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SYNOPSIS

"ROLE OF CONSUMER FORUM FOR AWARENESS REALETED TO CONSUMER PROTECTION"


Chapter - I 1 Introduction :

Each consumer aims at maximisation of his satisfaction with his given in come. Wants are unlimited, resources are limited and they have alternative uses. In such situation each consumer is faced with problems of choice. Consumer awareness with regard to the availability of goods prices and quality is a must to attain the very basic objective of maximization of satisfaction the sources of awareness are the environment in which a consumer is living, level of education availability of information through news papers, advertising agencies, T.V. channels fellow members in his family, friends and relatives and the legal environment curiosity to know all these is limited by the desire of the consumer resources at his disposal and ready to these resources.

1.1

Meaning of Consumer Protection :

We are familiar with the fact the consumers have certain basic rights like the right to safety, right to be informed right to choose and the right to be heard. But do we always remember these rights while buying goods? Perhaps not. But even if we are aware of these rights sellers very often take advantage of our Position and supply goods with are defective or harmful or unsafe and cause injury.

These are some instances of consumer helplessness even if he is a wise buyer. So, to safeguard the interest of consumers it is felt the some measures are necessary to help the common-man. Thus consumer Protection refer to the steps necessary to be taken or measures required to be accepted to protect consumers from business malpractices. It may be regarded as a movement like consumerism.

1.1.1 Structure of Consumer Forum : DISTRICT D FORUM

Original jurisdiction Up to Rs. 5,00,000

Appellate Authority for District forum Revision

STATE COMMISSION

Original jurisdiction Over Rs. 5,00,000 Up to Rs. 20,00,000

Appellate Authority Over state commission Revisional jurisdiction

NATIONAL COMMISSION

Original jurisdiction Over Rs. 5,00,000 Up to Rs. 20,00,000

Supreme Court Final appeal

The maximum time limit for a claim to be field under CPA is 2 years from the date of occurrence of the cause of action. There is no court fees to be paid to file a compoint in a consumer forum/commission. 2

Further, a complaint/opposite party can present his case on his own without the help of a lawyer.

As per the consumer Protection, 1987 a complaint field in the consumer forum/commission shall be adjudicated within a period of 90 days from the date of notice by opposite party and within 150 days if it requires analysis or testing of commodities.

1.1.2 History and growth of consumer movement of India :

India has an ancient history of consumer protection. Consumer Protection was part of ancient culture and formed the care of its administration. But the introduction of boundless commercialization of activities eclipsed the old rich heritage. As in Europe, in India also the origin of the consumer movement was in the form of consumer Cooperatives.

India has an ancient history of consumer Protection. Consumer Protection was part of its ancient culture and formed the care of its administration Kautilys Arthasasthra was the basic law of ancient India and the same was strengthened with provisions to Protect consumers. Sale of commodities was organized in such a way that general public was not put to any trobble. If high Profits (for the ruler) put general public in trobble then that trade activity was stopped immediately. For traders, Profit limit was to be fixed. Even for services timely response was prescribed, e.g. for sculpturist, carpenter etc. rules for the protection of consumer interest were given.

1.2

Consumer Awareness :

Consumer awareness means educating consumer about their rights and duties so that they are well conversant with the laws that Protect their in terests and restrict traders to exploit them. It includes knowing what ingredients are included in a product and whether or not any of these ingredients may be potentially harmful to health, also figuring out whether or not the cost of a product is warth it or if the consumer would get the same or near the same value for their money even if he buys a cheaper brand.

1.2.1 Needs of consumer awareness : 1. Maximisation of consumer welfare Awareness facilitates right decisions. It maximizes consumer welfare.

2. The need for consumer welfare was felt because, out of their selfishness, both the manufacturers and traders can go to any extent. They can charge high Prices and scope to underweight and under measurement methods.

