The Battle for Consumer Rights Carries on…


World Consumer Rights Day (March 15) is indeed, a means of raising global awareness about consumer rights and needs. Celebrating the day is a chance to demand that the rights of all consumers are respected and protected; and also to protest against social injustices which undermine those rights.

Globally recognized and accredited by the United Nations, it is to be noted that for 40 years Consumers International has run a campaign, uniting the consumer movement and to celebrate the occasion.

Are consumers aware of all rights & responsibilities?

The consumer definitely has a certain responsibility to become an ‘aware’ consumer. And this can lead to changes in the society and would help other consumers to fight the unfair practices.

Are consumers aware of their rights in India?

Consumer rights are considered to be basic human rights, as per the constitution – as a part of the Right to life. But unfortunately, in India, the majority of the consumers are not aware of the rights. The reasons are many – like illiteracy, compromising attitude, having less voice, illegal practices etc.

In India, many laws and principles are there to safeguard the consumers, including Doctrine of Caveat Emptor, Principle of Caveat Vanditor, Traditional Doctrine of OBUS PROBONI, Principle of Respectfulness, Principle of Sovereignty and the most important is Consumer Protection Act 1986. However, even after an available legal framework, enforcement of various consumer protection laws is happens at low levels.

Now, coming to women entrepreneurs, they are closely related to their customers’ needs. In fact, one of the biggest reasons women entrepreneurs are so successful is they are more conscious of their customers’ needs, unlike men. The big difference is that women shop for ‘price’ of course, but what is just as important is the ‘buying experience’. If the service is poor or they can’t relate to the employees then it doesn’t matter what it costs. It’s all about ‘word of mouth’ and the customer loyalty loop.

Besides, what are the rights that a women entrepreneur should be aware of as far she is concerned, in her role as a çonsumer? Here are some Consumer Rights that she must put in place so that she can perform her duties as a businesswoman perfectly and easily.
• Right to safety
• Right to choose
• Right to be informed
• Right to consumer education
• Right to be heard
• Right to seek redressal
• Consumer Protection Act

As a consumer, she has certain responsibilities too. Some of the consumer responsibilities are:

• Be critically aware
• Be involved
• Be organized
• Be responsible to the environment
• Practice sustainable consumption

Adhering to these, can really bring about a move to strengthen women’s entrepreneurship. Plus, all the present development programmes and policies should be planned properly and implemented effectively – in order to attain self-sufficiency and self-reliance.

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