Consumer s Rights

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Protecting the Consumer: 

Protecting the Consumer 2/3 of spending in the world economy ($30 trillion) is by consumers. Yet they have no voice! New Economic Policy floods market with products—Ye Dil Maange More—too little information for informed choice.

15 March 1962: US President Kennedy introduced the revolutionary notion of rights for consumers to the US Congress:: 

15 March 1962: US President Kennedy introduced the revolutionary notion of rights for consumers to the US Congress: "Consumers, by definition, includes us all. They are the largest economic group in the economy, affecting and affected by almost every public and private economic decision. But they are the only important group whose views are often not heard.”

Kennedy’s Bill of Consumer Rights: 

Kennedy’s Bill of Consumer Rights Kennedy's Bill of Rights included the right to: Safety. Information. Choice among a variety of products and services at competitive prices. A fair hearing by governments in the formulation of consumer policy.

9 April 1985: UN General Assembly adopted guidelines for:: 

9 April 1985: UN General Assembly adopted guidelines for: consumer protection high levels of ethical conduct of producers/distributors of goods & services curb abusive business practices adversely affecting consumers develop market conditions providing consumers greater choice at lower prices. 26 July 1999 ECOSOC expanded this to include sustainable consumption.

UN Principles of Consumer Protection: 

UN Principles of Consumer Protection Protect from hazard to health & safety; Promote & protect economic interests; Provide adequate information for informed choice as per individual wish & need; Consumer education including environmental, socio-economic impacts of choice, teaching a value system on wisely using money & goods, complaining effectively; Provide effective redress—formal and informal procedures that are fast, fair, cheap, accessible;

UN Guidelines (contd.): 

UN Guidelines (contd.) (f) Encourage Business Chambers to resolve consumer disputes through advisory services & informal complaint handling mechanisms; (g) Freedom to form groups & present views in decision-making affecting consumers; (h) Promote sustainable consumption patterns.

Laws to protect consumers: 

Laws to protect consumers Laws like the Indian Penal Code, Indian Contract Act, Sale of Goods Act, Drugs and Cosmetics Act, Agricultural Produce (Grading and Marking) Act, have existed since pre-independence, but none enshrine Rights of Consumers, nor provide swift remedy.

Consumer Protection Act 1986 is unique in the world: 

Consumer Protection Act 1986 is unique in the world Exclusive courts for consumer disputes in all districts, state and national capitals. 6 consumer rights specified. Consumer Protection Councils from national to state and district levels. Covers private, public, cooperative sectors.

Who is a Consumer?: 

Who is a Consumer? Any person (firm, HUF, co-operative, association) who buys any goods or hires any service (fully or partly paid for). NOT goods or services obtained for resale or for any commercial purpose (except self-employment). NOT any service free of charge or under a contract of personal service.

Consumer's Rights S.6 C.P. Act: 

Consumer's Rights S.6 C.P. Act Right to SAFETY against hazardous goods and services Right to be INFORMED about quality, quantity, purity, standard, price Right to CHOOSE from a variety at competitive prices Right to BE HEARD Right to seek REDRESSAL Right to CONSUMER EDUCATION

Organisational Structure for Consumer Protection: 

Organisational Structure for Consumer Protection

Bodies to Facilitate Awareness: 

Bodies to Facilitate Awareness Central Consumer Protection Council. State Consumer Protection Council. District Consumer Protection Council (only W.B. has constituted Kolkata CPC for a metropolis). District Consumer Information Centre (so far 2 in Kolkata, 1 each in Hooghly, Nadia, Paschim Medinipur, South 24 Parganas & Bankura). Jagriti Shivir Yojana for Antyodaya & Annapurna Yojanas (BPL category 12 districts). Markets till GP level on GIS (unique to W.B.). Consumer Complaint Cells of Business Chambers & Traders’ Associations.

Schemes for Consumer Awareness: 

Schemes for Consumer Awareness Consumer Clubs: Grant~Rs.10,000/-p.a. for 2 years, then self-sufficient. 1 per middle, high, higher secondary schools. Each club to have 50 members under 1 teacher. Meet monthly. Raise own resources through membership fee, exhibition-cum-sale of posters, cards, paintings, consumer rights festivals with entry fee, souvenirs. Organize consumer awareness & protection programmes (competitions for street plays, essays, letters, posters, quiz contests). Observe World Consumer Rights Day & National Consumer Day. Award for 3 BEST CONSUMER CLUBS.

