It was on March 15, 1962 that the issue of consumer rights was first taken up for consideration. The first leader to do so was United States President John F Kennedy, who spoke about consumer rights during his address to the US congress. Since then, March 15 is celebrated every year as the World Consumer Rights Day, in remembrance of that historic speech by Kennedy, and to spread awareness about consumer rights across the globe. Talking about consumer rights in the Indian context, newspatrolling notes that even though the country has made significant progress towards consumer protection, there’s still a long way to go to achieve global standards in terms of consumer rights and consumer protection.
Consumer rights in India
We, at newspatrolling, agree with the fact that the quantum of rights available to consumers is a true indicator of a nation’s progress. In India, consumer rights are largely governed by the Consumer Protection Act, 1986. However, there are other governmental organizations also that cater to consumer protection in India such as the Weights and Measures department, Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), etc. The Consumer Protection Act, 1986 has been enacted to protect consumer interests and it is driven primarily by a compensatory approach rather than a punitive or preventive approach. It comprises a three-tier quasi-judicial consumer disputes redressal system, at the District, State and National level.
Feeling cheated? Here’s how you can get justice
A faulty or sub-standard product, goods being sold above MRP, deficient services, goods causing health issues, and other such problems are faced almost every day by consumers in India. The usual reaction is to just forget the entire incident and choose a different brand. However, this does not solve the core problem, since lack of initiative on consumer’s part to get justice will encourage manufactures, suppliers and service providers to continue with their uncaring attitude towards product/service quality. Newspatrolling feels that lack of interest among consumers to fight for their rights can easily lead to the degeneration of the entire market. Here’s how you can protect your consumer rights.
- Approach a Consumer Forum – If you have any grievance against any brand, product or service, the first thing you can do is approach a consumer forum such as the Core Centre (http://core.nic.in/), where you can register to file your complaint. Forum members will mediate on your behalf with the concernedcompany and try to find an amicable solution to your problem.
- File a case at the District Consumer Court – In case the consumer forum is unable to resolve your grievance, you can then file a case at the District Consumer Court. However, before that, it is recommended by lawyers that you send a notice to the company, informing them about your intentions, and also give them adequate time (15-45 days) to respond to your notice. On many occasions, sending such a notice itself has been enough to get the desired response from the concerned company. However, if the company fails to respond to your notice or solve your problem, then you will need to file a case against the company at the District Consumer Court. To file such a complaint, you will need to submit supporting documents such as receipts, cash memos, agreements, warranty card, etc. Case proceedings will begin once you have submitted the nominal court fees.
Patience is the key to getting justice
Newspatrolling recommends that you be patient in order to get justice. Consumer courts have been established to help the consumer, so be assured that you will get justice, even when it may take some time. If you don’t fight for your rights today, there won’t be anything left to fight for tomorrow. So keep the fighting spirit alive, have patience and work towards the practice and promotion of consumer rights, starting this World Consumer Rights Day, March 15, 2016.