As the World celebrated World Consumer Rights Day on March 15, it is high time for the producers and sellers to realize that in fact, it is the consumer who does favour to the producers and sellers by providing them the opportunity to thrive.
This is the basic philosophy at the heart of all customer or consumer interactions. Instead of expecting the customer to be polite, producers and sellers by adopting the other way round will get closer to the truth of what customer-satisfying service really means. Consumer being the backbone and prime ambassador of products, manufacturing establishments deserve best services; therefore, it is the prime responsibility of all the units linked with production,and sale of goods and services to maintain the highest standards of quality in their products so that the common goal of consumer satisfaction is achieved.
The theme for ‘World Consumer Rights Day 2019’ is ‘Trusted Smart Products’. The theme has been rightly chosen as today from smartphones to wearable fitness trackers, to voice-activated assistants and smart TVs, many of the products we use are increasingly becoming connected by default. So focussing on this theme the aim is to highlight what consumers want and need from a connected world and how important it is to put the mat the heart of the development of these digital products and services.
Though father of the nation Mahatma Gandhi might not have visualized a digital world of today, yet we are reminded of his words when he stated “A customer is the most important visitor on our premises.” The greatest saint leader and a strong protagonist was absolutely right because in principle consumer is not dependent on goods or service provider but the position is undoubtedly the other way round.Consumer is the purpose of the producer and not an outsider to his business.
He is a part of it and the producer or the sell-er is not doing him a favour by serving him. At the same time there is a need for the consumers at large to change their mindset as they still consider that they are born to be dependent on the producers and service providers. To wipeout this notion from the consumers’ minds requires mass awareness about Consumer Rights by various stakeholders.
Consumer Protection Act, 1986 is a historic milestone in the consumer movement in India which is aimed at providing consumers with effective safeguards against different types of exploitation such as defective goods, unsatisfactory services and unfair trade practices. This legislation also provides for establishment of consumer councils and other authorities for the settlement of consumers’ disputes and matters connected therewith.
The law has been promulgated keeping in mind the commitments towards international policy towards consumerism thus encompassing the eight basic consumers’ rights pertaining to satisfaction of basic needs, safety, information, choice, right to be heard, redressal of grievances, consumer education and last but not the least a healthy environment.
These rights have been systematically included in four macro programmes namely Financial services, Food safety, security and nutrition, Consumers access to reliable, affordable and safe communication networks besides Consumer justice and protection. Amongst these four, Consumer justice and protection is the most significant one as it provides for a concerted international effort to support the realization of consumer rights at the international level, Revision of UN guidelines, Updating the UN guidelines on consumer protection, An increased international focus on the legal empowerment of the consumer, Work with international organisations to develop new initiatives and make resources available for consumer protection, Work with CI members to support their work at the national level,Systematic assessment of members capacity and Map ‘sustainable business models’ for consumer organisations.
With the massive endeavours on this front at the International level it seems that the efforts in India especially in J&K are still far from satisfactory. As such it is hoped that focussing on the theme ‘Trusted Smart Products’ this year’s campaign continues vigorous endeavour by making awareness programmes on consumer rights a regular feature. It would be advisable to even incorporate the basic principles of consumerism and consumer rights in the syllabi of school going children right from the primary level.