Inspired by former U.S. President John F. Kennedy, at the time when he formally addressed the issue of consumer rights back in 1962, the World Consumer Rights Day was first observed on 15th March 1983 and since then it has become a very important day in terms of gathering citizens and persisting them to imparting their voice towards their rights.
The theme for this year’s World Consumer Rights Day, 2019 is “Trusted Smart Products”. The theme has been chosen by “consumers international” with the reasoning that,
“From smart phones to wearable fitness trackers, to voice-activated assistants and smart TVs, many of the products we use are increasingly becoming connected by default.
This World Consumer Rights Day, we want to highlight what consumers want and need from a connected world and how important it is to put them at the heart of the development of these digital products and services.”
This day is celebrated in order to spread awareness amongst the consumers and outspread the rights laid down for them. It is an initiative for the masses and the protection of their rights.
“If consumers are offered inferior products, if prices are exorbitant, if drugs are unsafe or worthless, if the consumer is unable to choose on an informed basis, then his dollar is wasted, his health and safety may be threatened, and the national interest suffers.”
Four basic rights that were declared in the speech delivered by US President John F. Kennedy in 1962 were [Foundation Stones]:
- Right to safety
- Right to be informed
- Right to choose
- Right to be heard
Two decades later, in the 1980s, four more rights were added by the international coalition of consumer groups:
- Right to redress
- Right to satisfaction of basic needs
- Right to consumer education
- Right to a healthy environment
Since that time these eight rights have formed the basis for ongoing work by consumer groups throughout the world.
“Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.”
-Former U.S. President John F. Kennedy
The constant reminder for Indian citizens for knowing their rights has been “Jago Grahak Jago”. Several campaigns have also been launched for the same yet the need to spread the word should not stop.
Out of the various laws that have been enforced to protect consumer rights in India, the most important is the Consumer Protection Act, 1986. According to this law, everybody, including individuals, a firm, a Hindu undivided family and a company, have the right to exercise their consumer rights for the purchase of goods and services made by them. It is significant that, as a consumer, one knows the basic rights as well as about the courts and procedures that follow with the infringement of one’s rights.
In general, consumer rights in India are listed below:
- The right to be protected from all kind of hazardous goods and services
- The right to be fully informed about the performance and quality of all goods and services
- The right to free choice of goods and services
- The right to be heard in all decision-making processes related to consumer interests
- The right to seek redressal, whenever consumer rights have been infringed
- The right to complete consumer education
Quotes to remember:
“Customers are the most important visitor on our premises, they are not dependent on us, we are dependent on them. They are not an interruption in our work. They are the purpose of it. They are not outsiders in our business. They are part of it; we are not doing them a favour by serving them. They are doing us a favour by giving us an opportunity to do so.”
“We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts, it’s our Job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.”
Competition is not only the basis of protection to the consumer but is the incentive to progress.
List of some famous “Consumer Protection Cases”:
- Om Prakash v. Reliance General Insurance, (2017) 9 SCC 724
- M. Kochar v. Ispita Seal, 2017 SCC OnLine NCDRC 1189
- National Insurance Co. Ltd. v. Hindustan Safety Glass Works Ltd., Civil Appeal No. 3883 of 2007
- General Motors India (P) Ltd. v. G.S Fertilizers (P) Ltd., 2013 SCC OnLine NCDRC 126
- Adelkar Pratibha B. v. Shivaji Estate Livestock And Farms (P) Ltd., 2015 SCC OnLine NCDRC 7
“Awareness” is the only key for the protection of rights.
† Legal Editor, EBC Publishing Pvt. Ltd.