Colleges/Univs/Research Bodies/NGOs in Consumer Awareness: 

Colleges/Univs/Research Bodies/NGOs in Consumer Awareness Impact assessment studies, Evaluation of functioning of District Forum (finish in 1 year): Rs.50, 000 per district. Evaluate working of VCO: Rs.20,000. Organise Consumer Rights Festival in college: Rs.1 lac for Seminar, Workshop, Conference, Exhibition, Competitions-- debate, essays, painting. Research for consumer protection within Rs.5 lac.

Unique Achievements of West Bengal: 

Unique Achievements of West Bengal The only state to have a separate Department of Consumers Affairs (November 1999) with the State Commission and the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Fora (DCDRF) under it. Legal Metrology was added in June 2001 and upgraded to a Directorate in 2003.

Consumer Affairs & Fair Business Practices: 

Consumer Affairs & Fair Business Practices A new Directorate of Consumers Affairs and Fair Business Practices began functioning from October 2001. 28 offices covering every district, divisional headquarters and important subdivisions manned by 780 officers.

Protecting Consumers’ Rights: 

Protecting Consumers’ Rights District Consumer Protection Council was created in all the 18 Districts including Rotary & Lions Clubs, VCOs, Chambers, Traders Associations within a few months of the new provision in the Act. Kolkata Consumer Protection Council was set up—the only one for a Metro City of India.

Resolving Complaints: 

Resolving Complaints Only state to introduce Web-based resolution of consumer grievances through mediation. Since inception (31 July 2002) 352 complaints have been resolved without recourse to Consumer Fora. First State to introduce manufacture of new peg measure of 60 ml (1 peg) and 30 ml (1/2).

One window service to Consumers: 

One window service to Consumers First to offer consumers one window service integrating three areas of Consumer Protection: Fair Business Practices. District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum. Legal Metrology.

Formal Consumer Education: 

Formal Consumer Education UN Guidelines for Consumer Protection specify CONSUMER EDUCATION as a critical need. West Bengal started a Diploma Course (1 year) on Consumer Affairs through Distance Education in collaboration with Netaji Subhash Open University.

Consumer Clubs: 

Consumer Clubs Only State Government Department acting as coordinating agency for Consumer Clubs in schools. Result of a policy change by Govt. of India on account of our initiative. 948 Consumer Club proposals covering all districts sent to Govt. of India for sanction within a few months of the scheme being announced.

Market Supervision for Consumer Protection: 

Market Supervision for Consumer Protection Only state to have all markets (4371 so far) down to G.P. level plotted on GIS on Website giving market day, commodities, revenue collected. Enables planned tours of Inspectors, increasing trader coverage to protect consumers & increase revenue earning.

PROACTIVE: 

PROACTIVE Most proactive Consumer Website of Government launched on 31 July 2001 (http://kolkata.wb.nic.in.consumers). Any Grievance Box entry or e-mail complaint is responded to within 24 hours. Newspapers are scanned and consumer complaints taken up. 352 resolved so far (consumer goods, post & telephone, electricity, gas supply, medical negligence, educational institutions, NBFC).

Proactive: 

Proactive W.B. Consumer Protection Rules in 1987 prescribed time-limit of 90 days for decisions and prohibited more than one adjournment. In March 2003 these provisions were incorporated in the central C.P. Act.

E-GOVERNANCE: 

E-GOVERNANCE Only in W.B. the State Commission and all the District Fora have been computerised and have full-time members. Each Forum has a computer to provide print-outs of notices & orders free of charge. Justice D.P. Wadhwa (ex Supreme Court) President of National Commission: “This is nowhere else.” Monthly returns sent by e-mail of cases, district consumer awareness activities & LM revenue collection for evaluation.

