Today, the 24th of December, is observed as Consumer Protection Day. The market is full of a variety of goods. There are more than a billion consumers in our country. So the Consumer Protection Act was implemented on 24 December 1986. Therefore, Consumer Protection Day is celebrated on this day every year.
Gandhiji said that the consumer is a king. But he/she is attracted by giving false information about the product. Many a time the consumer falls prey to such advertisements. The ads like Buy one, get one free or coupons, a silver coin with the purchase of gold, or a 2-wheeler with the purchase of a flat & such ads are given to increase the sale of a product.
The purpose of observing Consumer Protection Day is to make a consumer aware of his/her rights. In the USA, the Presidential election was marked by the consumer movement in 1960. So John F Kennedy established a platform for addressing the problems of consumers when he became the President of the USA. This was followed by a worldwide movement. UNESCO endorsed the consumer movement.
Afterwards, 15 March began to be observed as World Consumer Day. In India, the Consumer Protection Act was signed by the President on 24 December 1986. Therefore, this day is devoted to awareness of the rights of consumers. There are six types of consumer rights:
- Right of guarantee: Warranty of safety of a product like TV, motorbike, etc.
- Right to information: It is binding for a seller to give full information about the product to a consumer.
- Right of choice: A consumer has a right to choose the type of a product according to his/her choosing.
- Right to get redressal of grievance: A consumer has got the right to get his/her grievance redressed.
- Right to complain: If cheated, a consumer has got the right to approach the appropriate body to complain.
- Right to Consumer education: An awareness campaign is arranged by voluntary agencies for consumers.
The amended Consumer Protection Act came into force on 20 July 2019. Now there are District & State Forums for the redressal of grievances. An affected person can approach any forum to get justice. Thus Gandhiji’s saying that a consumer is a king can be a reality. One has to be wary of a company when it uses marketing & public relations to try & persuade the public that their products or policies are environmentally friendly, popularly known as greenwashing.