Let us now discuss the various rights of consumers that are recognized by Government of India.
Right to safety:
Consumers have a right to be protected against marketing of goods which are injurious to health and life. As a consumer if you are conscious of this right, you can take precautions to prevent the injury or if injury is caused in spite of precaution, you have a right to complain against the dealer and even claim compensation. Before purchasing, consumers should inspect 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.
Example: If gas cylinder which is used for cooking, you need to check that it does not leak when it is supplied to you. If it starts leaking afterwards, the supplier will be liable to pay compensation if the leakage of gas leads to fire and causes injury or death to anyone.
(ii) Right to be informed:
Consumers also have the right to be informed about the quantity, quality, purity, standard or grade and price of the goods available so that they can make proper choice before buying any product or service. Also, where necessary, the consumer must be informed about the safety precautions to be taken while using the product to avoid loss or injury.
Example: Cigarette Smokers should be informed that smoking of cigar is HARMFUL and causes CANCER.
(iii) Right to choose:
Every consumer has the right to choose the goods needed from a wide variety of similar goods. Very often dealers and traders try to use pressure tactics to sell goods of poor quality. Sometimes, consumers are also carried away by advertisements on the TV. These possibilities can be avoided if consumers are conscious of this right.
Example: Consumer should be given choice to choose between TATA POWER and RELIANCE ENERGY for household electricity supply.
(iv) Right to be heard:
This right has three interpretations. Broadly speaking, this right means that consumers have a right to be consulted by Government and public bodies when decisions and policies are made affecting consumer interests. Also, consumers have a right to be heard by manufactures, dealers and advertisers about their opinion on production and marketing decisions.
Examples: Company like SONY, LG and SAMSUNG have their own CUSTOMER CARE CALL CENTERS to attend complaints of consumers.
(v) Right to seek redressal :
If and when any consumer has a complaint or grievance due to unfair trade practices like charging higher price, selling of poor quality or unsafe products, lack of regularity in supply of services etc. or if he has suffered loss or injury due to defective or adulterated products, he has the right to seek remedies. He has a right to get the defective goods replaced or money refunded by the seller or dealer.
Example: If you took a mobile connection and the bill shows many hidden charges which were not explained to you earlier. Or the mobile company activated a ringtone without your permission. Then you can go to the consumer court to put your case.
(vi) Right to consumer education:
To prevent market malpractices and exploitation of consumers, consumer awareness and education are essentially required. Steps have been already taken by many consumer bodies to educate consumers through pamphlets, journals and posters. TV programmes have also come to play an effective role in this connection.
Example: Booklets inside with cellphone box which contains instruction and manuals to understand operation of headset.