and power of a consumer and customer. The event also gives a chance to protest against the market abuses and social injustices which undermine those rights. This day provides an opportunity for individuals to highlight the importance of the consumer movement and the need to make every consumer more aware of their rights and responsibilities. Customers are the key to success in any business.

On one hand every great salesman or business man believes that there is no bigger asset than a happy customer and on other hand almost every salesman misuses the consumer right to earn his own profit. It’s not easy to keep the consumers’ rights protected as every day there is a new scam and new technique to exploit it but people must be aware about it which makes the significance of this day very important.

Under the Consumer Protection Act of 1986, customers are granted at least eight rights. This also contains six worldwide consumer rights enshrined in the United Nations Charter, which assure fair treatment of customers and the resolution of disputes in consumer tribunals. The consumer rights are:

Right to Safety

Means right to be protected against the marketing of goods and services, which are hazardous to life and property. The purchased goods and services availed of should not only meet their immediate needs, but also fulfil long term interests. Before purchasing, consumers should insist on the quality of the products as well as on the guarantee of the products and services. They should preferably purchase quality marked products such as ISI,AGMARK, etc

Right to be Informed

Means right to be informed about the quality, quantity, potency, purity, standard and price of goods so as to protect the consumer against unfair trade practices. Consumer should insist on getting all the information about the product or service before making a choice or a decision. This will enable him to act wisely and responsibly and also enable him to desist from falling prey to high pressure selling techniques.

Right to Choose

Means right to be assured, wherever possible of access to variety of goods and services at competitive price. In case of monopolies, it means right to be assured of satisfactory quality and service at a fair price. It also includes right to basic goods and services. This is because unrestricted right of the minority to choose can mean a denial for the majority of its fair share. This right can be better exercised in a competitive market where a variety of goods are available at competitive prices

Right to be Heard

Means that consumer’s interests will receive due consideration at appropriate forums. It also includes right to be represented in various forums formed to consider the consumer’s welfare. The Consumers should form non-political and non-commercial consumer organizations which can be given representation in various committees formed by the Government and other bodies in matters relating to consumers.

Right to Seek redressal

Means right to seek redressal against unfair trade practices or unscrupulous exploitation of consumers. It also includes right to fair settlement of the genuine grievances of the consumer. Consumers must make complaint for their genuine grievances.Many a times their complaint may be of small value but its impact on the society as a whole may be very large. They can also take the help of consumer organisations in seeking redressal of their grievances.

Right to Consumer Education

Means the right to acquire the knowledge and skill to be an informed consumer throughout life.Ignorance of consumers, particularly of rural consumers, is mainly responsible for their exploitation. They should know their rights and must exercise them. Only then real consumer protection can be achieved with success.

For the consumer, the better experience always wins. Even if you are a big, hyper-funded player, the experience the customer gets at the end of the day is the deciding factor.

A market without consumers will be a night sky without the stars and moon. To make business grow, the best thing is to understand the breed of your customers and cater to them accordingly. It takes honesty and gentleness to make a consumer happy.

Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning-Bill Gates

The writer is Incharge, Abhedananda Home- Higher Secondary Institution for Specially-abled Children, Solina, Srinagar.  email: abhome78@gmail.com

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