Question 1: “Can consumer get their rights properly in our society”- Justify
Consumer rights is become an important matter in our society. Whenever we buy anything we have certain rights and responsibilities under the law. When we buy anything we are entering a contract with the seller. This is given both the consumer and the seller certain rights. Before the mid twentieth century, consumers were without rights but by the 1950s, a movement called consumerism began together .After that consumers are more aware about their rights. India has been observing 15 march since 1989 as the national consumer day. Also every year 15 March is observed the World Consumer Rights Day. The day is observed 1983 for the first time in the world history.
Consumer has some rights, responsibilities, protections; law if our society maintains these all together then consumer get their rights properly in our society. Meanwhile consumer harassment and cheating continues in various ways-less weight, abnormally high price, and poor quality product. All these are violate the consumer rights act. Bangladesh has a Consumers Association of Bangladesh (CAB) to protect the rights of consumers. Consumer protection in Bangladesh is referred in article 15 and 18 of the constitution.
2. RIGHTS OF THE CONSUMER:
There are some basic rights of consumers .I describe below the rights of the consumers:
a) The right to basic needs: Consumer has some basic needs like guarantee survival, adequate food, clothing, shelter, health care, education and sanitation. Consumers may look forward to the avaibility of basic and prime commodities to consumers at affordable prices and of good quality. Consumers prioritize their needs look for quality not quantity. Be quality conscious, not brand conscious. In the time of crisis consumers has to be vigilant in ensuring that basic commodities are available in the market. If consumers are not satisfied ensure that in the time of crisis, the prices of commodities do not increase abnormally.
b) The rights to safety: Consumers always expect that they get the safe commodities. Manufactures of consumer products to undertake extensive safety and performance testing before selling their products in the market. Consumers may look forward to labels which contain the proper information as regards the product, its use and how to operate it, if the need arises, and also precautions or warning signs. If consumer has sensitivity to a certain ingredient, it would be very beneficial if they read all labels and product circulars before using a certain product. For safety consumers has to avoid hazardous and harmful products.
C) The right to information: The right to be protected against dishonest or misleading and labelling is given the facts and information needed to make an informed choice. Consumers may look forward to complete information about the product to be purchased including its use, ingredients/chemical contents, precautions, if any limitations and expiry date. Before purchasing a product, it is very important for consumer to read the label carefully so that they would be able to know its use, content, number of pieces, how to care for the product. Before signing any document like warranties or guarantees, credit items or service contacts, it is important to read and understand all provisions in the document. If consumer needs to clarify something regarding the use of the product, don’t hesitate to write the company so that they can obtain detail information.
d) The right to choose: Consumer has their own choice so they has right to choose. The right to choose products at competitive prices with an assurance of satisfactory quality. Consumers may look forward to a wide array of goods and services which are offered in the market with diverse brands, sizes, shapes, and colours with difference in the price, quality, and use. Specify what consumers really want. The biggest size may be cheaper but it may not be what consumers need. If product testers are available consumers can try one.
e) The right to representation: The right to express consumer interests in the making and execution of government policies. Consumers may look forward to legislators would propose laws that would ensure that consumers would have the chance to live a better life by getting the best value for their hard- earned peso. Consumers can read newspapers, bulletin boards in private and govt. Offices, especially in their locality for announcements of public hearings. Take time to attend public hearings or event in consumer’s area where consumer issues are being discussed. Be aware of the consumer laws and regulations are being implemented in their locality.
f) The right to consumer education: The right to acquire knowledge and skills necessary to be an informed consumer. The three sectors of society: business, government, consumer would embark on an information campaign through media on consumer related issues. A series of seminars, conferences, trainings, public hearings for the welfare of consumers. Consumers can scan newspapers, magazines and other reading materials for articles or newbits which educate consumers on how to get the best value for their peso.
g) The right to a healthy environment: Environment is an important factor for consumer rights. The right to live and work in an environment which is neither intimidating nor hazardous and which permits a life of distinction and well- being. Be aware of kind and extent of pollution occurring in consumer’s locality like air pollution so that consumer would be able to address the problem. The protection of the environment is reducing the source of solid wastes by buying earth friendly products. These are products that could be disposed properly without harming our environment.
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The right to basic goods and services, which guarantee survival. It includes adequate food, clothing, shelter, health care, education and sanitation.
The right to be protected against products, production processes and services which are hazardous to health and life. It includes concern for consumer’s long-term as well as their immediate requirements.
The right to be given the facts needed to make an informed choice or decision. Consumer must be provided with adequate information enabling them to act wisely and responsibly. They must also be protected from misleading or inaccurate publicity material, whether included in advertising, labeling, packaging or by other means.