3. The need for consumer awareness was felt all the more when some unsurupulous traders began play with the health of the nation by including in adulteration of edible oils, milk, butter, ghee etc. Even duplicate medicines were introduced. Consumer awareness improves quality of life of the people and improves social welfare.

1.3

Consumer Behaviur : Consumer behaviur may be defined as the decision process and

physical Activity individuals engage in when evaluating, acquiring using or disposing of goods and services. Viewing consumer behavior in such a board context suggests it is actually a subset of haman behaviur, that is factor affecting individuals in their daily lives also influence their purchase activities. Internal influences, such as in our other capacities, in fact, it is often difficult to draw. A distinct line between consumer related behaviur and other aspects of Human behaviur. Consumer : The term Consumer more generally refers to anyone engaging in any of the activities used in our definition of consumer behavior, therefore a customer is defined in terms of a specific firm while a consumer is not. The terms Customer is typically used to refer to same who Regularly Purchase from a particular store or company.

1.3.1 General Problems faceses by consumer and their Reaction : Consumers may be deceived in various ways by unscrupulous businessmen including traders, dealers, Producers and manufactures as well as service Providers. Some of the following unfair Practices must have come to your notice sometime or the other.

1. Adulternation that is, adding something inferior to the Product being sold. That is a practice we come across in the case of cereals, spices, tea leaves edible oil, petore etc. 2. Sale of spurious products that is selling something of no value instead of the real product. This is often found in the case of medicines and drugs or health care Products. 3. Use of false weights and measures is another malpractice which some traders adopt while selling the goods. 4. Sale of duplicates that is goods that is goods that indicates a mark which shown it is of superior quality than what it actually is. 5. Hoarding and black marketing is another Problem that consumer often face. 6. Tie in sales Buyers of durable consumer goods are sometimes required to buy some other goods as a pre-condition to sale or may be required to pay after sales service charges for one year in advance. 7. Offering gifts having no additional value or coupons to collect a gift on the next purchase of some Product are practices aimed at alluring consumers to buy a product. 8. Misleading advertisement is yet another practice by which consumers are deceived. Such advertisements falsely represent a

product or service to be of superior quality, grade or standard or falsely asserts the need for or usefulness of a Product or service.

Sale of sub-standard goods Sale of goods which do not conform to prescribed quality standards particularly for safety.

1.3.2 Consumer Reaction : Consumers have the social responsibility of exposing the manufacture/ Supplier or the service Provider for resorting to illegal trade Practices. Unethical nothing like Goods once sold will never be take back are in sharp contrast to the Practice in some of the developed Countries, where the sellers declare. In case you are not fully satisfied with our Product, you can bring the same to us within a month for either replacement or return of your money. This is the result of consumer consciousness. Consumer have to realize their role and importance. The consumer movements can be winner movements only with our active involvement by knowing our rights and enforcing them. Formation of consumer associations in every town would be the first step in this path. It requires a voluntary effort involving the participation of one and all. 1.4 Need for consumer Protection :

1. The necessity of adopting measures to protect of consumer arises mainly due to their helpless position and the unfair business Practices. No doubt consumers have the basic right to be protected from the loss or injury coursed on account of defective goods and deficiency of services. However consumers are unable to make use of their rights due to lock of awareness and ignorance. For example- as consumers we have the right to choose the goods of right from a variety of similar goods available in the market. But often we fail to the right choice

because of misleading advertisements by which we are carried away and substandard goods.

2. Under certain circumstances, we are helpless in the sense of our inability of verify the quality of products. The clever shop keeper can deceive us by his persuasive wards. If the date of expiry on a strip of medicinal tablets is not legible, we may be in a hurry have the desired effect, we may to the doctor again and request him to prescribe some other medicine, we forget that the medicine we bought might not have had the effect as we were supplied the medicine after its date of expiry. Often we are guided by some of our beliefs without any basis. For instance many of us believe that Higher price indicate better quality and so do not mind paying higher price for a product if the salesmen recommends it to be of good quality Again, it is a common belief that imported goods are inevitable of a superior quality so if there is a printed label of a mark that shows a product is made in a foreign country, we may buy it at a higher Price without verifying its place of manufacture.