Consumer Disputes Redressal Fora: 

Consumer Disputes Redressal Fora State Commission, 2 Kolkata, 2 Darjeeling, 17 other districts. 61191 cases filed so far. Full time Members. All in position. Unique in India. Disposal: 94% (48531) in DCDRF; 77% (7172) in SC. Problem: too few cases being filed. Lack of consumer awareness.

Procedure for Filing a Complaint Under Consumer Protection Act: 

Procedure for Filing a Complaint Under Consumer Protection Act File in triplicate on plain paper to the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum where the seller has his business or residence or where the cause of action arises. File complaint within 2 years from the date of the cause of action.

Essential Information in the Application: 

Essential Information in the Application Name and full address of complainant Name and full address of opposite party Description of goods and services Quality and quantity Price Date & proof of purchase Nature of deception Type of redressal prayed for

Benefits: 

Benefits No lawyer or agent is necessary for filing complaint or to make submission. If due to lawyer’s conduct consumer suffers, it is a deficiency in service open to redress. Nominal fees payable as per table below. No charges for despatching notices to opposite parties etc.

Fees payable: 

Fees payable   District Forum Value and compensation claimed - Fee Upto Rs 1 Lakh Rs 100 Rs 1 lakh & above but < Rs 5 lakh Rs 200 Rs 5 lakh & above but < Rs 10 lakh Rs 400 Rs 10 lakh & above but < Rs 20 lakh Rs 500

Benefits: 

Benefits Every complaint shall be heard and disposed of within 90 days (150 days in case of lab test) from the date of receipt of notice by the opposite party. No adjournment shall ordinarily be granted. If granted, reasons to be recorded.

Where to Lodge a Complaint: 

Where to Lodge a Complaint If claim is </= Rs.20 lacs, in the District Consumer Disputes Redressal forum (DCDRF). If > Rs.20 lacs < Rs.1 crore, & appeals, in the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Bhawani Bhavan, 31 Belvedere Road, Kolkata-700027. If =/> Rs.1 crore, & appeals from SC, in the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, A-wing, Janpath Bhavan, New Delhi-110011. Appeals from NC lie to Supreme Court.

Redressal a Consumer May Seek: 

Redressal a Consumer May Seek Removal of defects in goods or deficiency in services. Replacement of defective goods. Refund against defective goods or deficient services. Compensation. Prohibition on sale of hazardous goods.

For your money’s worth during any purchase:: 

For your money’s worth during any purchase: Insist on a cash memo if the price is >/= Rs.200. Insist on HALLMARK for your money’s worth in purity of gold ornaments. Check for mandatory declarations on packing (weight/quantity/best before). Don’t pay more than the MRP.

Buyer Be AWARE: look for~: 

Buyer Be AWARE: look for~ ISI mark on baby food, mineral water, electrical and cooking gas appliances, pressure cookers, cement, steel, etc.

ISI MARK: 

ISI MARK This guarantees quality of every batch in production process (use of components, testing standard of product, in-process checks, qualified technical personnel). ISI licence is granted by the BIS for 1 year only and performance of manufacturer is monitored before renewal.

HALLMARK for GOLD ornaments: licence granted to manufacturer on meeting IS-1417 for purity: 

HALLMARK for GOLD ornaments: licence granted to manufacturer on meeting IS-1417 for purity

What is HALLMARK: 

What is HALLMARK Jewellery is hallmarked from a BIS recognised Assaying & Hallmarking Centre (A&HC). 5 compulsory symbols make Hallmark: BIS logo. Fineness in millesimal number. Assaying & Hallmarking Centre’s mark. Year of marking (‘A’ = 2000). Logo of BIS certified jeweller/manufacturer.

HALLMARK indicates the jewellery conforms to the marked fineness of gold content. DON’T trust Karat meter which tests only surface fineness: 

HALLMARK indicates the jewellery conforms to the marked fineness of gold content. DON’T trust Karat meter which tests only surface fineness 958 = 23 carat 916 = 22 carat 875 = 21 carat 750 = 18 carat 585 = 14 carat 375 = 9 carat

Consumer check~: 

Consumer check~ AG mark on the pouch/ container for purchase of pulses, rice, wheat, flour, edible oil, ghee, butter, honey, spices etc.

