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CHAPTER - 1 INTRODUCTION

1.0.1 INTRODUCTION
A consumer is defined as someone who acquires goods or services for direct use or ownership rather than for resale or use in production and manufacturing. Consumer means any person who buys any goods for a consideration which has been paid or promised or partly paid and partly promised or under any system of deferred payment and includes any use of such goods other than the person who buys such goods for consideration paid or promised or partly paid or partly promised or under any system of deferred payment when such use is made with the approval of such person, but does not include a person who obtains such goods for resale or for any commercial purpose or hires or avails of any services for a consideration which has been paid or promised or partly paid and part by promised or under any system of deferred payment and includes any beneficiary of such services other than the person who hires or avails of the services for consideration paid or promised or partly paid and partly promised or under any system of deferred payment, when such services are availed with approval of first mentioned person.

The Consumer Protection Act 1986 is a social welfare legislation which was enacted as a result of widespread consumer protection movement. The main object of the legislature in the enactment of this act is to provide for the better protection of the interests of the consumer and to make provisions for establishment of consumer councils and other authorities for settlement of consumer disputes and matter therewith connected.

The Consumer Protection Act was based on United Nations guidelines with the objective of providing better protection of consumers interests. The act provides for effective safeguarding to consumers against various types of exploitations and unfair dealings relying on mainly compensatory rather than the punitive or preventive approach. It applies to all goods and services unless specifically exempted and covers the private, public and co-operative sectors and provides for speedy and inexpensive adjudication.

In order to promote and protect the rights and interests of consumers, quasijudicial machinery is sought to be set up at district, state and central levels. These

quasi-judicial bodies have to observe the principles of natural justice and have been empowered to give reliefs, of specific nature and also to impose penalties for noncompliance of the orders given by such bodies.

The act was passed in Lok Sabha on 9th December, 1986 and Rajya Sabha on 10th December, 1986 and assented by the President of India on 24th December, 1986 and was published in the Gazette of India on 26th December, 1986. This act was enacted in the 37th year of the Republic of India and was amended from time to time in the following years i.e. 1991, 1993 and 2002.

Consumer Protection consists of laws and organisations designed to ensure the rights of consumers as well as fair trade competition and the free flow of truthful information in the marketplace. The laws are designed to prevent business that engage in fraud or specified unfair practices from gaining an advantage over competition and may provide additional protection for the weak and those unable to take care of themselves. Consumer protection laws are forms of Government regulations which aim to protect the rights of consumers. For example, a Government may require businesses to disclose detailed information about products, particularly in areas where safety or public health is an issue such as food. Consumer Protection is linked to the idea of Consumer Rights (that consumers have various rights as consumers), and to the formation of consumer organizations, which help consumers make better choices in the marketplace and get help with consumer complaints.

Now it is universally accepted that, the consumer has a right to be provided with all relevant information in order to avoid exploitation and make a considered choice in availing of products and services from the market. These rights are well defined; both on international and national platform and several agencies like the Government as well as voluntary organisations are constantly working towards safeguarding them.

1.0.2 REVIEW OF LITERATURE


Mr. Neelkanta Anand (1992) in this study it is found that people prefer to absorb and endure that wrong done to them rather than fight against injustice. This is because consumers do not know the ways and means of facing them confidently. At present the consumer movement in India is in its infancy. Vast

majority of the people are not even aware of consumerism as a movement closely connected with the protection of their interest. Many constitutional provisions have been made by government to protect the consumers. Until and unless the consumers avail of these provisions, the protection of consumer becomes inevitable. There is a great need to make them aware of their rights and responsibilities.

Mr. S.K. Nanda (2011), in his address, explained the meaning of the term consumer. According to him, the term consumer indicates the person who pays the money for services of commodities. He focused on the increased power and the role of consumer in the open market during the last five years and highlighted the successful working of Consumer Committee in Gujarat by giving example of Telecom service which is now regulated as per the norms of Consumer Protection Act. He informed the gathering that the Committee established by the state government works on the following six sectors, Credit Card, Milk production and supply, Banking, Travel, Telecom and Consumers goods. The committee is determined to prevent all kinds of unfair trade practices through advice, information and redressal.

Mr. Pradeep Sharma (2008) threw a light on a bitter truth that only government organizations and departments and their employees were not in fault for weak projection and implementation of consumer awareness & protection but the negligence of consumer was equally responsible for the current condition. He felt that rural areas were the primary victims of mal-trade practices and that there was a difference between the awareness of people in developed countries as well as in countries of third world by sharing his personal experiences.

Mr. Alka Sirohi (2007), quoted that her transfer to the Dept. of Consumer Affairs put her in an important and powerful designation which has helped her serve the maximum number of people. She felt that Consumer Protection is required to give respite to the hapless consumers in India. She also gave the reference of Kautilya who had even so long ago, imposed on the king the duty of preventing malpractices by business. She further informed the audience that before independence, there was no specific legislation regarding consumer affairs but after independence they enacted a landmark legislation called the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 to deliver justice to the consumers through the District Forum, State Forum and National Forum.

Mr. Narmawala (2008) explained the role of Panchayatiraj in consumer affairs & awareness. He mainly focused on effective utilization of key persons such as Talati, Sarpanch, Gram Sevak etc to spread awareness among rural

consumers. Mr. Narmavalla informed that the Public Facility Centre and Civil Service Centre will soon start operating and will be conducted in every group of six villages within a month. In the 151 phrase, it will commence in 250 villages from856villages. He suggested that maximum effective use of available manpower and infrastructure should be made and efforts should be made to utilize e-gram project, Civil service centre, involvement of Gram Sabha and

organization of training program for the non-officials, and creation of Grievance cell.

This was followed by a presentation of the two T.V spots-Lalaji and Netaji, prepared under the project for a duration of 60 seconds, 40 seconds and 15 seconds. Though the content and style of the two spots were appreciated by the audience; the audience perceived them as documentary films. They felt that the main object of the documentary film was to inform the people to purchase the things after testing the quality and not to Purchase blindly. Moreover it was also shown that a consumer can approach the consumer forum by paying nominal fees.

Prof. Lothar Maier (2008) addressed the following issues in his presentation-the need to pay special attention to the rural population, Problems in reach the rural consumer, like, difficult access to adequate print media and Internet, illiteracy, low degree of consumer organization in the countryside and absence of

trained multiplications of consumer information; Objectives of consumer information and education in the countryside; activities needed in consumer information.

