Say True or False
- COPRA applies only to goods.
- India is one of the many countries in the world which has exclusive courts for consumer redressal.
- When a consumer feels that he has been exploited, he must file a case in the District Consumer Court.
- It is worthwhile to move to consumer courts only if the damages incurred are of high value.
- Hallmark is the certification maintained for standardisation of jewelry.
- The consumer redressal process is very simple and quick.
- A consumer has the right to get compensation depending on the degree of the damage.
Answer: (1) False, (2) True, (3) True, (4) False, (5) True, (6) False, (7) True
Answer the following questions:
Question 1: Why are rules and regulations required in the marketplace? Illustrate with a few examples.
Answer: Rules and regulations are required so that markets function in smooth and just manner. Profit maximization is the prime motive of any business. Rules and regulations ensure that the profit does not come at the cost of the quality of life of the consumer. In our day-to-day life, we can see many instances of food adulteration. The milk seller, the sweet-meat seller, etc. usually adulterate the food items they sell. It is important to stop such practices by enforcing proper rules.
Question 2: What factors gave birth to the consumer movement in India? Trace its evolution.
Answer: India had a long tradition of malpractices in business; such as food adulteration, hoarding, underweighing, etc. Right from the 1960s, various consumer associations came into origin. They began to raise public awareness and to fight to consumer protection. As a result of consumer movement, the COPRA was finally enacted in 1986.
Question 3: Explain the need for consumer consciousness by giving two examples.
Answer: Many people seldom bother to check the MRP and pay whatever the shopkeeper demands. While developing a faith on the neighbourhood shopkeeper is a good attitude, but one should always check the MRP. Some people do not even check the expiry date on the pack of a medicine. This can prove to be dangerous and can even be life threatening for the patient who is going to consume the medicine. These examples suggests that there is a real need for consumer consciousness.
Question 4: Mention a few factors which cause exploitation of consumers.
Answer: Some of the factors which cause exploitation of consumers are as follows:
- Lack of awareness among consumers.
- Greed of businessperson.
- Lax enforcement of rules.
- Slow and time taking process of consumer grievance redressal.
Answer the following questions:
Question 5: What is the rationale behind the enactment of Consumer Protection Act 1986?
Answer: Protection of consumers against exploitation was the main rationale behind the enactment of Consumer Protection Act 1986.
Question 6: Describe some of your duties as consumers if you visit a shopping complex in your locality.
Answer: While visiting a shopping complex, I should check if proper parking facility is available or not. I should check for the presence of fire fighting equipments. I should check if any item beyond its expiry date is lying on the shelf. I should ensure that billing calculation is correct.
Question 7: Suppose you buy a bottle of honey and a biscuit packet. Which logo or mark you will have to look for and why?
Answer: I will look for AGMARK logo. This logo shows that food safety norms have been followed while making these items.
Question 8: What legal measures were taken by the government to empower the consumers in India?
Answer: The government enacted COPRA in 1986 to empower the consumers in India. After that, the government opened consumer courts at various levels so that people can register their complaints.
Question 9: Mention some of the rights of consumers and write a few sentences on each.
Answer: Some of the rights of consumers are as follows:
- Right to information: A consumer has the right to be informed about the ingredients, expiry date and adverse events related to the product.
- Right to choice: A consumer has the right to choose from among various options. For example; when someone goes to buy a pen, he has the right to compare various brands so that he can make an informed buying decision.
- Right to seek redressal: If a consumer is not satisfied with the product or services he buys, he has the right to seek redressal. Many companies have a dedicated section for consumer complaint and feedback. Apart from that, the consumer can also go to a consumer court if he feels that the seller is not willing to solve his problem.
Question 10: By what means can the consumers express their solidarity?
Answer: Consumers can become part of a consumer group to help fellow consumers. A consumer can also do his own bit in raising consumer awareness. This can be done by taking out poster campaigns, by writing letter to editor, by writing blog, etc.
Question 11: Critically examine the progress of consumer movement in India.
Answer: The consumer movement began in India out of a desire to fight the tradition of exploitation at the hands of sellers. There was no legal framework to protect the interest of consumers. It was only after a two decade long struggle that the government set up the consumer courts. Still many cases of consumer complaint remain pending for long years. It takes about 20 to 30 years to decide on court cases. The consumer movement is still not powerful enough to take on the powerful business lobby and a lot more needs to be done.
Question 12: Match the following.
|Column I||Column II|
|Availing details of ingredients of a product||Right to information|
|Agmark||Certification of edible oil and cereals|
|Accident due to faulty engine in a scooter||Right to safety|
|District consumer court||Dealing with consumer cases|
|Consumers International||Global level institution of consumer welfare organisations|
|Bureau of Indian Standards||Agency that develops standards for goods and services|