Consumer protection

Question 1:

Name the component of product mix that helps the consumer to exercise the right to information.

Answer:

Quality certification of the product helps the consumer to exercise the right to information.

Question 2:

State any two relief available to consumers under CPA.

Answer:

Relief available:

  1. To replace the defective product with a new one, free from any defect.
  2. To pay a reasonable amount of compensation for any loss or inquiry suffered by the consumer due to the negligence of the opposite party.
  3. To refund the price paid for the product, or the charges paid for the services.

Question 3:

What is the jurisdiction of cases that can be filed in a State Commission?

Answer:

This is established by the State Government in the state. Only those complaints can be filed with State Commission where the value of goods or services and compensation claimed is between twenty lakhs to one crore. Also, appeals against the orders of any District Forum can be filed before the State Commission.

Question 4:

Which quality certification mark is used for agricultural products?

Answer:

The quality mark provided under the Act is known as “AGMARK” is used for quality certification mark for agricultural products.

Question 5:

Under which consumer right does a business firm set up consumer grievance cell?

Answer:

Right to be Heard: The consumer has a right to file a complaint and to be heard in case of dissatisfaction with a good or a service. It is because of this reason that many enlightened business firms have set up their own consumer service and grievance cells.

Question 6:

Who is a consumer as per CPA?

Answer:

A consumer is one that buys good for consumption and not for the resale or commercial purpose.

Question 7:

FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India) has made a proposal for hotels and other food outlets to declare the kind of oil/fat used in cooking each of the food items on their menus. Name and explain the Consumer Right being reinforced by this proposal.

Answer:

The consumer right being reinforced by this is ‘Right to be informed’.

The consumer has a right a complete information about the product he intends to buy including its ingredients, date of manufacture, price, quantity, directions for use, etc.

It is because of this reason that the legal framework in India requires the manufactures to provide such information on the package and label of the product.

Question 8:

Who can file a complaint in a consumer court?

Answer:

The following persons can file a complaint under Consumer Protection Act, 1986:

  1. A consumer;
  2. Any recognised voluntary consumer association whether the consumer is a member of that association or not;
  3. The Central or any State Government;
  4. One or more consumers, on behalf of numerous consumers having common interest;
  5. Legal heir or representative in case of death of a consumer.

Question 9:

What are the responsibilities of a consumer?

Answer:

A consumer should keep in mind certain responsibilities while purchasing, using and consuming goods and service.

The responsibilities that consumer needs to exercise while purchasing the ornaments are:

  1. Should buy only standardized goods as they provide quality assurance.
  2. Should read labels carefully so as to have information about prices, weight, manufacturing etc.
  3. Should ask for cash memo on purchase of goods and services as it serves as a proof of the product.
  4. Should learn about the risk associated with products and services and follow manufacturer’s instructions and use the products safely.

Question 10:

Enumerate the various Acts passed by the Government of India which help in protection of consumers’ interests.

Answer:

Various Acts passed by the Government of India which help in protection of consumers’ interests are:

  1. Consumer Protection Act, 1986
  2. Contract Act 1872
  3. Sales of Goods Act, 1930
  4. Agriculture Produce Act, 1937
  5. Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954
  6. Essential Commodities Act, 1955

Question 11:

Mrs. Mathur sent a jacket to a laundry shop in January 2018. The jacket was purchased at a price of ₹4,500. She had previously sent the jacket for dry cleaning with Shine Dry Cleaners and the jacket was cleaned well. However, she noticed that her jacket had white discoloration marks when she collected the jacket this time. On informing the dry cleaner, Mrs. Mathur received a letter confirming that discolouration indeed appeared after the jacket was dry cleaned. She contacted the dry cleaner multiple times and requested for compensation for discoloured jacket but to no avail. Upon Consumer court’s intervention, Shine Dry Cleaners agreed to compensate ₹2,500 to Mrs. Mathur for the discoloured jacket.