1.4.1 Role of Government and Non-Governmental Organisations : Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) are those associations of people which aim at promoting the welfare of the public without any profit motive. They are voluntary bodies having a constitution and rules of their own and are free from government interference. They deped on donations and partly on government assistance. NGOs dealing with consumer problems are known as consumer associations or consumer organisations.

The role of NGOs has become increasingly more significant over the last two decades. There are now more than 800 such organisations in India. These organisation are registered under the Society Registration Act or the Companies Act or as Charitable Trust. NGOs have undertaken various activities as part of the consumer movement. They perform several functions, like : (i) Create awareness about consumer rights and educate the general public about consumer problems and remedies through seminars, workshops and training programmes.

(ii)

Provide legal aid to consumer by way of assistance in seeking legal remedy.

(iii)

Undertake advocacy of consumerss point of view as representative members of consumer protection councils and others official boards.

(iv)

Arrange comparative testing of consumer product through their own testing apparatus or accredited laboratories so as to evaluate the relative qualities of competing brands and publish the test results for the benefit of consumers to become informed buyers.

(v)

Public periodicals and journals to disseminate information among readers about consumer problems, legal reporting and other emerging matters of interest. Most of these periodicals do not accept advertisements from business firms.

(vi)

Make suggestions and recommend steps which government authorities should consider in policy making and administrative measures adopted in the interest of consumers.

(vii) Some NGOs have successful used Public Interest Litigation (PIL) to enforce consumer rights in several cases. In other words, NGOs have field cause in law courts in the interest of the general public, not for any individual.

1.4.2 Legal protection to Consumers : A number of laws have been passed by the Government of India over the years to protect the interest of consumers. A brief outline of the purpose of these laws in given below. (i) Agriculture Products (Grading and Marketing) Act, 1937 : This act provides for grading and certifying quality standard of agriculture commodities which are allowed to be stamped with AGMARK seal of the Agricultural marketing department of the Government.

(ii)

Industries (Development and Regulation) Act, 1951 : This act provides for control over production and distribution of manufactured goods. According to this Act, the central government may order investigation of any industry, if it is of the opinion that there has been substantial fall in the volume of production, or a marked decline in the quality of product, or any unreasonable rise in price. After due investigation, the government may issue directions to set things right. If the directions are not acted upon, the government may take over the concerned undertakings.

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(iii)

Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954 : This Act provides for serve punishment for adulteration of food articles. In the case of sale of adulterated food which is injurious to health and likely to cause death, life imprisonment with a minimum fine of Rs. 3000 may be payable. Food inspectors are appointed and they have powers to lift samples and send them for analysis. Penalties are also provided under the act for offiences committed by persons with regard to manufacture, import, storage, sale and distribution of adulterated food articles.

(iv)

Essential Commodities Act, 1955 : Under this Act, the Government has power to declare any commodity as essential in the public interest. Thereby the government can control the production, supply and distribution of the trading of such commodities. It also provides for action against anti-social activities of profitters, hoarders and black marketers.

(v)

The Standard of Weights and Measures Act, 1956 : This Act provides for the use of standard weights and standard measures of length throughout the country. Meter has been specified as the primary unit for measuring length, and Kilogram as the primary unit for measuring weight. Before this act came into force, different system of weights and measures were used in different parts of the country like Pound, Chhatak and Seer as weights, yard, inch and foot for length etc. These differences provides opportunities for traders to exploit the consumers.

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(vi)

Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Act, 1969 : Under the provisions of this Act, as amended in 1983 and 1984, consumers and consumer groups can exercise their right of redressal by filing complaints relating to restrictive and unfair trade practices. The government has constituted the MRTP commission which is empowered to deal with consumer complaints after due investigation and enquiry. The Commission has power to award compensation for any loss or injury suffered by consumers.

