The setting up of a consumer forum is meant to offer relief to consumers and safeguard their interests from unfair market practices like frauds, adulteration and also ensure a redressal mechanism and a legal structure to properly address consumer complaints.
Consumer rights are not a new concept and have a long history. The practice of customer redressal is followed in many countries and societies. The first instance of protection of customer’s rights can be read from the Old Testament of the Bible which mentions a form of customer protection. Customer rights also find a mention in the Code of Hammurabi.
The earliest movement for the protection of consumers took off in the United States, which serves as the base for development of monopoly and oligopoly market structure. The primary consumer organizations took off in Denmark in the year 1947 and Great Britain in the year 1955. The government created the consumer council to safeguard consumer rights and employs a system where customers can express themselves on issues related to traders and retailers.
However, the real change came with the implementation of the Single European Act; a modified form of the treaty of Rome. The Act solidifies the role of economic and social committees who are given the power to safeguard the interests of consumers.
Over the years, some important changes were made to the above-mentioned legislation which paved the way for a wider consumer policy. But, despite these additions, it still lacked a solid foundation which focused on consumer protection.
Want to know more on Investment Planning? We at IndianMoney.com will make it easy for you. Just give us a missed call on 022 6181 6111 to explore our unique Free Advisory Service. IndianMoney.com is not a seller of any financial products. We only provide FREE financial advice/education to ensure that you are not misguided while buying any kind of financial products.
SEE ALSO: Consumer Rights
In the United States, the Government has enacted certain guidelines to prevent degradation of market standards and protect the rights of consumers. To check the concentration of power and its effect on economic development, the Sherman Act was passed in the year 1890. The Act declared every contract which restricts trade as illegal. The Federal Trade Commission act and Clayton Act were passed in the year 1914, to overcome certain monopolistic and restrictive trade practices.
Some essential steps were taken by the government of the United States which shaped the Consumer Protection Act in the year 1962. A Consumer Bill of rights was passed and the main elements of the bill were as follows:
Consumer Protection Laws were enacted after the Second World War. A series of Acts were passed and enacted between the years 1948 to 1973, like the Monopolies and Restrictive Practices Enquiry and Controls Act, 1948 amended by the Monopolies and Restrictive Practices Act, 1953, the Restrictive Trade Practices Act, 1968; the Resale Price Act, 1964; the Monopolies and Mergers Act, 1965 and the Fair Trading Act, 1973 to curb business malpractices and ensure quality products and services to customers.
The above mentioned acts helped in developing a new and comprehensively organized market environment. The act not only applies to traders and consumers, but is also applicable to other entities like business, professionals, nationalized industries and public undertakings with the aim to empower business and consumers.
The anti-monopoly Act was enacted in Germany in the year 1957 and was also known as the Act against Restraint of Competition. There have been a number of amendments to this act. It doesn’t ban monopolies, but states that such practices cannot be used to harm other people.
In the year 1985 the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted guidelines to protect consumers from fraud and cheating. These guidelines were adopted to provide a standard framework for all nations, particularly for developing countries, that could be used in modifying and strengthening consumer protection policies and legislation to protect consumers and also promote international cooperation in this field.
The objective of the guidelines adopted by U.N is discussed below:
The government should make an attempt to ensure essential goods are offered to consumers, giving due regard to both price and quality.
SEE ALSO: Consumer Protection Laws in India
The process of regulating markets and unfair trade practices, exists from the Vedic period. We find a mention on the laws on weights and measures in Arthashastra written by Kautilya. Manu Smriti contains punishments for adulteration in measures and weights. Provisions with regard to sale and purchase transactions are the essence of Yajnavalkya-Samhita, wherein rules have been laid for safeguarding interests of the purchasers and provides him time to evaluate the utility of goods purchased and allows the return of goods found unsuitable or unworthy along with pricing policy and rules on profit sharing.
We also find mention of laws relating to consumer rights in the medieval period. The ancient Hindu codes and the Holy Quran have laws to safeguard ad protect consumers from market malpractices.
After independence, the government focused heavily on the subject of consumer rights and devoted time to frame the laws related to consumer rights. The government wanted to ensure that customers are not subject to business malpractices and make sure they are satisfied with the goods and products purchased.
Listed below are some of the consumer laws to prevent unfair and obnoxious market practices and protect consumers:
The Consumer Protection Act was enacted in the year 1986, with the aim to shield customers against market malpractices and provide a quicker and simpler solution to consumer grievances. The law is effective in dealing with the problems faced by customers. The law is an attempt to diminish the helplessness of customers against powerful and dominant traders and retailers, merchants and businessman and prevent hoarding and black marketing and enacting rules to provide commodities at fair prices.
The Act seeks to promote and protect the interests of consumers against deficiencies and defects in goods or services. It also aims to secure the rights of a consumer against unfair trade practices, which may be practiced by manufacturers and traders. The Act applies to all goods and services, unless specifically exempted by the Union Government and covers all sectors, whether private, public, or co-operative.
Listed below are the basic rights of the customers which include:
The consumer protection act establishes a legal system for safeguarding the rights and interests of the consumers. Under the consumer protection act, every district has at least one consumer forum to address consumer related disputes. The act provides authority to such bodies for providing relief to the consumers/ traders who has been cheated and award appropriate compensation to the victim.
Above the district forum comes the State Redressal Commission. At the center we have National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission in New Delhi. Cases involving claims of Rs 5 Lakh must be filed with the district consumer forum courts and cases where the claim involves an amount between Rs 5 Lakh and Rs 20 Lakh must be filed with the state commission. Cases involving claims of more than Rs 20 Lakh must be filed with the National Consumer Court.
Have a complaint against any company? IndianMoney.com's complaint portal Iamcheated.com can help you resolve the issue. Just visit IamCheated.com and lodge your complaint. If you want to post a review on any company you can post it on Indianmoney.com review and complaint portal IamCheated.com.
Be Wise, Get Rich
This is to inform that Suvision Holdings Pvt Ltd ("IndianMoney.com") do not charge any fees/security deposit/advances towards outsourcing any of its activities. All stake holders are cautioned against any such fraud.