OECD, the paper discussed on how competition policy and consumer protection share common goals and how they complement each other. The two policies share a common goal that is both aim at the welfare of consumer, they both speak the same language with the same goal. In this case this research paper will research if there is a need of having two legislations with the same aim, the paper will evaluate if competition law is effective tool to protect consumers or there are some consumers problems that cannot be protected under competition legislations.

The WTO centre for international trade, Economics and Environment, under CUTS International conferences on competition policy published an article19for the purpose of helping consumers to generate minimum awareness on anti-competitive behaviours in the market. So that consumers can alert the government as well as competition authority in the implementation of competition legislations. Furthermore the article raise emphasis that, consumers gain a lot from healthy competition in the market, due to the fact that competition enables undertakings to function efficiently. Also competition presents to consumers a greater choice of products at lower prices. The article purports that developing countries should design their competition structure based on their economic, social and historical factor not based on the developed nations.

1.0.3 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

Consumers have always faced many problems in different situations and surroundings. These days, different types of adulteration are found in different products and services and the Consumers should be able to reach out to fight against these activities. The major problems faced by the consumers are that of the adulteration of food substances, use of deceptive or incorrect rates on the products, use of non-standard weight and measures in supply of goods, selling above MRP and illegal MRP fixation, supply of incomplete information regarding products, non fulfilment of guarantee or warranty and sale of essential products like Medicine

beyond their expiry dates etc. There is a need to examine all these basic necessities that a consumer should be availed of without any double checking.

1.0.4 NEED AND IMPORTANCE OF THE STUDY

As a consumer, many people are not aware of their basic rights. Hence, there is a need to conduct a study to know about their level of awareness towards their rights and responsibilities. This study is oriented towards Consumers and the several laws which have been issued towards the protection and awareness of the consumer. The research work was conducted at Trivandrum district, Kerala randomly selecting common customers throughout the place. The study is based on Consumers, their protection acts and how the consumers are effectively using them for the same.

1.0.5 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY


To study the Consumer Protection steps among common people. To analyse whether the steps are successfully implemented or not. To study the knowledge level of people regarding rights of Consumers. To analyse success of various Consumer Protection steps taken by the Government. To analyse the view of the common people regarding Consumer Protection.

1.0.6 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY


Designing suitable methodology and selection of analytical tools are important for a meaningful analysis of any research problem. This section is devoted to the

statement of the methodology, which includes collection of data, sampling procedures and tools of analysis.

1.0.7 COLLECTION OF DATA


Both Primary & Secondary data have been used for the present study. The primary data was collected from different segments of respondents. Secondary Data was collected from various published sources like Books, Journals, Magazines, Research dissertation and websites.

1.0.8 TOOLS OF ANALYSIS

For analysing the data and to drive meaningful conclusions arithmetical tools like Percentage, Column Charts, Pie Charts and Stacked Column Charts were used.

1.0.9 SAMPLING DESIGN


The sampling design for the study had been decided after careful consideration convenience sampling method was adopted. The researcher identified 20 sample respondents. The researcher collected Primary Data from sampling respondents with the help of a well-constructed questionnaire. By following the convenience sampling, the researcher has selected a sample of 20 respondents from Trivandrum area. In order to get equal representation, the sample was selected from all kinds of people disregarding their age and profession, and other factors.

1.0.10 CHAPTERISATION SCHEME

CHAPTER ONE - INTRODUCTION This chapter presents an introduction to the study, review of literature, statement of the problem, need and importance of the study, objectives of the study, research methodology and chapter scheme.

CHAPTER TWO - THEORETICAL OVERVIEW

It presents the theories related to Consumer Law, the CPA, and the importance and also to how a consumer can file a complaint against any consumer related violation.

CHAPTER

THREE

GOVERNMENT

MEASURES

IN

CONSUMER

PROTECTION

This chapter presents various schemes that are provided by the Government, the strategic plan for a better perspective of the situation and how to tackle the currently facing problems effectively.

CHAPTER FOUR - ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION OF DATA

This chapter is concerned with the analysis of the data results and interpretation of analysis made in accordance with the objectives stated.

CHAPTER FIVE - FINDINGS AND SUGGESTIONS

This chapter presents summary, major findings and conclusion, and Recommendations for the betterment of Consumers.

CHAPTER - 2 CONSUMER PROTECTION AN OVERVIEW

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2.0.1 Consumer Protection An Overview

Consumer Protection consists of laws and organizations designed to ensure the rights of consumers as well as fair trade competition and the free flow of truthful information in the marketplace. The laws are designed to prevent businesses that engage in fraud or specified unfair practices from gaining an advantage over competitors and may provide additional protection for the weak and those unable to take care of themselves. Consumer protection laws are a form of government regulation, which aim to protect the rights of consumers. For example, a government may require businesses to disclose detailed information about productsparticularly in areas where safety or public health is an issue, such as food. Consumer protection is linked to the idea of "consumer rights" (that consumers have various rights as consumers), and to the formation of consumer organizations, which help consumers make better choices in the marketplace and get help with consumer complaints.

Other organizations that promote consumer protection include government organizations and self-regulating business organizations such as consumer protection agencies and organizations, the Federal Trade Commission, ombudsmen, Better Business Bureaus, etc.

A consumer is defined as someone who acquires goods or services for direct use or ownership rather than for resale or use in production and manufacturing. Consumer interests can also be protected by promoting competition in the markets which directly and indirectly serve consumers, consistent with economic efficiency, but this topic is treated in competition law. Consumer protection can also be asserted via non-government organizations and individuals as consumer activism.

2.0.2 Consumer Law


Consumer protection law or consumer law is considered an area of law that regulates private law relationships between individual consumers and the businesses that sell those goods and services. Consumer protection covers a wide range of topics, including but not necessarily limited to product liability, privacy rights, unfair

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business

practices,

fraud,

misrepresentation,

and

other

consumer/business

interactions. It's a way of preventing fraud and scams from occ service and sales contracts, bill collector regulation, pricing, utility turnoffs, consolidation, personal loans that may lead to bankruptcy.

2.0.3 The Act - Consumer Protection Act

In India, Consumer Protection Act of 1986 is the law governing consumer protection. Under this law, Separate Consumer tribunals have been set up throughout India in each and every district in which a consumer [complaint can be filed by both the consumer of a goods as well as of the services] can file his complaint on a simple paper without paying any court fees and his complaint will be decided by the Presiding Officer of the District Level. Appeal could be filed to the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commissions and after that to the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC). The procedures in these tribunals are relatively less formal and more people friendly and they also take less time to decide upon a consumer dispute when compared to the years long time taken by the traditional Indian Judiciary. In recent years, many effective judgements have been passed by some state and National Consumer Forums. The act was passed in Lok Sabha on 9th December, 1986 and Rajya Sabha on 10th December, 1986 and assented by the President of India on 24th December, 1986 and was published in the Gazette of India on 26th December, 1986.This act was enacted in the 37th year of the Republic of India and was amended from time to time in the following years i.e. 1991, 1993 and 2002.

