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accepted. As per the Act, the consumer protection councils have been established at Central, State and Dis trict levels to promote and protect the consumer rights. They are: Right to Safety: To be protected against the sale of goods and services whic h are spurious/hazardous for the life. Right to Information: To know the quality, quantity, weight and the price of goods/services being paid for, so that one is not cheated by unfair trade practices. Right to Choose: To be assured, wherever possible, access to a variety of go ods and services at competitive prices. Right to be Heard: To be heard and to be assured that the interest would rec eive due consideration at appropriate fora. Right to Seek Redressal: To seek legal redressal against unfair or restricti ve trade practices or exploitation. Right to Consumer Education: To have access to consumer education. At present there are 35 State Commissions, one in each State/UT and 571 district forum besides the National Commission. The state governments are responsible to set up the distri ct forum and the State Commissions. States have been empowered to establish additional District Forum and also additional members in the State Commission to facilitate constituting benches and also for holding circuit benches. The Central Government is required to set up the National Commission. It has be en empowered to appoint additional members to facilitate creation of more benches and holding of circuit benches. The second bench of the National Commission started functioning from 24 September 2003. The gover nment is monitoring the disposal of cases by the consumer courts through National Commission. Since its inception and up to March 2004, 32,910 cases were filed out of which 24,974 cases disposed of in the Nati onal Commission. Similarly 3,01,485 cases were filed and 1,97,797 cases disposed of in the State Commission s and 18,86,236 cases were filed and 16,46,698 cases disposed of in the district forum. Overall 18,69,469 cases have been disposed of out of 22,20,631 cases filed with a remarkable disposal rate of 84.2 per cent. The government has declared 24 December as 'National Consumer Day', since the Pr esident gave his assent on that day to the enactment of the historic Consumer Protection Act, 198 6. Besides this, 15 March is observed as 'World Consumer Rights Day' every year.
grade. Alauddin Khilji was the second ruler o f the Khilji dynasty. Several generations of rulers following the Khilji did not contribute much to th e consumer protection cause until Sher Shah Suri who ruled during the brief period between 1540 and 1 545 AD. financial and commercial backbone of the I ndian medieval period. there were unprecedented improvements in the weights and meas ures standardization process bringing about dramatic changes in the transparency practices of trader s with consumers. Several prominent Muslim rulers had ruled India during this period from their capital in Delhi. severa l significant achievements were made in matters related to consumer protection. He emphasized on standardized measures a nd set forth decimal and centenary systems with respect to measures. All traders w ere required to publish details regarding the quality and quantity of their merchandise inclu ding weights. laid the foundation to the economic. Although his reign was brief. During his reign. and usability. age. confectionaries and pharmaceuticals. Commodities were weighed and measured through standards established by the Sult an and people who did not follow standards were punished through fines and even capital punishment . Sher Shah Suri was a visionary in matters related to commerce. He also published quality guide lines especially for produce. the third Mughal Emperor of India. Cons umers also enjoyed the right to return merchandise which did not meet the standard requirements rel ated to quality and . The right of t he consumer to be informed perhaps found its earliest roots during the period. The Delhi Sultanate. The most notable achievements in Consumer Protection during the Delhi Sultanate were during the period of Alauddin Khilji (1296 AD to 1316 AD).Consumer Protection in Medieval India Consumer protection was of paramount importance in the medieval period in India ranging from 1000 AD to 1750 AD. He envisioned that an econ omy is always dependant on how well its consumers are treated. This law was strictly enforced through prefects and secret service personnel employed by the emperor. During the reign of Akbar (1556-1605). measures. The financial system he introduced along with the currency Rupiyah forms the foundation of the monetary system of modern Indi a. he is thought to be one of the most important medieval ruler who has influenced consumer protection policies of modern India. Violations and de ceitful behavior were dealt with the harshest of punishments including amputation of limbs. The Sultan had judges who were omnipotent in enforcing the rights of the consumers and approach ing the courts when injustice occurred was simple and without bureaucracy. being the start of such a long period of Islamic rule in India. adulteration if any. grocery.
