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HALLMARKING

H allma rk in g i s the ac cu rate determin atio n and offic ial reco rdin g
of th e pro po rtio na te con te nt of pre ciou s me tal in gol d.
H allma rk s are th us offi cial mark s use d in many cou ntri es as a
g ua ra ntee of purity o r fi nene ss of gol d jewelle ry.

ISI

The produc t ce rtif ica ti on sc heme is bas ically vo lun tary


a nd aim s a t pro vi din g quality, s afe ty and de pen dabi lity
to th e ul ti ma te cu stomer. Prese nce of ce rtif ic atio n
ma rk k nown as S ta ndard Mark on a produc t is an
a ss uran ce of co nformity to th e s peci fic ation s. Th e co nfo rmi ty is
en su re d by re gul ar s urve illance of th e lic ense e's pe rf ormance
by su rpri se ins pec ti ons and te stin g of sample s, draw n both
f rom th e f ac to ry a nd the marke t.

FPO

F PO- F rui t Pro du cts Orde r - 1955, promul gate d un der se ction 3
of th e E sse ntia l Commo di tie s Act - 1955, aim s at regu lati ng
s ani ta ry a nd hygie nic con di tio ns in man ufacture of f rui t,
vege ta ble pro du cts. It is mandatory fo r all man ufacturers of
f rui t & ve getable pro du cts to obtain lice nse un der thi s Order to
en su re good qual ity produc ts , man ufactured under h ygie nic
co ndi ti on s. The F rui t Pro du ct O rder l ays down th e mi nimum
requireme nts for:

Consumer in Market
All the people participate in the market either as consumer or seller or
producer. Any person who buys a commodity or service for direct use or
ownership. I, you, we all are consumers when we buy a product or service.
But people who acquires goods or services for resale or use in production
and manufacturing cannot be considered consumer.

In free market economics, consumers dictate what goods are produced and
are generally considered the center of economic activity. Individual
consumption of goods and services is primarily linked to the consumer's level
of disposable income, and budget allocations are made to maximize the
consumer's marginal utility.

Within law, the notion of consumer is primarily used in relation to consumer


protection laws, and the definition of consumer is often restricted to living
persons (i.e. not corporations or businesses) and excludes commercial users.
A typical legal rationale for protecting the consumer is based on the notion of
policing market failures and inefficiencies, such as inequalities of bargaining
power between a consumer and a business. As potential voters are also
consumers, consumer protection takes on a clear political significance.

Concern over the interests of consumers has also spawned much activism,
as well as incorporation of consumer education into school curricula. There
are also various non-profit publications, such as Consumer Reports and
Choice Magazine, dedicated to assist in consumer education and decision
making.
Consumer exploitation
In market, consumers are often exploitated. When a consumer is cheated in
anyway, either by the shopkeeper or by the producer by giving him poor
quality and adulterated goods or by charging more prices for a commodity or
service, it is called consumer exploitation. Consumers are explioted in the
following ways –

1. Adulteration
Adulteration means mixing of low quality products to a superier quality
product. In many costly items like oil, ghee and spices, adulteration is made
in order to earn higher profits. It causes monitary loss to the consumer as
well as it spoils their health

2. Sub-standard quality
Sometimes, traders sell goods of sub standard quality. For ex – selling of
medicines beyond expiry date, selling of defected home appliances, sub-
standard quality drugs, etc.

3.False or incomplete information


Sellers easily misuse consumers by giving wrong information about it’s price,
quality, reliabilty expiry date, durability, safety, it’s effect on health,
maintainance cost and term and conditions of purchase

4. Lack of safety
Many electronic devices are produced localy lacking the required inbuild
safeguards. This causes accidents to the consumer

5.Unsatisfactory after sale


Many high cost durable item need an extra care. The sellers do not provide
the satisfactory services after sale despite the necessary payments.
6.Higher prices
Very often, traders charge a price higher than the maximum retail price
(MRP). This case can easily be seen during black marketing. A product, such
as mobile phone, which had not been officially launched by company in a
particular country despite of high demand, than the product is imported from
some other country and sold with higher price. The consumer buy the
product with high price out of curiosity and felt exploited when the company
officially launch the product.

7.Dubligate article
Many false and dubligate article are being sold to the consumers. These fake
products are mainly imported from mostly from China. They had poor
quality.

8.Advertisement with false claims


Many times, sellers and producers advertise with false claims of the product.
For ex – a fairness cream might not work, special pads advertised to increase
height might have no result, etc.