BUY ONLY: 

BUY ONLY FPO mark on the container or packages of processed food or agricultural produces (jam, jelly, sauce, fruit juice, pickles etc.)

CHECK: 

CHECK MFPO-73 mark on canned meat or fish.

ECOMARK 1991: 

ECOMARK 1991 Every consumer product we buy has an impact on the environment. It is important to know which ones have less impact to improve the quality of the environment and to encourage sustainable management of resources.

PREFER ECOMARK LOGO MARKED PRODUCTS: 

PREFER ECOMARK LOGO MARKED PRODUCTS

Protecting the Consumer~ Standards of Weights & Measures Act & Rules: 

Protecting the Consumer~ Standards of Weights & Measures Act & Rules The weighing balance The measuring rod & The calibrated container are the tools for consumer protection

In a Shop CHECK~ : 

In a Shop CHECK~ Verification Certificate of ILM must be displayed prominently in all shops using weights/measures. A weighing balance not of metal and without pointer is illegal. It does not display the correct weight. Every weight has to be stamped on the reverse with the last two digits of the year (e.g. 03 for 2003) & the unit no. of the Inspector. Refuse non-standard weights like stones, iron pieces etc. and if the lead filling is missing on reverse.

Balances and Weights: 

Balances and Weights Any balance and scale made of wood and using string to suspend the pans is illegal. For sale of waste paper check that the buyer’s weights are stamped up to date and he uses a metal beam scale with pointer linked by unrusted chains to metal pans. On electronic weighing instruments the verification seal is on a plate fixed to it. Weight of tray not to be included with veg/fruit bought.

Cloth, Alcohol, Sweets: 

Cloth, Alcohol, Sweets When buying cloth check the measuring rod is of steel of one metre or more with the ILM 's seal at either end. Packed readymade garments must have sizes only in cms. “XXL, XL, L, M, S” etc. are illegal and do not indicate exact measurement. For dispensing alcohol, the peg measure must be of glass or brass that is well-tinned or silver-plated. Standard pegs are of 60 ml. (1 peg) and 30 ml. (1/2 peg) bearing 2003 verification seal. Sweets, including those in syrup (rossogulla, gulabjamun), must be sold by weight.

Jewellery & Rations: 

Jewellery & Rations Jewellery and Ration Shops shall have weighing scales clearly visible and close to the consumers. Jewellery shops must use only class-I or class-II balances protected from breeze, any disturbance and verified up to date. For your own protection, insist on HALLMARK gold ornaments with BIS logo & marked fineness.

PACKAGED COMMODITIES RULES Every package shall carry~: 

PACKAGED COMMODITIES RULES Every package shall carry~ Name and Address of Manufacturer or Packer. Net quantity of the package (NOT gross or “weight when packed”). If sold by number, the number contained in the package.

Every Package Shall Carry~: 

Every Package Shall Carry~ 4. Month and year of manufacture or pre-packing. 5. In case of food items, ‘best before’ or expiry date. 6. If imported, name and address of the importer with valid registration. 7. MRP inclusive of taxes. No pre-packed commodity can be sold above the declared MRP in shops, hotels, restaurants, bars (including bottled water, soft and hard drinks).

L.P.G.: 

L.P.G. Check the weight of the cylinder with the spring balance available with the distributor or the delivery man. The net quantity is 14.2 kg while the empty cylinder weight is 15 to 17 kg. If you take delivery from the distributor’s store you pay Rs.8/- less.

P.O.L.: 

P.O.L. Fuel Stations must display conspicuously a verified 5 ltr. can by which you can check the quantity of the actual supply. Totaliser is mandatory for every fuel station to check accuracy of dispensing unit. The Anti-Adulteration Cell will check any complaint regarding spurious P.O.L.

Kerosene Oil: 

Kerosene Oil Check ILM’s verification on the measure and the bottom that should have no cut mark or dent or re-welded. Ensure measure is filled to the top hole. There should be no lather in the drum or measure. Ensure there is no wax or sponge in the measure.

Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority: 

Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority It is located at: Parisrama Bhavanam 3rd Floor, Basheerbagh Hyderabad 500 004. Ph: 040-55820964, 55789768   Fax:040-55823334

Insurance Council: 

Insurance Council The Insurance council comprises of members of the Life Insurance Council and General Insurance Council formed under Section 40 C of the Insurance Act, 1938. Its governing body consists of representatives of insurance companies. It issues orders of appointment of the insurance Ombudsman on the recommendations of the committee comprising of Chairman IRDA, Chairman LIC, Chairman GIC and a representative of the Central Government.

Governing Body of Insurance Council: 

Governing Body of Insurance Council Address and contact number: Secretary General Governing Body of Insurance Council Jeevan Seva Annexe 3rd Floor (Above MTNL) S.V. Road, Santacruz (W) Mumbai - 400 054 Tel. No. : 022 - 610 6889 Fax No. : 022 - 6106980, 610 6052 E-mail ID: inscoun@vsnl.net

Insurance Ombudsman: 

Insurance Ombudsman The institution of Insurance Ombudsman was created by Govt of India for quick disposal of grievances of insured customers and to mitigate their problems involved in redressal of those grievances. An Insurance Ombudsman is appointed regionally to attend to complaints relating to Insurance. For West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Sikkim he is located at: North British Bldg. 29, N.S.Road, 3rd Flr, Kolkata-1. Ph: 22212666 / 22212669, Fax: 22212668.

Power of Ombudsman: 

Power of Ombudsman CONCILIATION: can receive and consider complaints from any person on any grievance against an insurer: any partial or total repudiation of claims by the insurance companies; dispute with regard to premium paid or payable in terms of the policy; dispute on the legal construction of the policy wordings relating to claims; delay in settlement of claims and non-issuance of any insurance document to customers after receipt of premium.

Ombudsman’s Powers: 

Ombudsman’s Powers Restricted to insurance contracts of value not exceeding Rs. 20 lakhs. The insurance companies are required to honour the awards passed by an Insurance Ombudsman within three months.

Lodging a Complaint: 

Lodging a Complaint In writing addressed to the Insurance Ombudsman of the jurisdiction under which the office of the insurer falls. The complaint can also be lodged through the legal heirs of the insured.

Before lodging a complaint: : 

Before lodging a complaint: 1. The complainant should have made a representation to the insurer named in the complaint and the insurer either should have rejected the complaint; or the complainant have not received any reply within a period of one month after the concerned insurer has received his complaint; or he is not satisfied with the reply of the insurer. 2. The complaint is not made later than one year after the insurer had replied. 3. The same complaint on the subject should not be pending with before any court, consumer forum or arbitrator.

Recommendations of the Ombudsman: 

Recommendations of the Ombudsman When a complaint is settled through the mediation of the Ombudsman, he shall make the recommendations which he thinks fair not later than one month and send copies to the complainant and the insurance company concerned. If the complainant accepts them, he will inform in writing within 15 days of the date of receipt, accepting the settlement.

AWARD: 

AWARD The ombudsman shall pass an award within three months from the receipt of the complaint. The awards are binding upon the insurance companies. If the policy holder is not satisfied with the award of the Ombudsman he can approach other venues like Consumer Forums and Courts of law for redressal of his grievances.

Insurer must inform:: 

Insurer must inform: As per the policy-holder's protection regulations, every insurer shall inform the policy holder along with the policy document details of the Insurance Ombudsman in whose jurisdiction his office falls for the purpose of grievances redressal arising, if any, subsequently.

Doctor’s Obligations [The Indian Medical Council (Professional Conduct, Etiquette and Ethics) Regulations, 2002]: 

Doctor’s Obligations [The Indian Medical Council (Professional Conduct, Etiquette and Ethics) Regulations, 2002] The prime object is to render service to humanity; reward or financial gain is a subordinate consideration. A Physician should:~ Be an upright man, instructed in the art of healing; keep himself pure in character and be diligent in caring for the sick; Be modest, sober, patient, prompt in discharging his duty without anxiety; conduct himself with propriety in his profession & in all actions of his life; Give priority to the interest of patients. Be characterised by Patience and Delicacy.