An act to provide for better protection of the interests of consumers and for that purpose to make provision for the establishment of consumer councils and other authorities for the settlement of consumer disputes and for matters connected therewith.

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The Act provides following remedies to an aggrieved consumer: o Removal of defects in goods or deficiency in service. o Replacement of defective goods with new goods of similar description which shall be free from any defect. o Return of price paid by the consumer. o Payment of compensation for any loss or injury suffered by the consumer. o Discontinue the restrictive, or unfair trade practice, and not to repeat it. o Withdraw the hazardous goods from being offered for sale and not to offer them for sale. o Provide for adequate cost to the aggrieved party.

2.0.4 Consumer Disputes Redressal Agencies


This part of the Act contains 22 sections i.e. Sections 9 to18, 18-A, 19 to 23, 24-A, 24-, 25, 26 and 27. This part provides for establishment of consumer disputes redressal forum at district level, state level and central levels known as District Forum, State Commission and National Commission. It also makes provisions regarding the composition, jurisdiction, procedure to be followed by the District forum, State commission & National commission. Any person aggrieved by an order of the District forum may appeal to the State commission & an order of the State commission can be challenged before the National Commission. Any person aggrieved by the order of the National Commission can resort to the Supreme Court as the last remedy. It also provides for a limitation period for preferring appeals to the State Commission, National Commission and Supreme Court. District forum, State Commission or National Commission shall not entertain any appeal filed after expiry

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of 2 years from the date on which the cause of action has arisen. However, the forums have the power to condone the delay in preferring appeals within such time limit if sufficient cause is shown for not filing the appeal within the prescribed time limit. What is sufficient cause will depend on the facts and circumstances of every particular case. It also makes provisions regarding enforcement of the orders of the District forum, State Commission and National Commission and penalties to be levied under the Act.

2.0.5 Consumer Rights


In the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 of India, the following six consumer rights have been recognized.

2.0.6 Right to Safety As stated in the Consumer Protection Act 1986, this consumer right is defined as the right to be protected against marketing of goods and services which are hazardous to life and property. Specifically significant in areas such as healthcare, food processing and pharmaceuticals, this right spans across any domain that could have a serious impact on the consumers health or well-being such as Automobiles, Travel, Domestic Appliances, Housing etc. Violation of this right is almost always the cause of medical malpractice lawsuits in India. Every year, it is estimated that thousands, if not, millions of Indian citizens are killed or severely hurt by unscrupulous practices by hospitals, doctors, pharmacies and the automobile industry. Yet the Indian government, renowned for its callousness, fails to acknowledge this fact or to make a feeble attempt at maintaining statistics of these mishaps. Indian government is required to have world class product testing facilities to test drugs, cars, food, and any other consumable that could potentially be life threatening. It is not a coincidence that Tata Nano sells in India for half of what it would cost in an industrially developed country; this being a classic case of need for a cheap product outweighing the need for safety of self and family. In developed countries such as the United States, stalwart agencies oversee the safety of consumer products; the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for food and drugs, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for automobiles and the Consumer Product Safety

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Commission (CPSC) for all other consumer products, just to name a few. This right requires each product that could potentially endanger our lives to be marketed only after sufficient and complete independent verification and validation. With respect to empowering this right completely and adequately, India is about 50 years away.

2.0.7 Right to Information This consumer right is defined as the the right to be informed about the quality, quantity, potency, purity, standard and price of goods or services, as the case may be so as to protect the consumer against unfair trade practices in the Consumer Protection Act of 1986. In the Indian market place, consumers get consumer information through two popular, yet unreliable means, namely advertising and word of mouth. Due to this, the consumers in India seldom have accurate and complete information to assess the true value, suitability, safety or reliability of any product. Mostly we find out hidden costs, lack of suitability, safety hazards and quality problems only after we have purchased the product. Another right again trumpeted by our government on paper, this right should ideally ensure that all consumable products are labelled in a standard manner which contains the cost, the ingredients, quantity, and instructions on how to safely consume the product. Unfortunately, even the medicines in India do not follow a standard labelling convention. Unit price publishing standards need to be established for consumer market places where costs are shown in standard units such as per kilogram, or per litre. We, as consumers, should be informed in a precise yet accurate manner of the costs involved when availing a loan. For benefit to the society from this right, advertisers should be held against the product standards in the advertisements, pharmaceuticals need to disclose potential side effects about their drugs, and manufacturers should be required to publish reports from independent product testing laboratories regarding the comparison of the quality of their products with competitive products, just to name a few. Consumer daddy is a website meant to empower the consumers with the right to information. We do not seek or expect any support from the government of India in this mission; yet, we ethically, systematically and fearlessly dissipate consumer satisfaction information to the general public in India. Without websites like Consumerdaddy.com we believe Indian citizens are about 25 years away from being fully empowered by this right.

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2.0.8 Right to Choose Consumer Protection Act 1986 defines this right as the right to be assured, wherever possible, to have access to a variety of goods and services at competitive prices. Competition, invariably, is the best regulator of a market place. Existence of oligopolies, cartels and monopolies are counterproductive to consumerism. How often have you noticed a conglomerate of companies that lobby the government to compromise consumer rights? Our natural resources, telecommunications, liquor industry, airlines have all been controlled by a mafia at some point. Coming from a socialistic background, tolerance of monopolistic market forces are ingrained in the blood of Indian Consumers. It is not very often we can say we are going to switch the power company, when we have a blackout at home! Interestingly, even micro markets such as the fish vendors in particular cities have known to collude to drain the bargaining power of the consumers. In any size, any form, or any span, collusion of companies selling a similar type of product is unethical, less illegal. We estimate that India has about 20 years more of stride to empower our citizens fully in this right.