9.Rough behavier and undue condition


In matters like LPG, fixing of new telephone line, consumer are often
harassed and undue conditions are put under them

10.Hoarding and artificial scarcity


When goods which are meant for public are kept in godowns illegally without
reporting to the government, It is called hoarding. This creates artificial
scarcity of goods. In order to earn high profits, buissnessmen creates
artificial scarcity by hoarding. They sale the goods later when the prices rise.

11. Under weighting and under measurement


The traders do not weight or measure the goods correctly when they sell it in
the market

Factors

Consumer exploitation is caused because of the following factors –

1.Limited Information
The producers and sellers are free to produce any good or service in any
quantity and there is no regulation of prices. In such cases, providing full and
correct information about different aspects of products like price, quantity,
condition of use, etc to the consumer is of great importance. But consumers
have access to limited information which might be incomplete or false

2.Limited Supplies
The consumer are explioted, when the goods and services are available in
limited quantity. Limited supplies are usually a result of lower production of
goods as compared with the demand. This gives rise to the tendency of
hoding and price asclation

3.Limited competition
In many cases, a few sellers control the entire market and manupulate the
price and availability of commodities such as durable goods, medicines,
auto-mobiles, etc. The sellers have an upper hand in fixing the prices of such
products

4.Low level of literacy


Illiteracy is one of the major droback that leads to consumer exploitation.
The level of consumer counsiousness in our country is generally low. The
consumer are not aware of their rights and duties

Consumer awareness
The awakening among consumer by their rights and duties, social and legal
obligation of the buissness or government towards the consumer is called
consumer awareness.

There is a growing realisation that consumer are needed to be aware of


unfare practices done by the shopkeepers and producers. The process of
development along with the expanding globalisation and liberalisation
process has increased the number of consumer related issues. Consumer
protection has earned an important place in the political, economic and
social agendas of many nations. In India, the Government has taken many
steps including legislative, to protect consumers.

Need For Consumer Awareness

1) Only knowledgeable and alert consumers aware of their rights and


responsiblities can protect themselves effectively. The need of the hour is,
therefore, to educate the common consumers particularly those in rural
areas who are more susceptible to exploitation. Once they are educated and
made aware of the schemes that have been drawn up for their benefit and
also the redressal forum that is available, the benefit of various schemes, in
true sense, will reach the common consumers of the country.

2) Making existing and potential customers knowledgeable about


products/services, consumer awareness programs create more informed
buying decisions. Consumers cannot purchase products and services if they
do not know they exist. A lack of consumer awareness in any industry can
harm sales. If specific products and services are better known, those
products and services will remain on the front line in sales. Therefore, it is
important to implement consumer awareness programs that will introduce
and make the target audience aware of the products and services a
company offers. Consumer awareness programs can be initiated through the
utilization of flyers, brochures, television, radio, guides, fact sheets,
information posted to a Web site, school programs, and other sources
depending upon the topic and the message delivered.

3) Consumer awareness is making the consumer aware of His/Her rights. It


is important as one should not be misled by producers. Many people are
ignorant of their rights to get protected against the exploitation by so many
others. So when there is a forum for such redress of grievances there seems
to be no such exploitation by many; and becomes a rare one. So in order to
get a clear picture of the level of exploitation of consumers, the awareness is
required.

Quality marks

The Government of India has taken certain steps for standardisation of


products through Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) and Agmak.

BIS caters to the industrial and consumer goods, the Agmark for agricultural
products and the Hallmark is for jewellery. These logos and certification help
consumer get an assured quality of the goods and services. The producers
can use these logos provided if they follow certain quality standards.

These standards are not to be followed by all producers compulsorily.


However, in cases of products of mass consumption like LPG cylinders,
packaged drinking water, cement, etc, it is mandatory on the part of the
producers to get certified by these organisations.

Consumer Movements
There was dissatisfaction of the consumers as many unfair practices were
being induged in by the shopkeepers. There was no legal system or law
available to consumers to protect themselves from unethical and unfair
practices and expliotaion by sellers. In case of any defective product or
deficiency of services, it was considered to be responsibility of the consumer
to be careful while buying a commodity or service. These factors gave birth
to the consumer movements in India.

Most people do not make compliant to redressal their grievances. To make


consumer movement effective, it was necessary that every compliant, even
for a small amount of money, should be made.

Early attempts

Rampant food shortages, hoarding, black marketing, adulteration of food and


edible oil, etc gave birth to consumer movements in an organised form in the
1960s. Till 1970s, consumer organisations were largely engaged in writing
articles and holding exhibitions. They form consumer groups to look into the
malpractices in ration shops and over crowding in the road passenger
transport.

UN role in the consumer movement

In 1985 United Nations adopted the UN guidelines for Consumer Protection.