During registration, the applicant shall read and agree to abide by the following declaration:~: 

During registration, the applicant shall read and agree to abide by the following declaration:~ DECLARATION 1)  I solemnly pledge myself to consecrate my life to service of humanity. 2) Even under threat, I will not use my medical knowledge contrary to the laws of Humanity.

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3) I will maintain the utmost respect for human life from the time of conception. 4) I will not permit considerations of religion, nationality, race, party politics or social standing to intervene between my duty and my patient. 5) I will practice my profession with conscience and dignity. 6) The health of may patient will be my first consideration. 7) I will respect the secrets which are confined in me.

DECLARATION (contd.): 

DECLARATION (contd.) 8) I will give to my teachers the respect and gratitude which is their due. 9) I will maintain by all means in my power, the honour and noble traditions of medical profession. 10) I will treat my colleagues will all respect and dignity. 11) I shall abide by the code of medical ethics as enunciated in the Indian Medical Council (Professional Conduct, Etiquette and Ethics) Regulations 2002. I make these promises solemnly, freely and upon my honour.

Doctor’s Obligations: 

Doctor’s Obligations Must exhibit registration number in the chamber & on the receipt/prescription/ certificate issued to the patient. In govt. hospitals with heavy patient-load the name of the prescribing doctor must be written below the signature. Display in the chamber the professional fees charged. Announce his fees before rendering service and not after the operation or during treatment.

Obligations of a Physician: 

Obligations of a Physician Expose, without fear or favour, incompetent or corrupt, dishonest or unethical conduct by members of the profession. Not employ in connection with his professional practice any attendant who is neither registered nor enlisted under the Medical acts & not permit such persons to attend, treat or perform operations upon patients wherever professional discretion or skill is required. Consider it a pleasure and privilege to render gratuitous service to all physicians and their immediate family dependants.

A Physician should:~: 

A Physician should:~ Be ever ready to respond to the calls of the sick and the injured. Endeavour to add to comfort of the sick by making his visits at the hour indicated to the patient. Not arbitrarily refuse treatment to a patient. Once having undertaken a case, he should not neglect the patient, nor withdraw from the case without giving adequate notice to the patient and his family.

Documentation: 

Documentation A medical prescription should carry legibly the generic name & the brand name of the medicine prescribed to a patient. All drugs prescribed by a physician should always carry a proprietary formula and clear name. While referring a patient to a specialist, the attending doctor must forward his provisional diagnosis and prescriptions to the consultant. The consultant shall send his opinion in writing back to the attending doctor. Utmost punctuality should be observed by physicians in making themselves available for consultations. In consultations, no insincerity, rivalry or envy should be indulged in vis-à-vis the attending doctor.

Medical Records to Be Maintained: 

Medical Records to Be Maintained Every doctor shall preserve all medical records of an indoor patient for 3 years from the date of initiating treatment. If a patient calls for his medical record, the attending doctor is liable to produce it within 72 hours from the date of requisition. He must maintain a register recording every detail of medical certificates issued to the patients & their identification mark & LTI or signature during the course of his practice. He will attempt computerization of records for quick retrieval.

Medical Ethics: 

Medical Ethics No advertisement (e.g. photo or very large signboard) either in the signboard or letterhead, except the name, qualifications, registration number & subject of specialisation. No signboard on a chemist’s shop or anywhere that he does not work or stay. Not engage any agent to fetch patients; give, solicit, receive or offer any gift, commission or bonus in return for the referring, recommending or procuring of any patient. Not claim to be a specialist in any branch of medicine or surgery unless has acquired the requisite qualification in that branch.

Professional Misconduct: 

Professional Misconduct Improper conduct/abuse of his position. Prescribing steroids/psychotropic drugs when there is no absolute medical indication. Selling Schedule 'H' & 'L' drugs and poisons to the public, except to his patient. Sex determination test with the intent to terminate the life of a female foetus. Issuing a certificate that is untrue, misleading or improper.

MISCONDUCT: 

MISCONDUCT If a doctor posted in rural area is found absent on more than two occasions during inspection by the Head of the District Health Authority or the Chairman, Zilla Parishad. If a doctor posted in a medical college/ institution is found absent on more than two occasions during the assigned duty hours. Complain to Disciplinary Committee of State Medical Council.