price. In India. vision and persever ance through which the medieval rulers of India preserved the importance of consumer protection issues has been a source of fascination for international historians and economists. k nowledge and skills. and this in fluences individual behaviour to a great extent.quantity. its characteristics and the other marketing P's (place to buy. Usually commercials and ads increase consumer awareness. who are affected by almost all government. Consumer awareness it a marketing term. economic and social agendas of many nations. public or private decisions. Nevertheless. consumer issues had det eriorated into a stage that needed a rigorous revival. state of elementary or undifferentiated consci ousness Introduction THE PROCESS of development along with the expanding globalisation and liberalisa tion process has increased the number of consumer related issues.Awareness:-having knowledge of . and promotion). It means that consumers note or are awar e of products or services. Education is a life long process of constantly acquiring relevant information. the awareness. the Government has taken many steps including legislative. Eventua lly by the time the British gained control over the whole Indian peninsula. The most important step in consumer education is awareness of consumer rights. they concentrated more on literary. Consumer:.Someone who purchases a good for personal use. architectural and military pursuits. . as well as "word of mou . Although the Mughal kings that came afterwards did continue the achievements lai d by their forefather. Consumer education is an important part of this process and is a basic consumer right that must be introduced at the school level. Akbar s contribution is notable in that his rule improved accountability and transparency in commodity transactions which were perhaps non-existent in the medieval days in India. to protect consumers. However. consumer education is incomplete without the responsibilities and duties of consumers. Definition Consumer awareness is making the consumer aware of His/Her rights. by and large the biggest group. Consumer protection has ear ned an important place in the political. Consumers by definition include all citizens who are.
A lack of consumer awareness in any industry can ha rm sales. the rol e of the voluntary consumer organizations. brochures. to educate the comm on consumers particularly those in rural areas who are more susceptible to exploitation.th" (a comment from someone you know about a product or service). It is. our bounden duty to play our part jointly and effectively in d isseminating various schemes to the common consumers of the country. the awareness is required. Many people are ignorant of their rights to get protected against the exploitati on by so many others. Need of Consumer Awareness 1) It has been observed that the people for. therefore. and other sources depending upon the topic and the message delivered. only knowledgeable and alert consumers aware of their rights and responsib lities can protect themselves effectively. Once they are ed ucated and made aware of the schemes that have been drawn up for their benefit and also the redressal for um that is available. This is mainly because they are not fully aware of these schemes and their benefits.. will reach the common consumers o f the country.whom various schemes have been taken up by Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS). The need of the hour is. Therefore. Consumers cannot purchase produ cts and services if they do not know they exist. do not get benefit as expected. information posted to a Web site. consumer awareness programs create more informed buying decisions. fact sheets. those products and services will remain on the front line in sales. in fact. 3) we need it so we will not be misled by producers. In this regard. therefore. consumer activists. . in true sense. guides. edu cational institutions and media cannot be ignored. 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. So when there is a forum for such redress of grievances there seems to be no su ch exploitation by many. and not harmful to us and to environment . Also. non-governmental organizations. Consume r awareness programs can be initiated through the utilization of flyers. So in order to get a clear picture of the level of expl oitation of consumers. and becomes a rare one. school programs. television. radio .it explains if what we buy i s worth to our money. If specific products and services are better known. the benefit of various schemes. 2) Making existing and potential customers knowledgeable about products/services .
"low-ball" price t raps (bait and switch). wholesome p oultry and meat. Some states' laws regulate and give some protection again st high-pressure door-to-door sales. abusive collection practices. adulterated. false labeling. and decep tive or fraudulent sales practices. almost all states and the federal government have en acted laws and set up agencies to protect the consumer (the retail purchasers of goods and services) from inferior. phoney home improvement loans wit h huge final payments. truth in lending. unsolicited merchandise. the soundness of banks. (If a deal sounds too good to b e true. and creates liability (financial responsibility) for "impl ied" warranties (when the circumstances show that a warranty of lack of defects was intended) as well as express (specific) warranties. supposed credit for referrals of your friends. false adve rtising. misbranding and adulteration of food and cosmetics. providing standards for warranties and making a company that finance d the sale responsible for product defects. and swamp land sales. and various business practices. Mail fraud may include fake contests.consumer protection laws n. The Magnuson-Moss Act (1973) sets minimum stand ards for product warranties. flamma ble fabrics. hazardous and deceptively advertised products. misleading advertising. Federal statutes and regulations govern mail fraud. standards of housing materials.) Almost all states have agencies set up to actively protect the consumer . it probably is. securities sales. and referral and promotional sales.