2.0.9 Right to be heard According to the Consumer Protection Act 1986, the right to be heard and to be assured that consumer's interests will receive due consideration at appropriate forums is referred to as the right to be heard. This right is supposed to empower Indian consumers to fearlessly voice their complaints and concerns against products and companies to ensure their issues are handled efficiently and expeditiously. However, to date the Government of India has not created a single outlet for the consumers to be heard or their opinions to be voiced. There are several websites that strive to do this, and the underlying mission of Consumer daddy is to ensure that the voices of the consumers are heard by the corporate world. At the

Consumerdaddy.com website, consumers can upload criticisms and file complaints. Each criticism filed will slightly lower the overall score of the product being criticized, and each complaint will be independently evaluated by an investigator from the Consumerdaddy.com website. Consumerdaddy.com gives the consumers the benefit of doubt always, in that their voice is heard over that of the company. We, at Consumerdaddy.com, strongly believe that a consumer is always right, and that customer is king. If a consumer makes an allegation about a product, the onus is on the dealer, manufacturer or supplying company to disprove that the allegation is false.

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In other words, the consumer is heard, and the burden of proof rests with the company. Feeble attempts have been made by the government to empower our citizens with this right, and we believe we have 10-15 years more to go on this route.

2.0.10 Right to Redressal The right to seek redressal against unfair trade practices or restrictive trade practices or unscrupulous exploitation of consumers is defined as the right to redressal in the Consumer Protection Act 1986. The Indian Government has been slightly more successful with respect to this right. Consumer courts such as District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forums at the district level, State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commissions and National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commissions have been established through the consumer protection act. Each of these consumer grievance redressal agencies has fiduciary and geographical jurisdictions to address consumer cases between consumers and businesses. Consumer cases less than 20 lakhs are heard in the district consumer forum, between 20 lakhs and one crore are heard in the state consumer court and cases more than one crore are heard in the national consumer court. On paper these sound nice; but hold on before you rejoice. Once started as the guardians of consumer protection and consumer rights in India, these courts have today been rendered ineffective due to bureaucratic sabotages, callousness of the government, clogged cases and decadent infrastructure. Very few of the district forums have officials appointed in a timely manner, and most of them are non-operational due to lack of funding and infrastructure. Estimates put the open legal cases in India at 20-30 million, which will approximately take 320 years to close. With the legal system in this manner compromised, consumer cases that form mere civil litigations will be pushed down the bottom of the priority list. We estimate that India is 10 years behind in effectively ensuring this right to every Indian consumer.

2.0.11 Right to Consumer Education The right of each Indian citizen to be educated on matters related to consumer protection and about his/her rights is the last right given by the Consumer Protection Act 1986. This right simply ensures that the consumers in India have access to informational programs and materials that would enable them to make better purchasing decisions. Consumer education may mean both formal education through

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school and college curriculums and also consumer awareness campaigns run by both governmental and non-governmental agencies (NGO). Consumer NGOs, with little support from the Indian government, primarily undertake the ardent task of ensuring this consumer right around the country. India is 20 years away from ensuring this right empowers the common citizen consumer.

2.0.12 Important Features of the Consumer Protection Act


This may be summed up as under: The Act applies to all goods and services unless specifically exempted by the Central Government. It covers all the sectors private, public and cooperative.

The provisions of the Act are compensatory in nature.

It provides adjudicatory authorities, which are simple, speedy and less expensive.

It also provides for Consumer Protection Councils at the National, State and District levels.

The provisions of this Act are in addition to and not in derogation of the provisions of any other law for the time being in force.

2.0.13 Consumer Rights under the Act


The Act enshrines the following rights: The right to be protected against the marketing of goods which are hazardous to life and property; The right to be informed about the quality, quantity, potency, purity, standard and price of goods so as to protect the consumer against unfair trade practices;

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The right to be assured, wherever possible access to variety of goods at competitive prices; The right to be heard; The right to seek redressal against unfair trade practices or unscrupulous exploitation of consumer; and The right to consumer education. The Act provides for the establishment of the Consumer Protection Councils at the National, State and District levels. The objectives of these councils are to help the respective governments in adopting and reviewing policies for promoting and protecting the rights of the consumers. The composition of these consumer councils is broad based. The citizens and organisations representing different interest groups having implications for consumers rights protection are members of these councils. One may like to add, that the Consumer Councils are required to be constituted on public private partnership basis for better feedback and thereby review of the policy in the area of consumers rights protection. The main objective of these councils is to promote and protect rights and interests of consumers in the society.

The National Commission, State Commissions and District Forums are required to decide complaint, as far as possible, within period of three months from the date of notice received by the opposite party where complaint does not requires analysis or testing of commodities and within five months if it requires analysis or testing of commodities. The Appeals are allowed within 30 days against the order of the District Forum to the State Commission and against the order of the State Commission, to the National Commission. Appeal can also be preferred to the Supreme Court against the order of the National Commission within a period of 30days. No appeal by a person who is required to pay any amount in terms of an order of the National Commission shall be entertained by the Supreme Court unless that person has deposited in the prescribed manner fifty per cent of that amount or rupees fifty thousand, whichever is less. Similarly there is a requirement for depositing Rs. 35000/- and Rs. 25000/- in case of appeals to National Commission and State Commission.

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From the various reports and feedback received by the Central Government, it is evident that many of the consumer forums have-not been provided with adequate accommodation, infrastructure facilities and staff. In many State Commissions and District Forums, vacancies of Presidents/Members have not been filled up which adversely affects the disposal of cases. It should be remembered that the confidence of the consumer ultimately depends upon the successful functioning of the Consumer Commissions/Forums. It is, therefore, a matter of utmost importance that these agencies must function effectively, efficiently and without any interruption. For this to happen state governments are having definite role to perform.

2.0.14 Protection of Consumer Rights


Consumer protection means safeguarding the rights and interests of consumers. It includes all the measures aimed at protecting the rights and interests of consumers. Consumers need protection due to the following reasons: Illiteracy and Ignorance: Consumers in India are mostly illiterate and ignorant. They do not understand their rights. A system is required to protect them from unscrupulous businessmen.

Unorganised Consumers: In India consumers are widely dispersed and are not united. They are at the mercy of businessmen. On the other hand, producers and traders are organized and powerful.

Spurious Goods: There is increasing supply of duplicate products. It is very difficult for an ordinary consumer to distinguish between a genuine product and its imitation. It is necessary to protect consumers from such exploitation by ensuring compliance with prescribed norms of quality and safety.

Deceptive Advertising: Some businessmen give misleading information about quality, safety and utility of products. Consumers are misled by false advertisement and do not know the real quality of advertised goods. A mechanism is needed to prevent misleading advertisements.

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Malpractices of Businessmen: Fraudulent, unethical and monopolistic trade practices on the part of businessmen lead to exploitation of consumers. Consumers often get defective, inferior and substandard goods and poor service. Certain measures are required to protect the consumers against such malpractices.

Freedom of Enterprise: Businessmen must ensure satisfaction of consumers. In the long run, survival and growth of business is not possible without the support and goodwill of consumers. If business does not protect consumers' interests, Government intervention and regulatory measures will grow to curb unfair trade practices.

