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Basic Rights of Consumers

Basic Rights of Consumers

Meaning of Consumer –

Consumer is a person who buys products or services for personal use and not for manufacture or resale. A consumer is someone who makes a decision whether or not to purchase an product. A consumer can be easily influenced by marketing and advertisements.

Definition of Consumer as per Consumer Protection Act, 1986 –

Section 2(1)(d) of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 defines “Consumer” –

Consumer means any person who –

(a) 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 user of such goods other than the person who buys such goods for a 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

(b) hires or avails of any service 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 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 of with the approval of the first mentioned person but does not include a  person who avails of such services for any commercial purpose.

It has been clarified that the term commercial purpose does not include use by a consumer of goods bought and used by him exclusively for the purpose of earning his livelihood by means of self-employment.

Basic Rights of Consumers –

The basic rights of consumers that are sought to be promoted and protected are –

  • The right to be protected against marketing of goods and services which are hazardous to life and property;
  • The right to be informed about the quality, quantity, potency, purity, standard and price of goods, or services so as to protect the consumer against unfair trade practices;
  • The right to be assured, wherever possible, access to a variety of goods and services at competitive prices;
  • The right to be heard and to be assured that consumer’s interests will receive due consideration at appropriate forums;
  • The rights to seek redressal against unfair trade practices or restrictive trade practices or unscrupulous exploitation of consumers; and
  • Right to consumer education.

This is based on the basic rights of consumers as defined by the International Organization of Consumers (IOCU) i.e., the Rights to safety, to Information, of Choice, to be Heard, to Redressal, to Consumer Education, to Healthy Environment and to Basic Needs.

In India, in order to protect the basic rights of consumers, the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 has been enacted.    The Consumer Protection Act, 1986 extends to the whole of India except the State of Jammu and Kashmir and applies to all goods and services unless otherwise notified by the Central Government. The Act seeks 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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