Consumer is a person who is not openly occupier in a trade, but services from a person who is occupied in the business. To keep the business beneficent and legal, some policies have been recognizing by the government to create equilibrium between profit and quality. Such policy is about goods and services, supplied to the consumers, who desire to buy or hire goods services from the sellers or manufacturers. “Consumer” means an individual, whether in South Africa or not, who participate in a consumer transaction, but does not include a sponsor.
“Consumer is defined as someone whose acquire services for straight use or possession rather than for resale or use in production and manufacturing”.
1.1 Consumer rights & protection law:
Consumer protection laws are plane to must sure fair contest and the free flow of open information in the market. The laws are plane to avert businesses that appoint in fraud or personally unfair practice from ahead an improvement over competitors and may provide complementary security for the weak and those not capable to take care of themselves. Consumer Protection laws are a formation of government which aim to shelter the benefit of consumers. For example, an administration may have want of businesses to reveal detailed information about products-principally in areas where safety or public health is a matter, for instance food. Consumer protection is related to the inspiration of “consumer rights” (that consumers have various rights as consumers), and to the pattern of consumer organization.
There are 8 basic rights of the consumers. These basic rights are internationally recognized and have been approved by the United Nations. These are:
Ø The right to satisfaction of basic needs;
Ø The right to safety;
Ø The right to be informed;
Ø The right to choose;
Ø The right to be heard;
Ø The right to redress;
Ø The right to consumer education; and
Ø The right to a healthy environment.
To make a model structure for consumer rights protection, one needs to deal with three very significant element of such protection:
Ø Performance of consumer regulations;
Ø Consumer empowerment via imparting necessary education and information; and
Ø Consumer represent in the national as well as international decision making process.
There are three column of consumer policy:
Ø Consumer legislation and regulation;
Ø Consumer demonstration;
Ø Empowerment of individual consumer
Any query into the problem of consumer protection in one of the least developed countries, such as Bangladesh, must start with the accessible elementary differences relating consumer protection philosophies in the developed and developing countries of the world.
Consumer protection in Bangladesh is in Articles 15 and 18 of the bill. Article 15 deals with the condition of basic supplies like food, clothing, shelter, education, medical care, right to work, right to work at high wages, quantity and reputation of work, social security etc. The 18 deals with public health and integrity, like preventing the expenses of alcoholic and other interesting drinks and of drugs, which are harmful to health.
In addition, there are other various provisions of consumer law, which have been enacting from time to time. For instance, the Control of Essential Commodity Act, 1956 has given power to the government to control the production, distribution, preservation, use, and business etc of convinced important merchandise for which a permit is a necessity
With consider to maintaining the quality of food for example flour, oil, ghee, etc. the Department of Public Health has been entrust with the duty of judgment and check of the quality of fare underneath the Pure Food Ordinance 1959. This Ordinance as well prohibits persons with contagious diseases such as tuberculosis, from regard in manufacturing of such food items.
3.0 Brief in details
3.1 Consumer of Bangladesh deprived from their rights
The social site of the consumers in Bangladesh is must of risk here. The consumers are destitute of their rights at every bubble of their lives. The country has got a slight very old-formed legislation, which are neither adequate nor sternly enforced for the fortification of the rights of the general consumers. These contain Control of Essential Commodities Act 1956, Pure Food Ordinance 1959, Standard of Weights and Measures Ordinance 1982, Drug Control Ordinance 1981 and 1982, Breast Milk Substitutes (Regulation of Marketing) Ordinance 1984 and 1989, Standard and Testing Institution Ordinance 1985 and 1988.
However, such legislative protections are not sufficient and therefore, fail to meet the present necessities of the consumers. Therefore, the general consumers of Bangladesh cannot take suitable legal action against the counterfeit and unfair trade practices of the dishonest businessmen and traders. Similarly, the issue of “consumer empowerment” is just as unnoticed both at the level of government as well as that of the confidential sector.
Also, the consumers of Bangladesh require proper education about their rights as consumers and they very regularly than not are destitute of receiving the correct information as regards products and services. As well, there is a total absence of consumer representation in the process of executive.
3.2 The aspects of consumer rights protection that most of the countries consider but except Bangladesh
There are three aspects of consumer rights protection, which every country must consider. They are:
3.2.1 Institutional Protection: when national institutions are well-known to protect and support consumer rights of their citizens. For instance, 1914 the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), in 1927 the Food and Drug Administration(FDA) and in 1970 the National High Traffic Administration(NHTA) were set up in the USA;
3.2.2 Statutory Protection: when appropriate laws are enacted to look after the rights and interests of the consumers. Many countries of the world, as well as those in Asia have already enacted ample laws in this consider, for instance, the Consumer Protection Fundamental Act 1968 in Japan, Consumer Protection Act 1979 in both Thailand and Sri Lanka, Consumer Protection Act 1986 in India, Consumer Act of Philippines 1990 were enacted.