Legitimacy for Existence: Business exists to satisfy the needs and desires of consumers. Goods are produced with the purpose of selling them. Goodwill, in the long run, sells only when they meet the needs of consumers.

Trusteeship: Businessmen are trustees of the society's wealth. Therefore, they should use this wealth for the benefit of people.

2.0.15 Methods of Consumer Protection


There are four main methods of protecting the interests of consumers: o Business Self-regulation: The business community itself can help in achieving consumer protection and satisfaction through self -discipline. Businessmen can regulate their own behaviour and actions by adopting higher ethical standards. Trade associations and chambers of commerce can check unfair trade practices used by some businessmen. o Consumer Self-help: Every consumer must be alert as self-help is the best help. He should educate himself and know his rights. He should not allow unscrupulous businessmen to cheat him.

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o Consumers' Associations: Consumers should form voluntary associations. These associations can educate and awaken consumers. They can take organized action and put pressure on businessmen to adopt fair trade practices. o Government Regulations: The State can ensure consumer protection through legislative, executive and judicial actions. The laws enacted by the Government must be strictly enforced by the executive.

2.0.16 Important aspects of Consumer Protection Act


Who is a Complainant? Complainant means A Consumer; Any Voluntary Consumer Association; The Central Government; The State Governments or Union Territory Administration; One or more consumers, where there are numerous consumers having same interest In case of death of a consumer, his legal heir or representative.

What Constitutes a Complaint?

An allegation in writing made by the complainant that Any unfair trade practice or restrictive trade practice has-been adopted by any trader. The goods bought or agreed to be bought suffer from one or more defects. Services hired /availed or agreed to be hired /availed suffer from deficiencies in any respect. That a trader has charged for the goods or services mentioned in the complaint, a price in excess of the stipulated price.

(i) Fixed by or under any law for the time being in force; or (ii) Displayed on goods; or

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(iii) Displayed on any package containing such goods

That goods or services which are hazardous to life and safety of the public are being offered to the public.

Who can file a Complaint? A complaint can be filed by

A consumer to whom goods are sold or delivered or agreed to be sold or delivered or such services provided or agreed to be provided. Voluntary Consumer Organisation The Central Government; The State Governments or Union Territory Administration; One or more consumers, where there are numerous consumers having the interest.

The definition of consumer is wide but only a consumer to whom goods are sold or delivered or agreed to be sold or delivered or such services provided or agreed to be provided can file complaint. The definition as provided under Sec. 2(1) (b) is different from list of persons who can file complaint. The legal heirs or representatives of the deceased have been included in definition of complainant by 2002amendment but have not been specified in Sec. 12(1) as person who can file complaint, which, creates a doubt that he cannot file and can only continue as a complainant after the death of the complainant.

A Complaint should contain the following information:

i. ii. iii. iv. v.

The name, description and address of the complainant; The name, description and address of the opposite party or parties; The facts relating the complaint and when and where it arose; Documents if any in support of allegations and The relief which the complainant is seeking.

The complaint should be signed by the Complainant or his/ her authorised agent.

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MODEL FORMS OF COMPLAINT

BEFORE THE HON'BLE NATIONAL / STATE / DISTRICT CONSUMER DISPUTES REDRESSAL COMMISSION/FORUM AT (CITY). COMPLAINT UNDER CONSUMER PROTECTION ACT, 1986.

IN THE MATTER OF: (Name and address of complainant) .................... COMPLAINANT

VERSUS (Name and address of the accused) .................... OPPOSITE PARTY

INTRODUCTION: A brief paragraph about the complainant explaining the name, residence address and occupation of the complainant. A brief paragraph about name, address and occupation of the opposite party.

RESPECTFULLY SHOWETH: 1. Description of the deal and services promised by the opposite parties for the value paid by the complainant. 2. Description of the advertisements given by the opposite parties which attracted the complainant to purchase the commodity and services.

TRANSACTION: Details of the price of goods and services. Details of the bill/invoice (bill number and date, item and amount) Details of payments made by complainant (cheque number/cash, etc.)

NATURE OF COMPLAINT: (Select from list or write as required) 1. Misleading advertisements and false representation. 2. Cheating by giving false promises. 3. Deficiency in after sales service or not abiding by warranty clause.

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4. Harassment by the opposite party. 5. Not delivering the goods and services for which payment is made. 6. Charging excess amount. 7. Any other factors that affected the consumer. OTHER EVIDENCES OF SUPPORT OF COMPLAINT: Copy of advertisement and catalogue that promised the concerned goods and services. Copy of bill as evidence of purchase. Other documents such as agreement copies, bounced cheques, opposite parties' letters. Copy of letters sent to the opposite party to request for rectification of fault and settlement of the grievance.

JURISDICTION: (Select one) As the total amount involved is more than Rupees 1 crore, the complaint is being filed with the Hon'ble National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission. OR As the total amount involved is more than Rupees 20 lakhs and less than 1 crore, the complaint is being filed with the Hon'ble State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission. OR As the total amount involved is less than Rupees 20 lakhs, the complaint is being filed with the Hon'ble District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum.

PRAYER: The complainant therefore prays:i) Reliefs granted to the complainant as demanded herein. ii) That such orders be passed as the Hon'ble Consumer Forum may deem fit in the circumstances of the case. iii) That the accused should be punished severely so that culprits of similar kind would be afraid to indulge in such criminal activities.

PLACE: DATED:

Signature
NAME OF THE COMPLAINANT

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VERIFICATION

I (name of complainant), resident of (residential address) do solemnly declare and state that the particulars stated above are true to the best of my knowledge and belief and no part thereof is false and nothing material has been concealed there from. The annexure are exact copies/translation of their originals. I undertake to pay any sum required for the conducting of test in the laboratory as per the provisions of Sec. 13(1)(d) of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986. Verified at ___________ this ___________ day of __________ two thousand and _________

Enclosure (Mark enclosures as Annexure I, II, III etc.) 1. _________________________________ 2. _________________________________ 3. _________________________________

DEPONENT

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CHAPTER - 3 GOVERNMENT MEASURES IN CONSUMER PROTECTION

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In India, the Government has taken a number of measures to protect consumer interests. The various Government measures may be classified into (i) (ii) Statutory regulation of private business, and Development of the public sector.

3.0.1 Statutory Regulation:


The government has enacted nearly 50 laws which can be interpreted in favour of the consumer. Government of India has armed itself with a number of statutory weapons to control the production, supply, distribution, price and quality of a large number of goods and services. It is empowered to regulate the terms and conditions of sale, the nature of trade and commerce, etc. Some of such acts have been as follows.

