Consumers are one of the critical factors in the development of the economy of any nation. But unfortunately, many a time we hear about the duplicity, cheating by way of overcharging, black marketing, misleading advertisements, etc. It has become the common practice of greedy sellers and manufacturers to make unreasonable profits. In this context, the government has to confer some rights on consumers to safeguard their interests.
Let us discuss the rights of consumers which are mentioned in details at the Official Website of Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution.
Rights and Duty of Consumers In India (Consumer Court)
- Right to Safety: The right to be protected against goods which are hazardous to life and property.
- Right to Information: The right to be informed about the quality, quantity, purity, price, and standards of goods.
- Right to Choose The right to be assured access to a variety of products at competitive prices, without any pressure to impose a sale, i.e., freedom of choice.
- Right to be Heard: The right to be heard and assured that consumer interests will receive due consideration at appropriate forums.
- Right to Seek Redressal: The right to get relief against unfair trade practice or exploitation.
- Right to Education: The right to be educated about the rights of a consumer.
Documents regarding the Consumer Protection Act can be downloaded from here
Duties of consumers in India
Along with the Rights of the consumer, here are some responsibilities of the consumer, which should be followed.
- Illiteracy and Ignorance: Consumers in India are mostly illiterate and ignorant. They do not understand their rights. So its our duty to know about our rights and to use it in the right place.
- Unorganized Consumers: In India, consumers are widely dispersed and are not united. They are at the mercy of businesspeople. On the other hand, producers and traders are organized and powerful.
- Spurious Goods: There is an increasing supply of duplicate products. It is challenging for an ordinary consumer to distinguish between a genuine product and its imitation. It is necessary to protect consumers from such exploitation by ensuring compliance with prescribed norms of quality and safety. Always check the standards of the product.
- False Advertising: Some businessmen give misleading information about quality, safety, and utility of products. Consumers are misled by false advertisement. To stop this, we the consumer have to know about the product.
- Malpractices of Businessmen: Only a consumer can avoid and stop the malpractices of the businessmen by opposing them. So this is one of the duties of consumer
Where consumers can file complaints:
- National Consumer Helpline: 1800-11-4000
- Direct email to Consumer Complaints Official Email Id email@example.com
- Send a suggestion using this Email Form.
- Download the details of Telephone Directory of Department of Consumer Services.
- The complete FAQ on Consumer ACT
Consumer Court Complaints are generally categorized into three sections.
- Where the value of goods and services involved is less than Rs. 20 Lakhs in value, you will have to file the complaint in the District Forum constituted in the specified districts of a State.
- Where the value of goods and services involved is more than Rs. 20 Lakhs in value but does not exceed Rs 1 crore you will have to file the complaint with the State Commission (Address of Consumer Court in India) constituted in the capital cities of the different states
- Where the value of goods and services involved is more than one crore in value, then you can file a complaint with the National Commission which has been constituted only in New Delhi.
What are the particulars that should be furnished along with the complaint?
The following details should be prepared before filing a complaint in Consumer Court.
- Name and complete address of the complainant
- Name and full address of the opposite party/parties.
- Date of purchase of goods or services availed.
- Amount paid for the above purpose.
- Particulars of goods purchased with numbers or details of services availed
- Details of complaint, whether it is against Unfair Trade Practice/supply of defective goods/deficiency in service provided / collection of excess price, should explicitly be mentioned in the complaint petition.
- Bills/receipts and copies of connected correspondence, if any.
- The relief sought for under this Act.
- The complainant or his authorized agent should sign a complaint.
What is the time limit for filing a complaint?
A complaint has to be filed within two years in the Consumer Court from the date on which the cause of action/ deficiency in service/defect in goods arises. However, a complaint may also be filed after two years, if the complainant satisfies the District Forum that he/she has sufficient reasons for not filing the complaint within such period.
So start using your consumer rights and get benefit from it!!