World Consumer Rights Day
If you check the site of Consumers International, you would find, this year, it has decided the theme for
World Consumer Rights Day as ‘Tracking Plastic Pollution’. It has selected this theme in order to raise awareness
among people to reduce the usage of plastic items and adopt practices or habits that would help
to maintain the natural environment. However… the question lies - what is “World Consumer Rights Day”?
Consumers are none other than the customers who are at the receiving end. The products prepared by the manufacturers, when reach the end of the chain, they purchase them to experience the services. Hence, the recipients always have to pay the price, even if the product turns out to be bad. The ‘price’ is restricted to not only money, but also other things like health or lives. As an integral part of the creator and receiver ecosystem, the consumers at the receiving end have the rights to safeguard their interests.
World Consumer Rights day is celebrated every year, worldwide to uphold the basic rights of the customers.
As per the Indian constitution, consumers have the following rights –
1. Right to Safety
2. Right to be Informed
3. Right to Choose
4. Right to be Heard
5. Right to Seek redressal
5. Right to Seek redressal
In United States, a list of laws at federal and state level is present to control the consumer affairs. Consumer Protection Act 1987 and Consumer Rights Act 2015 are the primary consumer protection law. If we move from nation to nation, consumer protection laws could sound different but they have the same tone and they speak in volumes for the consumer rights.
President John F Kennedy had inspired this movement through his message he had delivered to US Congress on 15th March 1962. He was the first world leader to raise the concern. Later Anwar Fazal, a Consumer Right activist, proposed the idea of observing it on 15th March, worldwide, every year.
The first World Consumers Day was celebrated on 15th April 1983. It was observed by the Consumers International. If we look up in the official website of the Consumers International, it is a not-for-profit organization, which has members from consumers around the world. A combination of more than 200 member organisations in more than 100 countries, the organization aims to cement the protection of the customers by empowering them and removing the hurdles from companies or governments. It is making sure that the government bodies are working more towards creating policies that are more consumer-friendly and the corporations are building products and providing services that are more consumer-centric.
Like the current year, World Consumers Rights Day has got associated with a theme for last seven years.
|YEAR||THEME OF WORLD CONSUMERS RIGHTS DAY|
|2021||Tackling Plastic Pollution|
|2020||The Sustainable Consumer|
|2019||Trusted Smart Products|
|2018||Making Digital Market Places Fairer|
|2017||Better Digital World|
|2016||Antibiotics Off the Menu|
|2014||Fix Our Phone Rights|
Stats in India
India is a home to 1.2 billion population. Needless to say, largest numbers
of consumers come from India. Hence, the probability of number of cases is high.
As per factly.in, the below picture can roughly provide the idea of rising consumer complaints in India till 2016.
As per data available on NCRDRC’s (NATIONAL CONSUMER DISPUTES REDRESSAL COMMISSION) website, the percentage of disposal is observed from the below table.
|Sl. No.||Name of Agency||Cases filed since inception||Cases disposed of since inception||Cases Pending||% of total Disposal|
The entire data can be found by following - http://ncdrc.nic.in/stats.html
The percentage of disposal may seem to be good yet the consumer education should not be considered as a trivial matter. Over the years the consumption has increased by leaps and bounds.
Hence, it is high time that the level of awareness should be strengthened
in order to raise the quality of the products and services.
By becoming aware ourselves is not sufficient. The best way is to participate and observe this day by informing and educating others about the rights we possess as consumers.
It has been correctly said by John F Kennedy, in his message –
“All of us are consumers. All of us deserve the right to be protected against fraudulent or misleading advertisements and labels – the right to be protected against unsafe or worthless drugs and other products – the right to choose from a variety of products at competitive prices…”
(We can read the whole message by following this link - https://www.jfklibrary.org/asset-viewer/archives/JFKPOF/037/JFKPOF-037-028 )