Indian Contract Act, 1872

Sale of Goods Act, 1930

Agricultural Produce (Grading and Marketing) Act, 1937

Industries (Development and Regulation) Act, 1951

Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954

Essential Commodities Act, 1955

Essential Service Maintenance Act, 1968

3.0.2 Growth of Public Sector:


There had been a significant growth and expansion of the public sector in India. One of the most important objectives of the public sector was the enhancement of consumer welfare by increasing production, improving efficiency in production, improving efficiency in production and supply, making available goods and services

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at fair prices, curbing private monopolies and reducing market imperfections, improving the distribution system, and so on. The public sector, in fact, is expected to implement the societal marketing concept. There is, however, a general feeling that the public sector in India has still a long way to go to realize these objectives. It has established monopolies or near-monopolies in public utilities, whose performance is far from satisfactory.

3.0.3 The Strategic Plan for 2011-15


The strategic Plan for 2011-15 devised by Department of Consumer Affairs, Government of India with the long time perspective outlook aims to achieve the targets fixed as per the vision of the this Department within the specified time frame.

Government of India is undertaking Performance Monitoring and Evaluation System (PMES) for all Government Departments. Under PMES, each Department is required to prepare a Results-Framework Document (RFD). RFD is the instrument to implement strategy and convert Departmental vision into reality. The Strategic Plan exercise will identify clear priorities which will lead to time-bound action plans (based on projected capacities, capabilities and resources) with anticipated results and processes for monitoring the progress and conducting evaluation.

Accordingly, the Department of Consumer Affairs have made the exercise for devising Strategic Plan for 2010-15 in consonance with the targets / success indicators fixed in the Result-framework Document for successful implementation for achieving the targets fixed.

3.0.4 VISION, MISSION AND FUNCTIONS


VISION

The vision is to protect the rights and interests of consumers, to spread awareness about consumer rights, duties and responsibilities and to promote consumer welfare by strengthening consumer movement in the country.

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MISSION

We will fulfil our mission through progressive consumer related legislations and effective implementation of various consumer welfare schemes. Active participation of State Governments, academic and research institutions, schools and voluntary organizations will be sought to create a vibrant consumer movement in the country. Strict parameters regarding consumer products will be developed and enforced along with regular monitoring of prices to ensure the sovereignty of consumers.

FUNCTIONS

a)

CONSUMER PROTECTION

The Department of Consumer Affairs endeavours to protect and promote the rights of consumers through strict implementation of Consumer Protection Act, 1986 Protection of rights and rendering justice to Consumers through National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) / District/State level Forums.

Testing and quality evaluation of products through National Test House (NTH). Implementation of the Standards of Weights and Measures Act, 1976. Regulation of Packaged Commodities and implementation of new Act namely The Legal Metrology Act, 2009.

b)

CONSUMER AWARENESS

Jago Grahak Jago Multimedia Campaign. Effective and continuous Publicity awareness campaigns

c)

SETTING STANDARDS

Implementation of Bureau of Indian Standards Act, 1986.

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Quality management and Standards formulation and certification.

d)

REGULATION OF ESSENTIAL COMMODITIES

Implementation of Essential Commodities Act, 1955. Implementation of Prevention of Black Marketing & Maintenance of supply of Essential Commodities Act, 1980.

e)

CONSUMER COOPERATIVES

National Consumer Cooperatives Federation (NCCF). Super Bazaar.

f)

COMMODITY EXCHANGES

Regulation of Commodities futures through Forward Market Commission. Implementation of Forward Contract (Regulation) Act, 1952.

g)

MONITORING OF PRICES OF ESSENTIAL COMMODITIES

Monitoring of prices and availability of essential commodities. Availability of Pulses.

3.0.5 ASSESSMENT OF THE SITUATION


Awareness of consumer rights is very poor especially among the population in rural and far-flung areas of the country. It also varies in different regions in the country. Compared to the developed countries, the levels of consumer awareness in such a vast country with a large population like India is much lower. This is rooted in economic inequality, low levels of literacy and ignorance. Because of this, consumers are not able to assert their rights and on many occasions are exploited by the trade and

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industry and service providers. Protecting and promoting the welfare of consumers has thus become one of the major concern

Educating more than 110 crore people of various categories of population particularly those in rural areas where consumers are more susceptible to exploitation, on various subject matters on consumer interests which are being dealt by different Ministries/ Department, is a gigantic task that can only be undertaken as a sustained national programme with adequate funds made available for the purpose.

Globalisation and liberalisation of trade and business has resulted in many products and services being available to the consumers. Growth in economy has resulted in increase in the purchasing power of the middle class section, which is the largest segment of the population. This has necessitated giving high priority for the protection of the consumers and promotion of responsible consumer movement in the country.

Consumer grievances redressal mechanism, and be responsive to consumers, and the various Consumer organisations and academic institutions and research organisations who can supplement the efforts of the Government and could be vehicles for effective launch of a massive consumer movement in the country. Lastly we require the help of State governments in efficiently implementing various programmes at grassroots level.

Learning Agenda
Need to understand and find out the basic deficiencies in the enforcement of CP Act 1986 especially in the functioning of Consumer Fora and the councils at Sate and Dist. Level Enforcement of BIS standards and bringing more products and services under mandatory regime Uniform implementation of weights and measures and upgrading of Regional labs to National accreditation status Understand best practices in other countries in providing consumer protection, product safety, ADR procedures.

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3.0.6 OUTLINE OF THE STRATEGY


Potential Strategies

Amending the important Acts administered by the Department and thereby bringing in provisions in tune with the time and necessitated by changes in economy, trade and business and consumer expectations is the basic strategy the Department. It is also proposed to come up with National Consumer policy which will enable this Department to effectively coordinate and intervene in the functions of those Departments which have a consumer inter-phase. Streamlining the functioning of State departments, and other line organisations and agencies is another area which is being looked into.

Effective communication being the means for wider impact, novel methods of awareness campaign is an area where is lot of innovation possible.

Utilisation of IT tools in furthering improvement of the redressal system making it more efficient and transparent is being acted upon.

Engaging Stakeholders
Meetings of the Central Consumer protections Council, periodical workshops with various stakeholders like consumer organisations, academic and law institutions, training & research institutions and representatives of State governments and conference of State commission Presidents and Members provide ample opportunity to interact and understand the issues/ problems and take measures to mitigate them. Similarly media committee meets periodically to discuss new ideas and assess the impact of publicity measures undertaken.

