Protecting consumer rights

Stern action must be taken against fraudsters

Published : 31 Jul 2022 08:45 PM

It is good news that in recent times, the number of complaints with the Directorate of National Consumer Rights Protection (DNCRP) against consumer rights violations has seen a boost which certainly reflects the increasing awareness among the consumers about their rights.

According to DNCRP data, the national consumer rights body received a total of 14,654 complaints in fiscal year 2021. Some 9,019 complaints were lodged against businesses like restaurants, retail chain shops, as well as e-commerce and telecom service providers in FY18. In FY17, the number was 6,140. 

However such an increasing number of complaints do not indicate that the situation of consumer rights in the country has worsened, rather it reflects the increasing awareness among the consumer about their rights.

We have consumer rights protection law-2009 in place through which we can file complaints against the treacherous service providers. There was a time when our constitution had no assimilation to safeguard the interest of the consumers.

The government has to reinforce its market 

vigilance and the monitoring 

process should be equipped 

with adequate manpower 

and resources

 There was no scope for the consumers to address their complaints. The country first came up with the law in 2009. Following the law the Directorate of National Consumer Rights (DNCR) was incorporated to protect consumers’ interest and ensure fair and transparent services in trading of goods and services. 

However, the Consumers’ Right Protection Act, 2009, and other laws regarding the protection of consumers’ rights have loopholes. The current system of legal protection for consumers is inadequate and outdated. Hence, the government, of late, has planned to amend the ‘Consumers’ Right Protection Act, 2009’ to strengthen the law with the provision of doubling the punishment. Also, some new sectors, including e-commerce, will be added to the law.

Protection of consumer rights empowers the consumer and makes them more confident. Thus it helps boost competition and spur economic growth. In this regard, there is a need to formulate a competition law in order to increase competitiveness among businesses so that consumers around the country can avail quality goods and services at fair prices. On the other hand, the government should take harsher stand against the unscrupulous traders. 

The government has to reinforce its market vigilance and the monitoring process should be equipped with adequate manpower and resources. Last but not least, food adulteration and price hike of essential commodities without any valid reason are two important aspects that should be reflected in our endeavours towards protecting the right of the consumers.