Facilities In A Clinic The W.B. Clinical Establishment Act, 2001 : 

Facilities In A Clinic The W.B. Clinical Establishment Act, 2001 The area should not be <114 sq.ft. If facilities like medical dressing are made available, the area should not be <151 sq.ft. Every clinic should be equipped with proper seating arrangements for doctors, patients & attendants; wash basin; necessary instruments for medical examination; bins for collection of clinical waste.

Other Laws to Protect Consumers: 

Other Laws to Protect Consumers Companies Act prescribes information to be given to investors and government. Sale of Goods Act stresses that the buyer must be aware when buying. Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act prohibits advertising cure-alls and magical cures (talisman, mantra etc.). Insecticides Act prescribes safety information, dosage, antidotes. For objectionable advertisements: Advertisement Standards Council of India, Bajaj Bhavan, 2nd floor,Nariman Point, Mumbai- 400 021.

Protective Legislation: 

Protective Legislation Water and Air Pollution Prevention Acts. Household Electrical Appliances (Quality Control) Orders prohibit manufacture, strorage, sale of 40 appliances unless they have ISI mark. Freedom of Information Act to provide access to information for citizens. Dangerous Machines (Regulation) Act for compensation to labour operating machines.

Prevention of Food Adulteration Act: 

Prevention of Food Adulteration Act Prohibits manufacture, sale & distribution of adulterated foods & foods contaminated with toxicants and misbranded foods. Food is deemed to be adulterated if: The article sold by a vendor is not of the nature, substance or quality demanded by the purchaser and as it is represented to be. Contains any other substance or is processed as to affect injuriously the nature. Any inferior or cheaper substance has been substituted wholly or in part for the article.

Adulterated Food: 

Adulterated Food 4. Prepared, packed or kept under unsanitary conditions. 5. Consists of any filthy, putrid, disgusting, rotten, decomposed or diseased animal or vegetable substance or is insect-infested or otherwise unit for human consumption. 7. Food or container contains any poisonous or other ingredient injurious to health. 8. Has any colouring matter other than as prescribed and in amounts not within the prescribed limits.

Food when Adulterated: 

Food when Adulterated 10. Contains any prohibited preservative or permitted preservative in excess of the prescribed limits. 11. The quality or purity falls below the prescribed standard, or its constituents are present in quantities in excess of the prescribed limits.

FPO and MFPO: 

FPO and MFPO The Fruit Products Order (FPO) lays down minimum standards of quality of fruits and vegetable products and processing facilities. Meat Products Order provides means to: a. Detect and destroy meat of diseased animals. b. Ensure that preparation & handling of meat & meat products are conducted sanitarily. c. Prevent use of harmful substances in meat foods. e. Ensure that meat is inspected before sale for wholesomeness. f. Prescribes procedure for selection of disease-free animals & slaughterhouse practices.

Consumer Friendly Laws: 

Consumer Friendly Laws Competition Act prevents practices with adverse effect on competition; promotes & sustains competition in markets; protects interests of consumers & ensures freedom of trade. Legal Aid Services Act provides free legal aid. Cable TV Act & TRAI protect consumer’s choice. Trade & Merchandise Act for trademarks to prevent consumer being cheated by spurious product.

Pro-Consumer Laws: 

Pro-Consumer Laws Drugs & Cosmetics Act ensures ingredients are listed on packaging of all drugs and cosmetics with expiry date and precautions on harmful effects. Bureau of Indian Standards Act certifies that products meet ISI standards. Agricultural Produce (Grading and Marking) Act standardises such products for AGmark.

Other helpful legislation: 

Other helpful legislation Indian Railways, Railway Rates & Claims Tribunal Acts provide for safety and compensation of consumers. Banking Regulation Act, Banking Ombudsman for deficiency in banking services, Insurance Act to protect consumers’ finances and compensate loss. Textile (Consumer Protection) Regulation to mark cloth & yarn for quality control & price marking. Electricity Act safeguards; Regulatory Authority, Telephone Tribunals provide compensation.

