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This National Consumer Rights Day, Know The Safeguards You Are Entitled To

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December 24 is annually marked in India as the National Consumer Rights Day. The occasion encourages all citizens to gather awareness about the legal rights they are entitled to as consumers in the market. The central Department of Consumer Affairs that helms the ‘Jago Grahak Jago’ campaign defines consumer rights as “the right to have information about the quality, potency, quantity, purity, price and standard of goods or services.”

Several legal remedies and policies exist to protect the Indian consumer from falling prey to fraud in the market. The most notable of them is the Consumer Protection Act, 1986, which in the said year came into force after receiving assent from the President.

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As consumers in the wide Indian market, knowing our legal safeguards allows us to know better, purchase better. Here are some consumer rights you should know about: 

1. In general, the ‘Jago Grahak Jago‘ campaign identifies the law to include the right to be protected from all kind of hazardous goods and services; to be informed about their quality; to free choice; to be heard in decision-making related to consumer interests; to seek redressal when consumer rights have been infringed; and to complete consumer education.

2. As per the Consumer Protection Act, individuals, firms, Hindu undivided families, and companies, all have the right to exercise their consumer rights.

3. Consumers can approach the court in case goods and services purchased are defective, the trader used unfair means, if the trader charges more than the printed MRP, or if the products sold are a threat to life.

4. Consumer rights reportedly also extend to areas of healthcare, pharmaceuticals, and food processing that affect the health of consumers and their well-being. It overlaps into the businesses of automobiles, housing, domestic appliances, travel, etc. which are susceptible to safety hazards in the market.

5. These consumer laws every citizen is eligible to can be learnt about through print and online media platforms to increase consumer awareness and education.

6. Parties seeking redressal in any way or form have several courts at their disposal, including District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forums at district level, State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commissions, as well as National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commissions.

7. The theme for this year’s Consumer Rights Day is “The Sustainable Consumer,” according to reports. It is seeking to bring notice to the need for citizens to purchase and use goods wisely, keeping in mind the global climate crisis and endangered biodiversity.

8. On Consumer Rights Day 2020, the Consumer Affairs Ministry also introduced citizens to some new features of the Consumer Protection Act 2019. It included essentials such as the rights to be heard, to redressal, to safety, and consumer education among others.

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