3.2.3 Voluntary Protection: when consumers themselves gladly set up associations or organizations to look after their own rights and interests. These associations or organizations usually work as energy groups on the government on consumer rights issues. There are several such helpful organizations in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and other countries of the world.
3.3.3 Similar extensive consumer protection law, which would ensure justice to the poor consumer of our country
After a protracted support and lobbying by the CAB (Consumer Association of Bangladesh) with the government and the strategy makers a draft Consumer Protection Law was planned long time back. This draft act is still deceitful with the Ministry of Commerce to be process for support by the Parliament. Though we do have some available laws on top of consumer protection but that are very divisive and standard.
Inside Bangladesh the Consumers’ Association of Bangladesh (CAB) was established in 1978. With the persistent effort of CAB since 1994, a draft Consumer Protection Act for Bangladesh was formulated in 1998 by the Ministry of Commerce in discussion with CAB and other related ministries, Departments and agencies of the Government of Bangladesh. In 1999 CAB approved a series of seminars and workshops where people from unlike corners of the society belligerently participated to suggest necessary changes in the draft act so organized. In February 2000, the Ministry of Commerce sent the draft Act (with necessary amendment suggestions) toward the Law Reform Commission to do essential research on it. In the 29th October, 2000 Law Reform Commission made available a report on the draft act. Like a final point the draft Act got the primary support at the cabinet but was another time sends the Secretarial Committee meeting for more protection. This is so far the in progress type of the Consumer Protection Act of Bangladesh.
3.3.4 Consumer Protection Act of Bangladesh is extremely comparable to India and Sri Lanka. The draft act is organized into four parts with 32 sections in total. The reason of the act is stated as:
Ø To protect the benefit of the consumers;
Ø To set ethics in business; and to set up necessary institutions for pleasing the more than mentioned purpose and for the settlement of consumer disputes.
According the draft Act, National Consumer Protection Council will establish in Bangladesh. The matter of such board shall be to carry and protect the rights of the Consumers for instance
Ø The right to be protected against the support of merchandise and services which are risky to life and assets;
Ø The precise to be informed about the quality, quantity, energy, purity, honesty, stability, standard and price of goods and services so as to protect the Consumer against unfair trade practices;
Ø The exact to be certain of the access to a combination of goods and services at aggressive price;
Ø The precise to be heard and to be certain that consumers’ interests will receive due consideration at correct forums;
Ø The right to seek out redressed not in favor of inequitable trade practices or unprincipled operation of customers; the right to Consumer culture.
As well to the on top of mentioned committee, there will be establishing at least one District Consumer Court in each locality of Bangladesh and one National Consumer Court for the whole Bangladesh to deal with Consumer disputes. The District Consumer bench shall have right to consider complaints where the charge of the goods or services and reparation, if any, claim does not exceed 25 lac taka. Such sum, if exceeds 25 lac taka, will be a matter for the National Consumer Court. Petition neighboring to the instructions of any District Consumer Court will lie with the National Consumer Court and call against the orders of the National Consumer Court will lie with the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh.
The most outstanding part of the draft Act is that a complaint in relative to any goods sold or deliver or granted to be sold or delivered or any service provide or granted to be provide, may be file not only by the apprehensive consumer(s) or the government but also by any known consumers association. For that matter, it is not essential that the apprehensive consumer(s) be a member(s) of such consumer association.
The draft Act give pretty a lot of power to the District Consumer Courts and the National Consumer Court. But such courts get any complaint to be true, they have the authority to issue order directing the applicable party/parties to do one or more of the subsequent things, like-
Ø Remove the fault from the goods or services in problem;
Ø Replace the goods with new goods of alike description, free from any defect; to return the price/charges compensated for the imperfect product/services;
Ø Pay return for any loss or injury suffer by the consumer due to disregard of the apposite party;
Ø Terminate with undue trade practice or the restrictive trade practice; not to offer the dangerous goods for sale;
Ø Withdraw the harmful goods from being presented for sale; and
Ø Provide for adequate costs to parties.
The entire of these Ordinances and act have been enacted amid good purpose to defend the ‘helpless’ consumers of Bangladesh. Likewise the CAB (Consumer Association of Bangladesh) was recognized to protect the privileges of those consumers.