Helpful Laws for Consumers: 

Helpful Laws for Consumers Arbitration & Conciliation Act to resolve disputes quickly without recourse to courts. Citizens’ Charters stating intentions of Banks, Insurance agencies, govt. depts. in providing services to consumers.

Fair Business Practice: 

Fair Business Practice Mahatma Gandhi: “A customer is the most important visitor on our premises. He is not an interruption in our work. He is the purpose of it. He is not an intruder in our business, he is a part of it. We are not doing him a favour by serving him. He is doing us a favour by giving us an opportunity to do so.” Not just value money but Valuing People is essential for good business. Trader = manufacturer, packer, seller, distributor.

Council for Fair Business Practices established 1996 promotes:~: 

Council for Fair Business Practices established 1996 promotes:~ Charge only fair/reasonable prices Ensure agents/dealers do not overcharge No hoarding in scarcity No trading in spurious or adulterated goods

CFBP promotes: 

CFBP promotes Invoice imported/exported goods at correct prices No misleading advertising Maintain accuracy in weights & measures of goods on sale Not to deal in smuggled goods

Other initiatives to elevate public image of business & safeguard consumer interests: 

Other initiatives to elevate public image of business & safeguard consumer interests Associated Chambers of Commerce & Industry worked on “Norms of Business Ethics”. CII formulated “Consumer Code.” Confederation of Indian Food Trade & Industry developed “Code of Ethics”. Advertising Standards Council of India established Consumer Complaint Council & adopted a code of self-regulation.

UNFAIR Trade Practice: 

UNFAIR Trade Practice Adopting unfair methods or deception to promote sale, use or supply of goods or services e.g.~ Misleading public about price (e.g. bargain price when it is not so). Charging above MRP printed. Misleading public about another’s goods or services. Falsely claiming a sponsorship, approval or affiliation. Offering misleading warranty or guarantee.

Unfair Business Practice: 

Unfair Business Practice Sale of spurious or sub-standard goods/services. Offering used or renovated goods as new. Using banned food colours. Creating artificial scarcity of goods. Exaggerated, misleading advertising. Offering, then withholding gifts/prizes. False claim of offering gifts/services when cost is included partly in the charge.

Restrictive Trade Practice: 

Restrictive Trade Practice Price fixing or output restraint re: delivery/flow of supplies to impose unjustified costs/restrictions on consumers. Collusive tendering; market fixing territorially among competing suppliers, depriving consumers of free choice, fair competition. Supplying only to particular distributors or on condition of sale only within a territory. Delaying in supplying goods/services leading to rise in price. Requiring a consumer to buy/hire any goods or services as a pre-condition for buying/hiring other goods or services.

DOs for Fair Business: 

DOs for Fair Business Right product, right service at right price with cash-memo. Honour warranty and guarantee. Provide reliable, adequate after-sales service and spare parts. Honour Consumer Rights to safety, choice, information. Undertake & participate in factual consumer education programmes. Build up a social coalition between producers, sellers, consumers. Establish consumer complaints cells, voluntary codes.

Consumer Education to cover:: 

Consumer Education to cover: Health, nutrition, food-borne diseases, food adulteration. Product hazards. Product labeling. Protective laws. How and whom to approach for redress. Information on weights, measures, packaging, prices, quality, availability of basic needs. Environment, pollution, sustainable consumption.

What VCOs can do: 

What VCOs can do Inform consumers of cost structures of products. Get professional opinion on the pricing for price regulation initiatives. Analyse consumer products to check claims made vis-à-vis price and benefits. Watchdog on unfair trade practices, violation of consumer laws, misleading advertising. Set up product testing laboratories.

Spreading Awareness: 

Spreading Awareness “Grahak Dost” 12 part serial Brochures on consumer rights, remedies. Booklets on how to survive as a consumer. Train “consumer friends” VCOs, teachers, opinion leaders, mass media.

Remind Ourselves: THE CUSTOMER IS ALWAYS RIGHT: 

Remind Ourselves: THE CUSTOMER IS ALWAYS RIGHT 24 December~. National Consumer Day 15 March~ World Consumer Rights Day for celebration and solidarity within the international consumer movement. [4 basic consumer rights declared by President Kennedy on 15 March 1962. First observed on March 15, 1983.]