a. Which right was exercised by Mrs. Mathur at the first instance?

b. Name and explain the right which helped Mrs. Mathur to avail the compensation.

c. State which consumer responsibility has been fulfilled by Mrs. Mathur in the above case.

d. State any other two responsibilities to be assumed by the consumers

Answer:

a) Right to seek Redressal right was exercised by Mrs. Mathur at the first instance.

b) The consumer has a right to get relief in case the product or service falls short of his expectations. The consumer Protection Act provides a number of reliefs to the consumers including replacement of the product, removal of defect in the product, compensation paid for any loss or injury suffered by the consumer, etc.

c) Mr. Mathur file a complaint in an appropriate consumer forum in case of a shortcoming in the quality of service availed.

d) Consumer responsibilities:

Be aware about various goods and services available in the market so that an intelligent and wise choice can be made.

Buy only standardised goods as they provide quality assurance. Thus look for ISI mark on electrical goods, FPO mark on food products, Hallmark on jewellery, etc.

Question 12:

Explain the role of consumer organisations and NGOs in protecting and promoting consumer’s interest.

Answer:

In India, several consumer organisations and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have been set up for the protection and promotion of consumers’ interests. Consumer organisations and NGOs have undertaken various activities as part of the consumer movement.

They perform several functions like:

Creating awareness about consumer rights and educates the general public about consumer problems and remedies through seminars, workshops, and training programs.

Providing legal aid to consumers by way, of assistance in seeking legal remedy.

Filing complaints in relevant consumer courts n behalf of consumers and undertaking advocacy of consumers’ point of view as representative members of consumer protection councils and other official boards.

Arranging comparative testing of consumer products through their own testing apparatus or accredited laboratories so as to evaluate the relative qualities of competing brands and publish the test results for the benefit of consumers to become informed buyers.

Publishing periodicals and journals to disseminate information among readers about consumer problems, legal reporting, and other emerging matters of interest.

Question 13:

Explain the redressal mechanism available to consumers under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986.

Answer:

Following are three redressal forums set up to deal with consumer grievances and disputes:

District Forum:

This is established by the State Government in each district. The salient features of this Forum are as under:

It shall consist of a chairman and two members appointed by the State Government.

Only those complaints are filed where the value of goods or services and the compensation claimed is less than rupees twenty lakhs.

The consumer to whom the goods are sold or delivered can file a complaint.

The District Forum has to refer the complaint to the opposite party concerned and send the sample of goods for testing in a laboratory.

State Commission:

This is established by the State Government in the state. The salient features of State Commission are as under:

It shall consist of a President who either is or has been a Judge of a High Court and two other Members. All the three shall be appointed by State Government.

Only those complaints can be filed where the value of goods or services and compensation claimed is between rupees twenty lakhs and rupees one crore. Also, appeals against the orders of any District Forum can be filed before the State Commission.

National Commission:

This is established by the Central Government. The salient features of the Commission are as under:

It shall consist of a President who either is or has been a Judge of a Supreme Court and four other members. All shall be appointed by the Central Government.

All complaints pertaining to those goods or services and compensation whose value is more than rupees one crore can be filed. Also, appeals against the order of any State Commission can be filed before the National Commission.

The relief available to the consumers is in the form of directions which can be issued by the Consumer Court, against the seller/manufacturer:

  1. To remove the defects in goods or deficiency in service.
  2. To replace the defective product with a new one.
  3. To refund the price paid for the product or charges paid to the service.
  4. To pay a reasonable amount of compensation for any loss or injury suffered by the consumer due to the negligence of the opposite party.
  5. To discontinue the unfair/ restrictive trade practice and not to repeat it in future.
  6. To withdraw the hazardous goods for sale.
  7. To cease manufacture of hazardous goods and to desist from offering hazardous services.
  8. To issue corrective advertisement to neutralize the effect of a misleading advertisement.

