Consumers who are unaware of their rights are vulnerable to the marketplace. It is vital for consumers to be aware of their rights so that they can make choices confidently, and with due regard to their interests. Consumer Rights include, but are not limited to, the following ((Consumer Rights, Department of Consumer Affairs, accessed at https://consumeraffairs.nic.in/organisation-and-units/division/consumer-protection-unit/consumer-rights:
Right to protection against goods and services which are hazardous to life and property
Goods should not only meet the consumers’ immediate needs, but also fulfill long-term interests, and the use of goods and services should not result in any harm to consumers. For instance, if a person uses a medicine that cures an immediate ailment such as the flu, but the medicine causes worse side-effects, then they can file a consumer complaint.
Right to be informed
Consumers have the right to be informed about the quality, quantity, potency, purity, standard and price of goods. This right ensures that sellers put out authentic information on the product labels and do not make claims which are not true.
The government also publishes a price monitoring list for essential commodities along with Mandi prices, daily price reports, educational material on consumers’ digital safety etc. Some state Governments, such as Tamil Nadu, have also published advisories to educate consumers.
Right to choose a variety of items at competitive prices, wherever possible
Consumers have the right to get basic goods and services at fair prices. For example, you have the right to buy medicines either from the hospital medical store or from general stores at fair prices.
Right to file a complaint at Consumer Redressal Forums
Consumers have the legal right to use Redressal Forums to file their complaints. Every consumer has a right to file a complaint and be heard so that the grievance can be resolved.
Right to seek redressal against unfair trade practices
Unfair trade practices usually relate to cheating, deceiving, or defrauding the consumer through schemes, advertisements etc. The law protects consumers from being exploited and creates a system for the consumer to claim a fair settlement through the redressal forums.2