Question 1: For the following (you can add to the list) products/services discuss what safety rules should be observed by the producer?
Question 2: What are the various ways by which people may be exploited in the market?
Answer: Some of the ways by which people may be exploited in the market are as follows:
Question 3: Think of one example from your experience where you thought that there was some ‘cheating’ in the market. Discuss in the classroom.
Answer: When I buy fish, I always doubt that he underweighs the fish. I have cross-checked at my home and found my doubt to be true. Whenever I have tried to argue with the fish-seller, he tends to become too aggressive.
Question 4: What do you think should be the role of government to protect consumers?
Answer: Government should formulate rules and regulations so that producers should maintain a certain minimum level of quality. Government should enforce rules regarding weights and measures. Any company which makes false claims about a product should be immediately brought to book. Cases relating to consumer complaints should be solved at a faster pace.
Question 5: What could have been the steps taken by consumer groups?
Answer: Consumer groups should increase public awareness about consumer rights. Consumer groups should see to it that every case regarding consumer complaint reaches its logical conclusion.
Question 6: There may be rules and regulations but they are often not followed. Why? Discuss.
Answer: There are various reasons for rules and regulations not being followed. Public apathy is the biggest reason. We; as consumer; try to avoid confrontation over trivial issues and most of the cases go unreported. Corruption is another reason, which allows the culprit to go scot free. Unnecessary delay in the proceedings also works as de-motivator for many people.
Question 7: Find out any case of accident or negligence from people around you, where you think that the responsibility lay with the producer. Discuss.
Answer: Recently, one of my neighbours purchased a car. The steering system of the car was defective. The driver was lucky to survive a minor accident with small injuries. Within a few days of that accident the car company announced a recall of about 50,000 cars to rectify the problem.
Question 8: When we buy commodities we find that the price charged is sometimes higher or lower than the Maximum Retail Price printed on the pack. Discuss the possible reasons. Should consumer groups do something about this?
Answer: This often happens with packaged milk and cold drinks. The shopkeeper charges Re. 1 extra and says that he needs to recover the cost of electricity because he needs to keep them in freezer. Sometimes, the shopkeepers give discount on MRP for clearing excess stock. While selling at a price less than the MRP is beneficial for the consumer, overcharging should be dealt with properly. Consumer groups should take notice of this problem. We can also ask for cooperation from RWAs (Resident Welfare Association).
Question 9: Pick up a few packaged goods that you want to buy and examine the information given. In what ways are they useful? Is there some information that you think should be given on those packaged goods but is not? Discuss.
Answer: On most of the packs, information regarding ingredients, adverse events and use by date is given. All the items should display a toll-free number on which a consumer can contact in case of a complaint or feedback.
Question 10: People make complaints about the lack of civic amenities such as bad roads or poor water and health facilities but no one listens. Now the RTI Act gives you the power to question. Do you agree? Discuss.
Answer: RTI act has definitely helped in extracting information from civic authorities. Many activists have gathered information about road, water and health facilities and have used such information to pressurize the civic authorities. This has helped in some extent to improve the condition but a lot more needs to be done.
Question 11: The following are some of the catchy advertisements of products that we purchase from the market. Which of the following offers would really benefit consumers? Discuss.
Answer: Freebies which can be instantly claimed are always beneficial for the consumer. But promise of some prize; like gold coin or Rs. 10 lakh; are just eyewash. Till date I have never heard of someone winning Rs. 10 lakh after buying a bottle cold drink.
Question 12: What is the difference between consumer protection council and consumer court?
Answer: The consumer protection council promotes and protects the various rights of the consumer. The consumer court is made to hear the cases regarding a consumer complaint. Consumer protection council is an advisory body, while consumer court is a quasi judiciary body.
Question 13: If the standardisation ensures the quality of a commodity, why are many goods available in the market without ISI or Agmark certification?
Answer: There are many companies which do not opt for these certifications. They may be trying to save some money. They may not be confident of their quality. It is difficult to implement rules and regulations at all levels.
Question 14: Find out the details of who provides Hallmark and ISO certification.
Answer: In India, Hallmark is provided by BIS (Bureau of Indian Standards) which is the national standards organization of India. Hallmark is given to gold and silver jewelry in India.
ISO (International Standards Organisation) is an international body with headquarters at Geneva, Switzerland. It was founded in 1947.
The Consumer Protection Act 1986 ensures the following as rights which every consumer in India should possess
Question 15: Categorise the following cases under different heads and mark against each in brackets.
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