The right to choose products and services at competitive prices and, in the case of monopolies, to have an assurance of satisfactory quality and service at a fair price.
The right to advocate consumers’ interests with a view to their receiving full and sympathetic consideration in the formulation and execution of economic and other policies. It includes the right of representation in governmental and other policy-making bodies as well as in the development of products and services before they are produced or set up.
The right to a fair settlement of just claims. It includes the right to receive compensation for misrepresentation of shoddy goods or unsatisfactory services and the availability of acceptable forms of legal aid or redress for small claims where necessary.
The right to acquire the knowledge and skills to be an informed consumer throughout life. The right to consumer education incorporates the right to the knowledge and skills needed for taking action to influence factors, which affect consumer decisions.
The right to a physical environment that will enhance the quality of life includes protection against environmental dangers over which the individual has no control It acknowledge the need to protect and improve the environment for present and future generations.
3) RESPONSIBILITIES OF CONSUMERS:
a) Critical Awareness: The responsibility of consumers to be more attentive and searching about the use of product, price and quality of goods and service we use. So it is an imporrant responsibility for a consumer.
b) Action: The responsibility to avow and act to ensure that we get a fair agreement. As long as we remain passive consumers, we will continue to be broken.
c) Social Concern: The responsibility to be aware of the impact of our consumption on other citizens, mainly disadvantage or powerless groups, whether in the local, national, international community.
d) Environmental Awareness: The responsibility to understand the environmental consequences of our consumption. Consumers should recognize their individual and social responsibility to preserve natural resources and protect world for future generations.
e) Solidarity: The responsibility to organize together as consumers to develop the strength and influence to promote and protect our interest.
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The responsibility to be more alert and questioning about the price and quality of goods and services we consume.
The responsibility to assert ourselves by acting to ensure that we get a fair deal As long as we remain passive consumers we will continue to be exploited and manipulated.
The responsibility to consider the impacts of our consumption patterns and lifestyles on other citizens especially the poor disadvantaged or powerless consumers whether they be in the local national or international community.
The responsibility to realize the environmental costs and consequences of our consumption patterns and lifestyles. We should recognize our individual and collective social responsibility to conserve natural resources and to preserve earth for present and future generations.
The responsibility to come together and organize consumers in order to enhance the strength and influence required to promote and protect our interests.
Collected from- (www.crcp.org.pk)
4) CONSUMER PROTECTION:
Consumer protection laws are designed to ensure fair competition and free flow of truthful information in the marketplace. The laws are designed to prevent businesses that engage in fraud or specified unfair practices from gaining an advantage over competitors and may provide additional protection for the weak and those unable to take care of themselves. Consumer protection laws are a form of govt. Regulation which aims to protect the interests of consumers. For example, a govt. May require business to disclose detailed information about product s-particularly in areas where safety or public health is an issue, such as food. Consumer protection is linked to the idea of consumer rights and to the formation of consumer organizations which help consumers make better choices in the market place. Consumer interests can also be protected by promoting competition in the markets which directly and indirectly serve consumers. Consumer protection can also be asserted via non- govt. Organizations and individuals. In America there is Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for consumer protection agencies which collects complaints about companies, business practices, and identify theft.
The Federal Trade Commission, the nation’s consumer protection agency, collects complaints about companies, business practices, and identity theft.
Why: Your complaints can help us detect patterns of wrong-doing, and lead to investigations and prosecutions. The FTC enters all complaints it receives into Consumer Sentinel, a secure online database that is used by thousands of civil and criminal law enforcement authorities worldwide. The FTC does not resolve individual consumer complaints.
5) IMPACT OF CONSUMER LAW IN SOCIETY:
Before 1950s consumer law is not strictly followed by the society or government but now a day’s consumers are more concern about law and their rights, responsibilities. Also our government take proper actions about consumer rights. For example, in Bangladesh month of Ramadan price of the daily needs abnormally increasing but their government took proper step. Also they monitor the bazaar. In the restaurants they mixed chemical in the foods govt strictly protect that harmful thing. Many countries have monitoring agencies to monitor the consumer rights whether it’s broken or not.
We justified that consumers are more concern now a days they know their rights well and they also know how to get their rights properly in the society. In some countries they don’t have strong consumer protecting agencies but its true that there is some countries they strongly aware about their rights. Also government can play a vital role to protect consumer rights in our society. Consumer law can great impact in society to protect consumer rights. The most important law on the sale of goods is the sale of goods act 1979. Consumer law strictly protect the abnormal hike of price, fraud, cheating and harmful product.
1. Robert N.Corley (1990) “The Legal Environment Of Business” pp 618-649
2. Bohlman M. (1989) “The Legal Environment Of Business” pp255-273