In India, consumer rights are protected under the Consumer Protection Act of 1986. The act provides for the establishment of consumer forums at the district, state, and national levels to resolve disputes and award compensation to consumers. The act also lays out six rights for consumers:
- The right to be protected against the marketing of goods and services which are hazardous to life and property.
- The right to be informed about the quality, quantity, purity, standard and price of goods or services.
- The right to be assured, wherever possible, access to a variety of goods and services at competitive prices.
- The right to seek redressal against unfair trade practices or restrictive trade practices.
- The right to consumer education.
- The right to a healthy environment.
It also empowers the consumers to file a complaint in the Consumer Forum regarding any grievances or losses suffered by them due to defective goods or deficient services.
The act also has provision for product liability action which makes manufacturers and sellers liable for any injury caused by a defect in their product, and allows consumers to sue for damages.
The right to be protected against the marketing of goods and services which are hazardous to life and property.
The right to be informed about the quality, quantity, purity, standard and price of goods or services.
This right empowers consumers to make informed decisions about the products or services they purchase, including the quality, quantity, purity, and standards of the goods, as well as the prices being charged. It also hold the responsibility of the manufacturers and sellers to disclose the complete and true information about the goods or services they are selling to the consumers and not to conceal or misrepresent any material fact.
This right allows consumers to take legal action against manufacturers or sellers who do not provide them with accurate information or who knowingly provide false information about the goods or services they are selling.
The right to be assured, wherever possible, access to a variety of goods and services at competitive prices is one of the six consumer rights established under the Consumer Protection Act of 1986 in India. This right is intended to ensure that consumers have access to a variety of products and services at fair and reasonable prices.
It is the responsibility of manufacturers and sellers to make their goods and services available to consumers at competitive prices and not to engage in any practices that restrict competition in the marketplace. This right also empowers the consumers to compare the prices and services of similar goods or services provided by different sellers and make a decision based on their needs and budget.
This right is often related with the Anti-competitive practices, which means any trade practice that causes or is likely to cause an appreciable adverse effect on competition within the relevant market, are prohibited under the Indian Competition Act 2002.
It’s also worth noting that this right is “wherever possible” this is because there are some conditions where manufacturers and sellers may not be able to provide access to a variety of goods and services at competitive prices, for example, in the case of natural monopolies, or during times of scarcity.
Unfair trade practices refer to any trade practices that are in violation of the provisions of the Consumer Protection Act, or any other laws in force, and have the effect of harming the interests of consumers. Examples of unfair trade practices include false advertising, hoarding, and black marketing.
Restrictive trade practices refer to any trade practices that have the effect of preventing, distorting or restricting competition in the market. Examples of restrictive trade practices include price fixing, exclusive dealing, and tie-in sales.
Under this right, consumers have the right to file a complaint in the Consumer Forum against any trader or service provider who is engaged in any unfair trade practices or restrictive trade practices. Consumers can also seek redressal for the loss or damage caused by such practices.
It’s worth to mention that the government of India also have their own regulatory bodies for fair trading practices such as Competition Commission of India (CCI) and Directorate General of Trade Remedies (DGTR) to investigate such complaints and take actions.
Consumer education is an important aspect of protecting the rights of consumers. It helps consumers to understand their rights and responsibilities, identify and avoid unfair trade practices, and make informed choices about the goods and services they purchase.
To fulfill this right, the Government of India has set up a number of institutions and programs, such as the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) and the Legal Metrology Organization (LMO) to educate and inform consumers about standards and regulations related to goods and services. The government also runs a number of campaigns and programs through electronic and print media to raise awareness about consumer rights and responsibilities, and provide information about safe and fair trade practices.
This right is also fulfilled by NGOs, Civil Society Organizations and other private bodies working for consumer protection and education. Through various mediums of campaigns, workshops, seminars and awareness programs they educate the consumer about their rights and how to seek redressal against malpractices.
The right to a healthy environment.
A healthy environment is essential for the well-being of consumers, and it is the responsibility of manufacturers, service providers, and government to ensure that the products and services they offer do not harm the environment. This right holds manufacturers and service providers accountable for any environmental damage caused by their products or services, and allows consumers to take legal action against them if their rights are violated.
The government of India also has various laws and regulations in place to protect the environment, such as the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974, the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981, and the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980. These laws have provisions to safeguard the environment and provide penalties for non-compliance.
This right is also related with the concept of sustainable consumption, which refers to the use of goods and services that meet the basic needs of all people without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Consumers can play a vital role in protecting the environment by being aware of the impact of their consumption choices and choosing products and services that are less harmful to the environment.