There are two very imperative issues, which are missing in the draft Consumer Protection Act of Bangladesh. They are
a) There is no authority given to any District Consumer Courts or to the National Consumer Court to subject an “interim order” concerning the sale or pulling out of dangerous goods from the market. The full complaint procedure would take months or years to reconcile the issue, but in the interim the consumers may suffer severe loss unless such interim order is approved by the Consumer Courts in appropriate cases.
b) There is no stipulation of constituting and maintain a “Consumer Protection Fund” for shielding and promote consumer rights in Bangladesh. By an amendment in 1980, necessities for such fund were included into the Sri Lankan Consumer Protection Act 1979. In Sri Lanka, the source of such “Consumer Protection Fund” usually come from fines procure by the consumer courts for offences under the Act, profits from sale of goods forfeited under the Act, grants and contributions, and lastly from the budget certified by the parliament for fortification of consumer rights. In Bangladesh, related provision for “Consumer Protection Fund” can be included into the Act.
Food and safety quality control in Bangladesh
Food safety has become a significant topic as consumers in Bangladesh have become sufferer of serious ruination in food. It’s been reported in the media how definite “rogue” restaurants are use dead chicken meat and sweets mixed with substance that pretense health danger. We cannot ignore as this is a matter of life and death. We must maintain assured standards with the intention that consumers are pleased with what they consumed in terms of their quality, standard and hygiene. Even government has to provide all necessary support to maintain the safety of foods. Our constitution also gives importance to food safety.
There are more than a few activities under Bangladesh law for maintaining health and safety standards. Like-
1. Offer better organize of the manufacture and sale of foodstuff for human consumption.
2. Put a stop to the prejudicial activity connecting to the storage, transshipment, movement provide and distribution of food grains. Provide basis for the protection of false statement or information.
3. Institute of Food and Radiation Biology (IFRB) of Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission is mainly involved in food irradiation research and development.
4. Salt iodization and banned non-iodized salt from market, meant at virtual eradication of IDD from the country.
5. e) Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institution (BSTI), the only National Standards body of Bangladesh, is playing an important role in developing and Promoting industrial Standardization. Keeping in view that Standardization, metrology, testing and quality control in the industrial spheres are the basic pre-requisite of the infrastructure necessary for sound economic development of the country, the Government of Bangladesh has established the Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institution (BSTI) with the merger of Bangladesh Standards Institution and the Central Testing Laboratories in 1985 through promulgating.
But none of these practices very well in our country as a result we have to consume those unhealthy unhygienic food products and commodities and suffered for different types of diseases. The authority has been questioned that what are the reasons that you people cant do anything with these laws and acts they said” We do not have enough manpower to carry out this job. So what’s the result? We have all rules and regulations but we do not have enough manpower to implement them.”
4.0 The problems of our country people which making the process slow
4.1 Illiteracy: The majority of the people in Bangladesh we don’t know about the subsistence of their rights as consumer. The key reasons for this is the not have basic education. They can’t reflect up to the rank that they can have such privileges which would give them safety against ruination of food, medicine etc. and the precise to get appropriate service for which they are paying.
4.2 Economic condition: We can’t evade thinking of the economic situation which does not offer the impression fit for consumers who are cautious and demand quality.
4.3 Compromising attitude: Every so often we do cooperate with the quality of goods bought because of our pecuniary limitation. If we are inept of paying the accurate price for the goods we buy, we can’t imagine a soaring set of quality for the same.
These are the miniature fractions of dilemma connected to the consumers. Conversely, there are other troubles too. For instance in, our country there is no separate court for consumers’ rights. As well as the consumers require appropriate power to go to the court to carry action adjacent to those who disobey the consumers’ rights. So, the consumers have to to rely upon the government official apprehensive to carry any useful action against the allege parties. Those supposed parties are also taking benefit of this blurred situation. The fraudulent businessmen tend to establish a good affiliation with dishonest government officials who may help them to defraud and utilize the innocent consumers. Furthermore, the BSTI (Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institute) is overwhelmed with lots of problems similar to it does not have modern paraphernalia and amenities for testing of many products. Besides, the wide-ranging consumers very often query the competence and honesty of the official in the BSTI.
In conclusion, the youthful consumers of Bangladesh are in significant need of having the enrichment of broad consumer protection legislation. Therefore, the government of Bangladesh is essential to endorse a well-known Consumer Protection Act as quickly as possible and move on strictly ensures the effective, efficient carrying out of such legislation. We should always remember that an efficient consumer protection legislation of a population not only protects and promotes the constitutional rights and happiness of its consumers, but it also develop definite socio-economic targets of its macro economy, such as scarcity improvement, capable, fair and transparent market method, good governance and beyond all, socio-economic objectivity for its people.
 Consumer Protection in Bangladesh: Law & Practice by Mizanur Rahman.
 Emrana Ahmed (Senior research fellow of the law development), Article: Protecting consumer rights
 A temporary court order; intended to be of limited duration, usually just until the court has had an opportunity of hearing the full case and make a final order.