This was a tool for nation to adopt measures to protect consumers. This
became basis for consumer advocacy group to press their government to
accept their demands for protection for consumers against unscrupulous
traders and shopkeepers. This led the foundation for consumer movement.
Today, Consumer International has became an umbrella body of 240
organisations from over 100 countries.

Consumer Protection Act 1986 (COPRA)

In 1986, the Government of India enacted Consumer Protection Act 1986,


popularly known as COPRA to protect the interest of the consumers. Now,
consumer can go to consumer courts or consumer forum to get justice. The
Act provides for establishment of Consumer Disputes Redressal Agencies at
District, State and National levels for the protection and promotion of
consumer interests and to redress their grievances in a speedy, simple and
inexpensive manner. It is a quasi-judicial machinery. These are known as
National Consumer Commission at Delhi, State Consumer Comission and
District Forum.

The Act was amended in 1991 and 1993. It has enabled the consumers to
have the right to represent in the consumer courts. The Act has also led to
setting up of seprate Departments of Consumer Affairs in Central and State
Government which focus exclusively on the rights of the consumers. Thus,
COPRA is an important step in the consumer movement in India.

In October 2005, Right to Information Act was enacted. This enables citizens
to have all the information about functions of government departments. The
citizens have the right to know all the particulars of goods and services they
purchase.

Consumer Forums / Courts


Consumer Court is the name given to special purpose courts, mainly in India
and elsewhere, that deal with cases regarding consumer disputes and
grievances. One can go to consumer court to seek redressal. To help an
ordinary citizen, consumer courts have been set up at District, State and
National level. Here, an Indian citizen can file a case in a very simple format.
There is no need to hire a lawyer as you can fight your own case. No court-
fee is required. Thus you can proceed with your case at minimum expenses.

It has become the vehicle for enabling people to secure speedy and in-
expensive redressal of their grievances. With the enactment of The
Consumer Protection Act, 1986 this law, consumers now feel that they are in
a position to declare “sellers be aware” whereas previously the consumers
were at the receiving end and generally told “buyers be aware”.

Various claims are dealt with these courts. Complaints involving costs and
compensation upto Rs. 20 lakhs are required to be filed at the District
Consumer Redrassal Forum. Complaints involving costs and compensation
between Rs. 20 lakhs and Rs. 1 crore are required to be filed at the State
Commission which is situated in all the State capital cities. Complaints
involving costs and compensation of over Rs. 1 Crore are required to be filed
at the National Commission at - National Consumer Grievances Redrassal
Forum, 5th Floor, Janpath Bhawan, New Delhi 110001

If a consumer is not satisfied by the decision of the District Forum, he can


challenge the same before the State Commission and against the order of
the State Commission a consumer can come to the National Commission

CONTENTS OF CONSUMER COMPLAINT

Procedures for filing complaints and seeking redressal are simple. There is no
fee for filing a complaint before the District Forum, the State Commission or
the National Commission. ( A stamp paper is also not required). Three to five
copies of the complaint on plain paper are required to be submitted by the
complainant or his authorized agent in person or could be sent by post to
the appropriate Forum / Commission.

A complaint should contain the following information:-

(a) The name, description and the address of the complainant.


(b) The name , description and address of the opposite party or parties, as
the case may be, as far as they can be ascertained;
(c) The facts relating to complaint and when and where it arose;
(d) Documents, if any, in support of the allegations contained in the
complaint.
(e) The relief which the complainant is seeking.

The complaint should be signed by the complainant or his authorized agent.


The complaint is to be filed within two years from the date on which cause of
action has arisen.

FORMAT OF CONSUMER COMPLAINT

BEFORE THE HON’BLE NATIONAL/STATE/DISTRICT CONSUMER DISPUTES


REDRESSAL COMMISSION AT NEW DELHI/STATE CAPITAL/DISTRICT NAME.

COMPLAINT UNDER CONSUMER PROTECTION ACT, 1986.

IN THE MATTER OF : (Name and address of complainant)

.................... COMPLAINANT
Rights and Duties of a Consumer
AND
Education is a life long process of constantly acquiring relevant information,
IN THE MATTER OF : (Name and address of the accused)
knowledge and skills. Consumer education is an important part of this
process and is a basic consumer right that must be introduced
.................... at the school
OPPOSITE
level
PARTYThe most important step in consumer education is awareness of
consumer rights. However, consumer education is incomplete without the
responsibilities and duties of consumers, and this influences individual
behaviour to a great extent.

