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In many instances, consumers need protection and rightful behavior from the end sellers or businesses they buy products from. There are many deceitful businesspeople in the market who follow unethical business practices to cheat customers and earn exaggerating profits by following unlawful and extremely unacceptable business policies. Consumers need to know their rights and responsibilities to thwart such businesses. The sellers of goods would be cautious and follow rules if the consumer is aware of his rights. That is why consumer awareness is a meaningful topic in today’s lives.
The meaning of consumer awareness is changing fast with the advent of technology. New concepts of businesses and their operating manners may harm consumers in more than one way. In such circumstances, consumers must be protected from predatory business practices. The consumers must also be aware because in many cases, the harm is done by third parties. That is why consumer awareness is important in today’s world.
Consumer Awareness: Definition
Consumer awareness means that the end customer is aware of the information about the items, administrations, products, and privileges offered to them. Consumer awareness results in making the best decision to purchase the best product in the market after thorough judgment about the quality and durability of the products.
Although consumer awareness and consumer rights have some common features, consumer right is different from consumer awareness. Consumer rights are laws that protect consumers from deceitful business practices while consumer awareness is knowledge of the consumer rights as well as unethical business practices a consumer should have to make an informed decision before purchasing a product.
Meanwhile, sometimes, consumer awareness is used interchangeably with consumer education. Although they seem to be the same, there are differences between these two terms as well. Consumer education is a process where the consumer is taught about his rights and responsibilities as a consumer while consumer awareness means being aware of the rights and responsibilities by gaining the knowledge offered as education. So, consumer awareness is achieved via consumer education. The goal of consumer education, therefore, is consumer awareness.
Consumer awareness programs are often executed by governments to make a meaningful change in the lives of end consumers. In India, Jago Grahak Jago is one such program that was initiated in 2005. The main initiative of Jago Grahak Jago was to spread consumer awareness among the masses, especially those belonging to rural parts of the country.
What are the Prerequisites for Consumer Protection?
Consumer protection is not a matter of fancy. There are enough prerequisites that must be addressed for consumer protection.
Here are some of the prerequisites that pave the path for consumer protection.
Consumers are the focus of all businesses. No business will exist without consumers. So, in order to establish a well-renowned position, sellers must provide the shoppers with a warrant that the products they sell will meet the quality and quantity requirements meant to be available in the product. So, there should always be some sort of consumer protection in order to keep the selfinterest of the purchasers at the top.
Businesses do not just exist to maximize profit. They must also engage in helping better the quality of the society they operate in. Such social responsibility must also be a prerequisite for sellers to protect consumers.
The constitution of India has upheld the interest of consumers with the Consumers Protection Act. Businesses, therefore, must take customer protection as a prerequisite for business practices.
Consumer protection rights also help markets to become competitive and welllubricated, erasing the deceitful and predicator behaviors of sellers. It helps markets to become productive and exchanges in such markets help both the sellers and shoppers with an advantage.
Shoppers are an inseparable part of the open market system and safeguarding their rights is central to the idea of the system. So, protecting their rights should be a prerequisite for an organized market.
Types of Consumer Rights Every Consumer Should Be Aware Of
Right to Safety
Consumers have the right to dispel the marketing and trading of products that are hazardous to lives and property. Any product that threatens lives and property must be removed and no marketing of such products should be allowed.
Consumers in India are encouraged to buy products that have a government-approved authority’s seal, such as AGMARK and ISI should first be adopted for enhanced protection.
Right to Information
The consumer must have information about the quality, quantity, strength, standard, and price of the goods or services they seek to buy. Sellers offering products must include information so that the consumer can make an informed decision before buying the product.
Right to Choose
The consumer must have a variety of products and services available in the market from which they can select the best option. Even if there is a monopoly of a product in the market, the quality and affordability of the product should be within the reach of the consumer. The right to choose is a right that is most profoundly available in an open market system.
Right to be Heard
This right offers consumers the possibility of getting a response from related authorities in the case of an issue. The authorities concerned must pay attention to the grievance of the consumer and offer a suitable solution. The right to be heard is an important right because, without it, the issues of consumers can be declined without paying any attention to them.
Right to Seek Redressal
Consumers may seek compensation for their grievances and damages that occurred due to unfair business practices. The amount of redressal and punishment is decided by a government authority if such a case arises. However, if the damage has occurred, in most cases, redressal is offered by most courts of law.
Right to Consumer Education
This right is offered to consumers so that they can seek education about consumer rights and follow them in order to stay safe from predatory business practices. Consumers can go to any organization to learn about the rights offered to them by the government.
Consumer awareness is a very timely factor for consumers now. As globalization reaches newer heights and people are served by increasingly mightier organizations, the self-interest of businesses can corner the consumers by harming them in numerous manners. In order to safeguard the consumers, the consumers must be aware of their rights.
To be aware of their rights, consumers must know six rights offered to them by law in India. These rights are built keeping the consumers in mind. So, having the knowledge can save them when they are at sea. The court of law can also help consumers claim a redressal in case of damages occurred due to unethical business practices made by organizations.
Qns 1. What is COPRA?
Ans. The Consumer Protection Act or COPRA is the law enacted in 1986 and revamped in 2019 to offer protection to consumer rights in India.
Qns 2. Are the online firms included in COPRA?
Ans. The revamped version of COPRA enacted in 2019 includes the online companies in its jurisdiction.
Qns 3. Can consumers get compensation for the damages when their consumer rights are violated by the companies?
Ans. Yes. The right to seek redressal offers the consumers the right to seek compensation for damages that occurred due to violation of consumer rights.
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