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Consumer Rights

01 Consumer Rights

The Consumer in the Marketplace


  • People participate in the market both as producers and consumers.
  • Rules and regulations or steps are required that would promote development.
  • In case of a complaint regarding a good or service that had been bought, the seller tries to shift all the responsibility on to the buyer.
  • Markets are unfair in operation when producers are few and powerful whereas consumers purchase in small amounts and are scattered.

Consumer Movement


  • In India, the consumer movement originated as a ‘social force’ when the necessity of protecting and promoting the interests of consumers against unethical and unfair trade practices aroused.
    • Rampant food shortages, hoarding, black marketing, adulteration of food and edible oil gave birth to the consumer movement in an organised form in the 1960s.
    • Consumer organisations were largely engaged in writing articles and holding exhibitions till the 1970s.
    • The enactment of the Consumer Protection Act 1986, popularly known as COPRA was a major step taken by the Indian government.

Consumers International


  • United Nations adopted the UN Guidelines for Consumer Protection in 1985.
  • Consumers International is now an umbrella body to over 220 member organisations from more than 115 countries.

Consumer Rights


Safety is everyone’s right

  • Consumers have the right to be protected against the marketing of goods and delivery of services that are harmful to life and property.



Information about goods and services

  • Rules have been made so that the manufacturer displays such information because consumers have the right to be informed about the particulars of goods and services that they purchase so that they can complain and ask for compensation or replacement if the product proves to be defective in any manner.
  • RTI (Right to Information) Act ensures its citizens all the information about the functions of government departments.
  • A consumer who receives a service irrespective of capacity and regardless of age, gender and nature of service, has the right to choose whether to continue to receive the service.



Where should consumers go to get justice?

  • Consumers have the right to seek redressal against unfair trade practices and exploitation.
  • Under COPRA, three-tier quasijudicial machinery at the district, state and national levels were set up for redressal of consumer disputes.
    1. District Forum is the district-level court.
    2. State Commission is the state level court.
    3. National Commission is the national-level court.



ISI and Agmark

  • Certain logos with the letters ISI, Agmark or Hallmark and certification on the commodity covers help consumers get assured of quality while purchasing the goods and services.

Taking the Consumer Movement Forward

  • 24 December is observed as the National Consumers’ Day in India because the Indian Parliament enacted the Consumer Protection Act on the same day in 1986.
  • Although consumer awareness in India is spreading, but it is slow even after more than 25 years of the enactment of COPRA.

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