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Home > Know Your Rights > Consumer Rights
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Q1.  What are Consumer Rights?

A1.  Consumer rights are the rights enjoyed by any consumer of any product or services. A person buying a commodity or availing a paid service is a consumer. As a consumer, you are entitled to certain rights to safeguard your interests. For example, if I buy electronic equipment, then as a consumer I am entitled to know whether it is safe and has the ISI mark. In the event of its malfunctioning, I am entitled to get it replaced or get my money back from the seller.


Q2.  What are my rights as a consumer?

A2.  Rights of a consumer in India have been described in the Consumer Protection Act of 1986. The Act lists following six consumer rights:

  • Right to be protected from hazardous goods and services
  • Right to information
  • Rights to choose goods and services
  • Right to be heard in decision making process concerning consumer interests
  • Right to redressal if consumer rights are infringed
  • Right to consumer education


Q3.  What is meant by Right to be protected from hazardous goods and services?

A3.  This is a right of safety provided to consumers from any goods and services that may be hazardous to life and property. It mainly covers healthcare, food products, medicines, automobiles, machinery and electric equipments. It requires that the products that may be detrimental for to our safety are sold in the market only after undergoing a through verification and standardization procedure. To ensure that the items you are buying, always look for standardization marks. For example, while buying food products always look for an Agmark on the packet to ensure that it is safe. Similarly, while buying and electrical appliance, look for the ISI mark to ensure that it is completely safe to use.


Q4.  What is meant by right to information?

A4.  It is a right to be informed about the quality, quantity, potency, purity, standard and price of goods and services that you are buying. This right ensures that all consumer products provide some basic information such as manufacturing date, maximum retail price(MRP), expiry date, ingredients, quantity, nutritive value and address of manufacturer. Always look for all these while buying any product.


Q5.  What is my right to choose as a consumer?

A5.  Right to choose means the right to be assured to have access to a variety of goods and services at competitive prices. A consumer should be in a position to choose the best possible product for himself according to his own needs and budget. He should not be forced to purchase whatever is available in market. This is possible when consumers have a variety of products. Existence of monopolies and oligopolies where one or few companies control the market of a particular product, are detrimental to consumer’s right to choose. So right to choose is very important for the growth of consumerism.


Q6.  What is meant by right to be heard?

A6.  Right to be heard is the right of the consumers to fearlessly voice their complaints with respect to any defective goods or service they availed. This right aims at voicing the opinions of the consumers against products and services that are sub standard and seeks to unite consumers against big corporate giants. However, there is no such government forum where consumers can register such complaints. Only few private websites provide such a platform. One such website where you can voice your opinion and alert other consumers about a particular product is www.consumerdaddy.com.


Q7.  What is right to redressal?

A7.  Right to redressal is the right to approach the court to seek redressal against unfair trade practices or restrictive trade practices or unscrupulous exploitation of consumers. A hierarchy of Consumer courts have been set up by the Government such as District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum at district level which hear cases less than Rupees 20 Lakhs, State Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum at state level for cases amounting between Rupees 20 Lakhs and 1 Crore and National Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum (NCDRF) at national level for cases above Rupees 1 Crore. Appeals from NCDRF go directly to the Supreme Court of India.


Q8.  If I have been duped by a seller who refuses to refund or change the defective product, what should I do?

Q8.  If a seller is unwilling to replace the defective product or refund you your money then you should first approach the manufacturer. If the manufacturer also refuses to do so then you can file a consumer complaint in the consumer court.


Q9.  I don’t know how and where to file a consumer complaint?

A9.  You can file a consumer complaint in the district consumer forum of your district if your product was less than 20 Lakhs in value. You will need the services of a lawyer who would draft your complaint. If you cannot afford the fees of a lawyer than Consumer Commission will make arrangements for providing you free legal aid. Ensure that you have all the receipts and written correspondences that you had with the seller of the product, to be produced as proof in the court. For more information on consumer courts and their procedures you can see the website of NCDRC (www.ncdrc.nic.in). It provides information of all consumer courts throughout the country and the procedures and requirements for filing a complaint.


Q10.  How much time it takes to complete a consumer case?

A10.  Consumer forums and commissions seek to dispose off consumer matters speedily. However, time taken depends on case by case basis and can even take a year or so.

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