The Consumer Protection Act 1986 is an Act of Parliament to protect the consumer’s interest. It makes certain separate councils for the consumers, lay down their rights. And if any right is violated, the consumers may file a case in these councils.
A consumer is an important participant for the market and has five rights under the Consumer Protection Act 1986. These are :
1. RIGHT TO SAFETY: A consumer has the right to be protected against any such good or service which can be hazardous to his life and property. This includes food items, medicines, and automobiles. Such items have to be checked properly and before sending them to the market.
2. RIGHT TO CHOOSE: The consumer has the right to choose among a variety of products available to him in the markets at a competitive price. So a market must be set up beforehand, where sellers all goods of similar at competitive prices. The consumer then has a choice to make among different options. This will help to avoid a monopoly in the market.
3. RIGHT TO INFORMATION: A consumer has the right to be informed about the product that he is purchasing. This includes detailed information about the ingredients, production date, shelf life, date of expiration, and most importantly the price of the product, All such relevant production must be printed on the product itself.
4. RIGHT TO BE HEARD: Whenever a consumer is exploited, he has the right to seek redressal in the consumer court. This gives him the right that his complaint will duly be heard and solved out.
5. RIGHT TO SEEK REDRESSAL: A consumer court is a court where any consumer can file a complaint, and seek redressal. Such consumer courts help the consumer to fight for their justice.
6. RIGHT TO CONSUMER EDUCATION: A consumer has the right to be educated and has awareness about his rights. They must have enough information that helps them to decide what to purchase, when to purchase and how to purchase.
CONSUMER FORUM: Consumer forums or consumer protection councils are organizations that help to protect consumer interests. They help consumers to file complaints in the court when they are exploited and help to spread awareness.
A consumer court is a three-tier quasi-judicial system.
1. A district court: It deals with cases up to 20 lakhs.
2. A state-level court: It deals with cases between 20 lakhs and 1 crore.
3. A national consumer court: It deals with cases that exceed the value of 1 crore.
This Act has eventually helped to reduce the unfair trade practices among the producers and sellers. Consumers are protected from various issues like hoarding, adulteration, black marketing, etc. If any of the consumer’s right is violated, they can easily seek redressal in the consumer's court.
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