Millennium Post

A harried consumer tale

Did your mobile phone not live up to its claim of ‘connecting’ people? Angry and upset, you decide to knock at the doors of a consumer court. Result? Years go by and joining in the queue are thousand
others with you!

The point of citing this instance is not to emphasise on the misleading claims and exaggerated promises. That is a separate story all together. The reason is to show how consumers routinely write to various consumer courts in the country to seek justice against companies whose products they find unsatisfactory, but often, the complaints disappear into some galactic space and very rarely elicit a response.
Consumerism, importance of consumers, increasing awareness among consumers are some of the important milestones in the development of consumer affairs in India today. By understanding the importance of it, there is an urgent need to remember that this is a violation of two rights that we have as consumers – the right to be heard (to be assured that consumer’s interests receive due
consideration at appropriate forums) and the right to seek redressal against unfair trade practices or
unscrupulous exploitation. According to data released by the National Consumer Disputes Redressal
Commission (NCDRC), over 3.5 lakh cases are pending at various consumer courts as of 21 December 2012. Of these, nearly 2.5 lakh are with district consumer forums, 93,839 with state forums and 10,230 with NCDRC. This, when a large section of the population just don’t bother to file complaints at all, unwilling to go through the hassle of fighting big firms and companies.

In continuation, some state forums have also registered a significant increase in the number of pending cases last year. Go down to the districts and the story gets worse! Statistics clearly reflect that the system is working at very slow pace.

Considering the present scenario, what must be the need of the hour? One, appearances may be deceptive, so never go by how attractive a product looks. Two, one must be vigilant enough to protect oneself from any wrong doing. Three, purchasing products only after a complete scrutiny has been done. Such measures and the like can probably get us rid of the hassle!
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