The rights of consumer are as follows –

1. Right to Safety
Consumers have right to be protected against the marketing of goods and
services, which are hazardous to life and property. The purchased goods
and services availed of should not only meet their immediate needs, but
also fulfil long term interests. For ex – if an electronic good, chemical
product, gas cylinders, etc happen to have any manufacturing defect, it
may harm the consumer resulting in injury or death or damage to
property.
Before purchasing, consumers should insist on the quality of the products
as well as on the guarantee of the products and services. They should
preferably purchase quality marked products such as ISI,AGMARK, etc

2. Right to Informed
Consumers have right to be informed about the quality, quantity, potency,
purity, standard and price of goods so as to protect the consumer against
unfair trade practices.
Consumer should be informed – how to use the product, what safety
measures or precations are to be taken to avoid injury, expiry of the
product, etc. This will enable him/her to act wisely and responsibly and
also enable him/her to desist from falling prey to high pressure selling
techniques.

3. Right to Choose

Consumer has the right to choose the product at competitive price which
are fair and reasonable. He/she must have access to the variety of goods
avaiable and must be able to compare the relative quality and price of
similar product. In case of monopolies, it means right to be assured of
satisfactory quality and service at a fair price

4. Right to be heard
Consumer's interests should receive full and sypathic consideration in the
formation and execution of economic and other politics which effect the
consumer. Consumer had the right to be heard by the manufacturers,
traders, government and local bodies. It also includes right to be
represented in various forums formed to consider the consumer's welfare.

5. Right to Seek redressal

Consumer have the right to seek redressal against unfair trade practices
or unscrupulous exploitation of consumers. It also includes right to fair
settlement of the genuine grievances of the consumer.

6. Right to Consumer Education

Means the right to acquire the knowledge and skill to be an informed


consumer throughout life. Ignorance of consumers, particularly of rural
consumers, is mainly responsible for their exploitation. Consumer have
the right to be educated about – unfair practices by traders and
manufacturers, provisions of relvent law inacted to prevent unfair trade
practices, steps to safeguard their interest and responsibilites of the
consumer in connection with excersie of their practises

Duties of consumer are as follows –

1. While purchasing the goods, the consumer should look at the quality of
product as well as guaranty of the product and services. Whenever
possible, one should insist of waranty card. One should preferably
purchase quality product, ISI mark product or Agmark, etc. Agmark is for
agricultural product

2.Whenever possible, consumer should ask for cash memo for the item
purchased

3.Consumer should form consumer awareness organisation which can be


given representation in varies commities formed by the government and
other bodies in matters related to consumer

4. Consumers must make complaint for their genuine grievances. Many


times, their complaint may be of small value but its impact on the society
as a whole may be very large. They can also take the help of consumer
organisations in seeking redressal of their grievances.

5.Consumer should know their rights and must excercie them

Role Of Producers
The role of producers is very significant with far reaching consequences.

1.The producers are under obligation to produce goods conforming to the


prescribed standards, such as ISI, wherever such standards are prescribed.

2.They must provide written literature giving details to reasonable extent


about the products, their ingredients, their do and don'ts, warranty or
guarantee, MRP, date of manufacture and expiry, operational instructions,
etc as the case may be, with each unit of product.

3.Provision of the address of the manufacturer with other contact details is


significant as the customer may ultimately have to fall back in case of need.

4.Packing of products to reach them safe at the end user point, quick
response and remedial measures in case of any wrong happening, etc could
be very helpful to save consumers from big hassles and losses.
If the producer take all reasonable care, a high volume of troubles gets
eliminated by facilitating the consumer rights this way providing right quality
products, each unit tested and certified.

Conclusion
An aware consumer is the one who is aware of all unfair practices by the
shopkeepers and the producers. He/she should checks at various shops and
buy a commodity or service at a competetive price. He/she should be
conscious of his/her rights and duties and therefore, he/she should be
informed about the following before purchasing a product -

1) Details about ingredients used


2) Price
3) Batch Number
4) Date of manufacture
5) Date of expiry
6) ISI marked or Agamark or Hallmark
7) Address of manufacturer
8) Warnings and Instructions for use

Also, an aware consumer should express his/her solidarity by forming


consumer awareness organisation which may get representation in various
committes formed by the government. He/she should redress their
grievances even if the amount for the product is not high because it’s impact
on the soceity is large. There should be consumer’s active involvement to
protect the interest of all consumers.

Source(s):
Google,Yahoo,Ask,Starware,Consumerreports,Wikipedia,answers.com,

outlookindia, http://www.consumercourt.netfirms.com/index.htm

http://members.tripod.com/arun.saxena/consum2.html#b

www.fcamin.nic.in