CONSUMER AND CONSUMER RIGHTS:
A Person who buys any goods or services for a consideration which has been paid or promised or partly paid and partly promised or under any system of deferred payment is a Consumer.
A person who obtains goods for resale or for any commercial purposes will not be a Consumer. However, if such goods are brought by a person exclusively for the purpose of earning his livelihood by means of self-employment then such a person will be considered as a Consumer.
FUNCTIONS OF A CONSUMER CLUB IN COLLEGES:
Consumer Clubs have to be activated through some structured activities. Active Consumer Clubs may go beyond this and also take up innovative activities. The following basic structure of functioning is recommended:
Monthly meetings and demonstrations for one hour after school hours on the First Thursday of each month. Each month a topic / activity may be scheduled as in the model calendar.
Days of National and International importance to consumers may be celebrated in the School / College. Poster / Speech / Essay competitions can be organized at school level by the Consumer Club.
Field visit to local markets / Consumer Courts and door to door campaign in the local community etc., may be organized for at-least 4 days in a year. It can be done on Saturdays by prior arrangement.
Minutes of each activity have to be recorded by the Student and Teacher Coordinator jointly to document.
A Consumer Club notice board shall be opened to be updated daily by the teachers and students with consumer related news.
OBJECTIVES OF CITIZEN CONSUMER CLUB:
Our vision of markets in India, where consumers are careful and vigilant while manufacturers are responsible and ethical, guides us. The objectives of our mission would be:
- a) Bring awareness and realization about duties and responsibilities as Citizens of India.
- b) Spread awareness about the rights and responsibilities of Citizens and Consumers as provided in the Constitution of India, Consumer Protection Act, 1986 and other Indian Laws.
- c) To enable children, students and self help groups to work together as a team with local communities and develop in to caring, responsible and honest citizens.
- d) Mobilize and instill right-consciousness, confidence to question violations of citizen and consumer rights and fight for justice.
- e) Impart knowledge about real life situations and to enable to development of skills to handle citizen and consumer issues.
- f) Instill concern for environment around us as citizens and consumers and sustainable consumption habits.
DUTIES OF A MEMBER:
To learn and follow the traits of a responsible citizen and aware consumer.
To disseminate information gained through the club among fellow students, parents, and other people in the community.
To organize and actively participate citizen building and consumer protection programmes being organized by the club as well as in their locality, mobilizing general public.
To observe all important international and national days especially Republic Day (26th January), National Consumer Day (24th December) and World Consumer Rights Day (15th March).
To treat all fellow citizens with care, concern and responsibility.
CONSUMER RIGHTS VIOLATION:
Consumers in India are largely ignorant of rules, laws and codes. They are also unaware of their rights. A vast majority are also illiterates in many backward districts and states. Hence, dishonest producers and retailers cheat such unsuspecting and ignorant people without difficulty. Hence, consumer welfare is in a state far from desirable. Following are common violations of consumer rights:
(1) Under weighing (2) Adulteration (3) Not providing proper bill (4) Poor quality goods/spoilt/damaged goods (5) Poor maintenance (6) Cheating on contract terms / hidden clauses in contract (7) Price higher than Maximum Retail Price on cover (MRP) (8) Forcing / misleading into buying unwanted goods (9) Misleading advertisements, especially aimed at children (10) Selling goods whose expiry date is over (11) Bogus companies, who cannot be contacted after sales (12) Overcharging of interest especially in credit purchase (13) Dangerous, hazardous or unsafe goods. (14) Deficient or discourteous service.
The list is endless. Now, how do we fight against these violations and get justice? Consumer Beware! We have to be vigilant, cautious and intelligent. The Teacher-Coordinator must also use case studies to illustrate each type of violation and ask students to list violations that they or their parents have experienced or are still faced with. Voluntary Consumer Organizations’ representative and Coordinating Agencies can share their experiences with students.
Consumer Rights are many (as laid down in the Art and UN Convention)
- Right to Safety
- Right to Information
- Right to choice
- Right to representation
- Right to redressal
- Right to Consumer Education
- Right to Healthy Environment
- Right to satisfaction of Basic Needs
World Consumer Rights Day is celebrated based on former American President John.F.Kennedy’s announcement of March 15th as Consumer Rights Day on March 15th 1962.
Subsequently in the year 1973, March 15th was proclaimed as world Consumer Rights Day.
Students may be asked to explain what each right means to them. Voluntary Consumer Organizations representatives can highlight with examples.
National Consumer day is celebrated on December 24th every year as the Consumer Protection Act 1986 came into force on 24.12.1986 across India.