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Consumer Rights

Let us see what rights a consumer has…

(i) Right to Safety
(ii) Right to Information
(iii) Right to Choice
(iv) Right to Seek Redressal
(v) Right to Represent

The Consumer is Supreme


Consumers Right to Safety

As consumers, while using many goods and services, we have the right to be protected against the marketing of goods and delivery of services that are hazardous to life and property. Producers need to strictly follow the required safety rules and regulations. There are many goods and services that we purchase that require special attention to safety.

For example, pressure cookers have a safety valve which, if it is defective, can cause a serious accident. The manufacturers of the safety valve have to ensure high quality.

You also need public or government action to see that this quality is maintained. However, we do find bad quality products in the market because the supervision of these rules is weak and the consumer movement is also not strong enough.

In case of any accident caused due to negligence in the manufacture of any goods the consumers can approach the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission or the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission located in New Delhi.


Consumers Right to Information

A consumer has the right to know about the product he is buying. Let us look into the information a consumer has a right to know when he is buying a product :-

1. Details about ingredients used
2. Price
3. Batch number
4. Date of manufacture
5. Expiry date
6. Address of the manufacturer.
7. Directions for proper use
8. Information relating to side effects (if it is medicine)
9. Instructions for washing (if it is garments)

Consumers have the right to be informed about the particulars of goods and services that they purchase because they can then complain and ask for compensation or replacement if the product proves to be defective in any manner and not according the information provided on the product. For example, if we buy medicine and the expiry period was not printed, the manufacturer would blame the shopkeeper and will not accept the responsibility.

The consumers have to be alert while buying any goods and check if all the relavant information are printed on the product.

In recent times, the right to information has been expanded to cover various services provided by the Government. In October 2005, the Government of India enacted a law, popularly known as RTI (Right to Information) Act, which ensures its citizens all the information about the functions of government departments.

Consumers Right to Choice

Any consumer who receives a service in whatever capacity, regardless of age, gender and nature of service, has the right to choose whether to continue to receive the service or not.


Let us consider a few examples:

  • A consumer wants to buy a toothpaste, and the shop owner says that she can sell the toothpaste only if the consumer buys a tooth brush. If the consumer is not interested in buying the brush, then his right to choice is denied. The consumer can object and opt to buy only the tooth paste.
  • Similarly, sometimes gas supply dealers insist that the consumer should buy the stove from them when he takes a new connection. The consumer has a right to object to this.

Due to lack of awareness, many a times consumers are forced to buy things that they may not wish to and are left with no choice.

Consumers Right to Seek Redressal

Consumers have the right to seek redressal against unfair trade practices and exploitation. The right to seek redressal means, the right to seek compensation for any damage caused due to faulty manufacture or service.


The consumer has the right to get compensation depending on the degree of damage.

There is a need to provide an easy and effective public system by which this can be done.

Let us look into the case of Mr. Prakash to under stand our rights as consumers.


Under COPRA (Consumer Protection Act), a three-tier quasijudicial machinery was set up for redressal of consumer disputes.


The district level court deals with the cases involving claims upto Rs 20 lakhs, the state level courts between Rs 20 lakhs and Rs 1 crore and the national level court deals with cases involving claims exceeding Rs 1 crore.

If a case is dismissed in district level court, the consumer can also appeal in state and then in National level courts.

Consumers Right to Represent

The consumer movement in India has led to the formation of various organisations locally known as consumer forums or consumer protection councils. They guide consumers on how to file cases in the consumer court and exercise their right to represent their case or grievance in the consumer courts.

On many occasions, these consumer forums also represent individual consumers in the consumer courts. These voluntary organisations also receive financial support from the government for creating awareness among the people.


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