Building knowledge and capabilities


Bringing consumer interest in focus in all government and private sector decisions need to be the main focus of the Department. To that end the best practices

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being followed by other countries could be successfully implemented here after tailoring them to fit to our situation. Appropriate amendments to the Acts bringing them in tune with the time and plugging loopholes are also a priority concern. The impact of various activities undertaken on consumer satisfaction need to assessed periodically to learn from them and undertake mid course corrections/ modifications if necessary. Associating State governments in a major way in implementing the programmes is of utmost importance.

Priorities
On the basis of our experience and appraisal and feedback mechanism, we have formulated our Strategic Plan prioritising the targets as under:

Promote a socio economic movement which seeks to protect the consumer tights.

Create an administrative and legal mechanism including ADR which would be would be fast and efficient and within the reach of Consumers.

Engage media, civil society, organisations and business houses in enhancing awareness

Use of information technology tools for improved performance.

Streamlining the legal provisions through appropriate changes in the CP Act.

Setting up/ upgrading industrial testing labs.

Regulate Future Commodity markets.

Building a climate for quality culture and consciousness and greater participation of Consumers in formulation and implementation of National Standards

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Setting up of State Consumer Helplines in all States/UTs and networking across the country as a major Grievances Redressal Mechanism

Continuous Price Monitoring and regulate essential commodities.

3.0.7 IMPLEMENTATION PLAN


Consumer Grievance Redressal

Consumers need an inexpensive and quick grievance redressal mechanism to ensure that manufacturers and service providers are accountable for the price and quality that the consumers are entitled to. Accordingly, it is necessary to provide several methods of grievance redressal including those which are available in accordance with the provisions of the Consumer Protection Act. Thus, mediation or in-house grievance redressal should be tried, but without giving up the right of the consumer to obtain legal redress. With this focus, the Department of Consumer Affairs seeks to implement the strategic plan through Amendment of Consumer Protection Act to make it more effective and tuned to reducing the backlog of cases. Computerisation and Networking of consumer for across the country so that consumers can file complaints and access their case status online. Setting up mediation mechanism at pre-litigation stage and so as to reduce the burden of consumer courts and resolve disputes through out of court settlements. Provision of adequate infrastructure to Consumer fora so as to make them function effectively.

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Consultation with different stakeholders such as State govts., VCOs, Apex industry associations, media etc. Make the entire district fora and state commissions computerised and operational. Rs 32 cr. provided for 2011-12 to continue the activities initiated in 11th Plan.

Consumer Awareness

In a world of information asymmetry the government has the responsibility to redress this imbalance. In the Government of India, the Department of Consumer Affairs is the focal point for difference Departments and organizations to make the consumers aware of market realities as well as the rights of the consumers and the manner in which they can educate themselves and also enforce their rights. Accordingly, the Jago Grahak Jago campaign has become immensely popular and is now being used by several Departments to communicate with consumers. From the response received through the Consumer Help lines as well as the evaluation of the progress, it is now clear that there has been a huge impact on account of this programme. Accordingly, the programme will continue to be a major activity of the Department. New themes and communications strategies would be incorporated in the actual campaigns that are run under the programme. Thus, the following would be the elements of the strategic plan in this area of activity:o Continuation of Multi Media Publicity Campaign under the tag line Jago Grahak Jago. o A Focussed Campaign addressing the emerging areas such as education, telecom, travel services, banking, insurance, medicines etc. o Activation of the Multi Media campaign active coordination and liaisoning with other Government Departments that have consumers as a major inter face as part of their functional area.

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o Continuous and coordinated execution of the multimedia publicity campaign with the implementing mechanism i.e. DAVP, DD, AIR and the other Government. o Constant monitoring and review the publicity campaign through a high powered Empowered Committee under the chairmanship of Secretary, Department of Consumer Affairs and a Multi Media Committee under the chairmanship of Joint Secretary with representation for DAVP, DD, and AIR.

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CHAPTER 4

ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION OF SURVEY RESULTS

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4.0.1 Introduction

The present study focuses its attention on the problems faced by common consumers and if any of them have exercised their right to complaint and redressal regarding any type of malpractice. The study was conducted in Thiruvananthapuram District. To analyse the problems faced by consumers, the study took a sample of 30 randomly selected participants.

A) Profile of Respondents

Respondents by Sex

Total Respondents

% of Respondents

Male

20

67%

Female

10

33%

Total

30

100%

Table 4.1

INTERPRETATION

It was observed that, 67% of the respondents were Males and 33% of females, respectfully.

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B) Respondents by Age

Respondents by Age

Total Respondents

% of Respondents

Below 18 18-25 25-40 40-50 Above 50

3 14 8 4 1

10 % 47 % 27 % 13 % 3%

Total

30

100%

Table 4.2

Respondents by Age
3% 13% Below 18 18 - 25 25 - 40 40 - 50 27% 47% Above 50 10%

Diagram 4.2 INTERPRETATION

From the above diagram, we can understand that, most of the respondents belong to the age group of 18-25, followed by 25-40, again shortly followed by 40-50 and Below 18.

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Total Number of Consumer Complaints Filed/Disposed since inception under Consumer Protection Law

Sl No.

Name of Agency

Cases filed since inception

Cases disposed of since inception

Cases Pending

% of total disposal

National Commission

79473

68812

10661

86.59%

State Commission

594939

501353

93586

84.27%

District Forums

3226961

2979114

247847

92.32%

Total

3901373

3549279

352094

90.98%

Table 4.3

C) Awareness of Consumer Rights

Particulars Yes No Total

Total Respondents 22 8 30

Percentage of Respondents 73 % 27 % 100 %

Table 4.4

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Awareness of Consumer Rights

27%

Yes 73% No

Diagram 4.4

INTERPRETATION

It was observed that over 73% of the respondents were aware of their Consumer Rights and 27% were unaware of the same.

D) Complaints for Adulteration in products availed

Complained to Shopkeeper Main Supplier Elsewhere Didnt Complain Total

No of Respondents 12 6 2 10 30

Percentage 40 % 20 % 7% 33 % 100 %

Table 4.5

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Complaints Forwarded
30 25 20 No. of Respondents 15 10 5 0 Shopkeeper Main Supplier Elsewhere Didn't Complain

Diagram 4.5

INTERPRETATION

It was understood that most of the respondents complained to the respected shopkeepers when they found an irregularity in the product and another majority of respondents didnt bother to complaint about it at all.

E) Do you check manufacturing date or MRP while purchasing a product?

