The Consumer Protection Act provides six rights to consumers. They are as follows:
(i) Right to Safety The consumer has a right to be protected against goods and services which are hazardous to life, e.g., sometimes we purchased the food items of low quality which causes severe problems. Thus, in this case, we should purchased good quality and FPO labelled products.
(ii) Right to be Informed The consumer has a right to have complete information about the product, which he intends to buy including its ingredients, date of manufacture, price , quantity, directions for use etc. Under the legal framework of India manufactures have to provide such information on the package and label of the product.
(iii) Right to Choose The consumer has the freedom to choose from a variety of products. The marketers should offer a wide variety of products and allow the consumer to make a choice and choose the product which is most suitable. ‘
(iv) Right to be Heard The consumer has a right to file a complaint and to be heard in case of dissatisfaction with a good or a service. It is because of this reason that many enlightened business firms have set up their own consumer service and grievance cells.
(v) Right to Seek Redressal The Consumer Protection Act provides a number of reliefs to the consumer including replacement of the product, removal of defect in the product, compensation paid for any loss or injury suffered by the consumer etc.
(vi) Right to Consumer Education The consumer has a right to acquire knowledge about products. He should be aware about his rights and the reliefs available to him in case of a product/service falling short of his expectations. Many consumer organisations and some enlightened businesses are taking an active part in educating consumers in this respect.
A consumer should keep in mind the following responsibilities while purchasing, using and consuming goods and services:
(i) Be aware about various goods and services available in the market, so that an intelligent and wise choice can be made.
(ii) Buy only standardised goods as they provide quality assurance. Thus, look for ISI mark on electrical goods, FPO mark on food products and Hallmark on jewellary etc.
(iii) Learn about the risks associated with products and services.
(iv) Read labels carefully, so as to have information about prices, weight, manufacturing and expiry dates etc.
(v) Assert yourself to get a fair deal.
(vi) Be honest in your dealings. Choose only from legal goods and services.
(vii) Ask for a cash-memo on purchase of goods and services. This would serve as a proof of the purchase made.
(viii) File a complaint in an appropriate consumer forum in case of a shortcoming in the quality of goods purchased or services availed.
(ix) Form consumer societies which would play an active part in educating consumers and safeguarding their interests.
(x) Respect the environment, avoid waste, littering and contributing to pollution.