Question 14:

What are various ways in which the objective of consumer protection can be achieved?

Answer:

Ways in which the objective of consumer protection can be achieved are:

Consumer education: A consumer must be aware and educated about his rights and responsibilities. He must also be aware of the relief available.

Formation of business associations: Associations such as FCCI and CII should be formed.

Self-regulation by business: A business must realize that interest of consumers should be kept in mind at all the stages of product development and selling.

In India, several consumer organisations and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have been set up for the protection and promotion of consumers’ interests. Consumer organisations and NGOs have undertaken various activities as part of the consumer movement.

They perform several functions like:

  1. Creating awareness about consumer rights and educates the general public about consumer problems and remedies through seminars, workshops, and training programs.
  2. Providing legal aid to consumers by way, of assistance in seeking legal remedy.
  3. Filing complaints in relevant consumer courts n behalf of consumers and undertaking advocacy of consumers’ point of view as representative members of consumer protection councils and other official boards.
  4. Arranging comparative testing of consumer products through their own testing apparatus or accredited laboratories so as to evaluate the relative qualities of competing brands and publish the test results for the benefit of consumers to become informed buyers.
  5. Publishing periodicals and journals to disseminate information among readers about consumer problems, legal reporting, and other emerging matters of interest.

Question 15:

Explain the rights and responsibilities of consumer?

Answer:

According to the provisions of the act consumers have been granted following six rights:

Right to safety:

Certain goods may cause serious injuries. If there is any manufacturing defect in the goods, consumers have the right to be protected against these fatal risks. The consumer protection act safeguards consumers’ interests.

Right to be informed:

A consumer has the right to be informed about the quality, quantity, and price of the product. He should also be informed about the ingredients of the product, date of manufacture and expiry, method of use, side effects of the commodity and precautions to be undertaken. The information should be written on the package or on a separate piece of paper.

Right to choose:

The consumer has the right to choose the product of his choice out of the alternative products available. Manufacturers should offer a wide variety of products in terms of quality, brand, size, etc so that consumers can make their choice.

Right to be heard:

Every consumer must be granted the right to be heard. He must be assured that his complaints and grievances about the product and services will be heard and attention paid to it.

Right to seek redressal:

Consumers have the right to get their claims settled in their favor in case of being cheated and exploited by the producer. The government has set up many consumer courts for this specific purpose.

Right to consumer education:

The consumer must be educated about the rights, he has been granted by the law to protect his interest.

A consumer should keep in mind the following responsibilities:

  1. Be aware of various goods and services available in the market.
  2. Buy only standardized goods as they provide quality assurance. Thus, look for ISI mark, FPO mark, Hallmark, etc.
  3. Learn about the risks associated with products and services and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  4. Read labels carefully so as to have information about prices, net weight, manufacturing and expiry dates, etc.
  5. Assert yourself to ensure a fair deal.
  6. Be honest in your dealings. Choose only from legal goods and services and discourage unscrupulous practices like black-marketing, hoarding, etc.
  7. Ask for a cash memo on the purchase of goods or services.

Question 16:

Explain the importance of consumer protection from the point of view of a business.

Answer:

Consumer protection is important for businesses due to following reasons:

1. Long-term interest: It is the businesses’ long-term interest to satisfy their customers. Satisfied customers lead to repeat sales, goodwill and thus lead to profit maximization for the firm.

2. Business uses society’s resources: Business has a responsibility to supply such products and render such services which are in the public interest.

3. Social responsibility: A business has a social responsibility towards different interest groups, mainly consumers. Business needs to supply good quality products and reasonable prices to consumers.

4. Moral Justification: It is the moral duty of any business to take care of consumer interests and avoid any form of exploitation. Business must avoid any unscrupulous and unfair trade practices for their own interests.

5. Government Intervention: A business engaging in exploitative trade practice would attract government intervention, which can spoil the image of a business. Thus, it should voluntarily not resort to such practices.

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