Rights of consumers under Consumer Protection Act, 1986

The Consumer Protection Act, 1986  has detailed some rights of consumers which need to be protected by the councils. These are :

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, 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.

Note that the Central Council’s object is to ensure these rights of the consumers throughout the country while the State Councils look to ensure these rights to consumers within their territories

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