Particulars Yes No Total

Total Respondents 18 12 30

Percentage of Respondents 87 % 13 % 100 %

Table 4.6

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Checking of MRP and Manufacturing Dates


70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 Yes No 60 40

Diagram 4.6

INTERPRETATION

From the above column chart, we can understand that, over 60% of the respondents check the manufacturing dates and the MRP before availing a particular product and another group of respondents (40%) does not check the same before purchasing a product.

F) Enquiry about ISO and other standards by Government

Particulars Yes No Total

Total Respondents 25 5 30

Percentage of Respondents 83 % 17 % 100 %

Table 4.7

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Enquiry about Government Standards provided

Yes

No

Diagram 4.7

INTERPRETATION

It was understood that most of the respondents (83%) knew about the basic standards like ISO, which were implemented by the Government to guarantee the quality of products and 27% was unaware of the same.

G) Awareness about Consumer Courts

Particulars Yes No Total

Total Respondents 13 17 30

Percentage of Respondents 57 % 43 % 100 %

Table 4.8

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Awareness about Consumer Courts

Yes 43% 57%

No

Diagram 4.8

INTERPRETATION

From the response received from the survey, most of the respondents (57%) knew about Consumer Courts and its Redrassal Cell to protect the consumers interest and almost 43% was unaware about these.

H) Exercising of rights

Particulars Yes No Total

Total Respondents 8 22 30

Percentage of Respondents 27 % 73 % 100 %

Table 4.9

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Exercising of rights
80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% Yes No

Diagram 4.9

INTERPRETATION It was understood that, majority of the respondents (73%) didnt exercise their rights against malpractice/fraud theyve faced, while 27% respondents have exercised them.

I) Sources of consumer awareness

Particulars

Total Respondents

Percentage of Respondents

Television News paper Internet Other

9 5 14 2

30 % 17 % 46 % 7%

Total

30

100 %

Table 4.10

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Sources of Consumer Awareness


50% 45% 40% 35% 30% 25% 20% 15% 10% 5% 0% Television Newspaper Internet Others

Diagram 4.10

INTERPRETATION

It was found that the major source about the information of Consumer Protection/Awareness was from the Internet (46%), which is shortly followed by Television (30%) , and then by Newspapers (17%) and the rest from other sources.

J) Have you ever been mislead by advertisements?

Particulars

Total Respondents

Percentage of Respondents

Yes
No

23 %

23

77 %

Total

30

100 %

Table 4.11

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Misleading from Advertisements

Yes 23%

No 77%

Diagram 4.11

INTERPRETATION It was observed that over Advertisements didnt mislead the Consumers in purchasing/availing the services from a producer. A small portion of 23% respondents, however reported against Advertisements.

K) Should Consumer Protection Act be made a compulsory part of the school syllabus?

Particulars Yes No Total

Total Respondents 26 4 30

Percentage of Respondents 87 % 13 % 100 %

Table 4.12

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CPA as a school syllabus


13 %

87 %

Yes

No

Diagram 4.12

INTERPRETATION

From the above diagram, we can understand that majority of the respondents (87%) wanted the Consumer Protection Act as a compulsory part in a national school syllabus and a limited amount of respondents (13%) was against the same.

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CHAPTER - 5 FINDINGS, SUGGESTIONS & CONCLUSION

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5.0.1 FINDINGS OF THE STUDY


In this study an attempt was made to know more about Consumer Protection and how the consumers are using it for the same to safeguard their interests in various situations. Data were collected from 30 random participants around the city. The analysis of the data leads to the following findings: The following are the important findings of the study: It was observed that most of the respondents were from the age group 18 25. Most of the complaints registered under Consumer Protection Law are registered at the District Forums of each state. About 73% of the respondents were aware of the Consumer Rights and awareness available to them. Most of the respondents complained to the shopkeeper itself when theyre dissatisfied with the product they purchased from the store. Only 17% of the respondents didnt know about the basic standards like ISO provided by the Government. The knowledge levels about Consumer Courts among the respondents were 57% and 43% respectively. It was evident from the survey that, most of the respondents (80%) have faced adulteration in the products theyve purchased. From the survey, it was understood that, most of the respondents didnt get an adequate solution for the complaints theyve lodged in time. It was understood that majority of the respondents havent approached the Consumer Court for any kind of malpractice/misleading theyve faced.

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In case of sources about Consumer Protection, majority of the respondents chose Internet, followed by Television again shortly followed by Newspaper and Others. Survey indicated that most of the respondents were not mislead by advertisements in purchasing a product. It was found out that most of the respondents wanted Consumer Protection Act be made a compulsory part of the national high school syllabus.

5.0.2 RECOMMENDATIONS
To empower consumers by making them aware about their rights and responsibilities. To provide effective, inexpensive and speedy redressal system to Consumers. To strengthen the infrastructure on Consumer Councils through computerization and computer networking across the country. To formulate Standards & Strengthen Conformity Assessment of Products and Services. To assist Consumers by giving advice and guidance in Consumer related issues through National Consumer Helpline and State Consumer Help lines functioning in States/UTs across the country. To implement various schemes and programmes under Consumer Welfare Fund to create awareness on Consumerism, to protect and promote the interests of Consumers.

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To educate and sensitize the Consumers to know about their rights and responsibilities through continuous Publicity campaigns. To create avenues for Consumers for settlement of Consumer related cases through Mediation process involving Voluntary Organisations and settlement of Grievances. To dispose of all Grievances and Complaints through a well established Grievances Redressal Mechanism.

5.0.3 CONCLUSION

The Government has been fruitful in providing protection to the consumers in the real sense of the term and served the purpose of the Act. Its hoped that further improvement in the act would aim at even more efficiency and render the position of the consumers much stronger in this era of globalization and privatization where the sudden unchecked advent of Multi National Companies has to be balanced with the protection of the rights of the consumers by the legislature and the judiciary.

Invariably, consumers are a vulnerable lot for exploitation, more so in a developing country with the prevalence of mass poverty and illiteracy. India too is no exception to it. Instances like overcharging, black marketing, adulteration, profiteering, lack of proper services in trains, telecommunication, water supply, airlines, etc are not uncommon here. From time to time, the government has attempted to safeguard consumer's interests through legislations and the CPA 1986 is considered as the most progressive statute for consumer protection. Procedural simplicity and speedy and inexpensive redressal of consumer grievances as contained in the CPA are really unique and have few parallels in the world. Implementation of the Act reveals that interests of consumers are better protected than ever before. However, consumer awareness through consumer education and actions by the government, consumer activists, and associations are needed the most to make consumer protection movement a success in the country.

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