(vii) Prevention of Black-marketing and Maintenance of Essential supplies Act, 1980 : The primary objective of this act is to provide for detention of persons with a view to prevention of black-marketing and maintenance of supplies of commodities essential to the community. The maximum detention for persons acting in any manner against the intention of the act can be imprisonment upto 6 months.

(viii) Bureau of Indian Standard Act, 1986 : The Bureau of Indian Standard has been set up under this Act, replacing the Indian Standards Institution (ISI) to protect and promote consumer interest. It has two major activities : formulation of quality standards for goods and their certification through the BIS certification marks scheme by which manufactures are permitted to use the standardization mark (ISI) on their products after due verification of conformity with prescribed quality standards of safety and performance. The Bureau has set up a consumer affairs department to create quality consciousness among ordinary consumers. There is also a public grievances cell to which 12

consumers can make complaint about the quality of products carrying ISI mark.

(ix)

Consumer Protection Act, 1986 : This Act provides for consumer protection more comprehensively than any other law. Consumers can seek legal remedy for a wide range of unfair practices not only with respect to goods but also for deficiency in services like banking, insurance, financing, transport, telephone, supply of electricity or other energy, housing, boarding & lodging, entertainment, amusement etc. This Act also includes provision for the establishment of consumer protection councils at the centre and the state. For the settlement of consumers disputes, the act has provided for a semi-judicial system. It consists of District Form, State Commission and National Commission for redressal of consumer disputes. These may be regarded as consumer.

1.5

Need and Importance of Research study : The reason to select this study arise when I myself observe that

consumers are not aware of their rights and responsibilities can protect themselves effectively. Many people are ignorant of their rights to get protected against the exploitation by so many others. Consumers by definitions include all citizens who are by large the biggest group, who are affected by almost all government Public or private decisions. The most important step in consumer education is awareness of consumer rights. Consumer education is incomplete without the responsibilities and duties of consumers and this influences individual behavior to a great extent. With the increasing changes in economic conditions, the children especially are

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becoming young consumers at an early age. People must learn alternatives of conserving and saving rather than buying and consuming. Consumers strongest and the most Precious right which he keeps to the last, is the refusal by buy and withdraw the patronage ( laj{k.k ,oa

leFkZu) from the seller who always craves for it because, without it, he has
hone to sell. Consumer forumsare playing vital role to protect the rights of consumers. 1.6 (i) (ii) Objective of study : To study the Awareness consumers about consumer forum. To study role of Consumer Beheviour related to different types of Problems. (iii) To Indentify the Practical Problems faced by different types of consumer. (iv) To study the role of consumer awareness about Consumer Protection Act. (v) To study the Consumer Forum process related to consumer Protection.

1.7

Hypothesis :

(i)

Ho1 There will be no association between the consumer awareness and consumer Forum.

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(ii)

Ho2 There will be no association between the consumer awareness and consumer Problems.

(iii)

Ho3 There will be no association between consumer Beheviour and consumer Protection Act.

(iv)

Ho4 There will be no association between practical Problems and different types of consumer.

(v)

Ho5 There will be no association between the consumer Problems and consumer Protection.

Chapter - II 2 Review of Literature :

1. Neelkanta and Anad (1992) found that people prefer to absorb and endure the wrong done to than rather than fight against injustice. This is because consumers do not know the ways and means of facing them confidently. At present the consumer movement in India in its infacy. Vast majority of the people are noteven aware of consumerism aware of consumerism as a movement closely connected with the protection of their interest. Many constitutional Provisions have been make by government to Protect the consumers. Until and unless the consumers avail of these Provision the Protection of consumer becamdes

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intevitable. There is a great needs to make them aware of their right and responsibilities.

2. Voice, the voluntary organization in the interest of consumer, education was founded by energetic young students & teachers of the Delhi University in 1983 in Delhi to fight unfair trade practice. It gives consumers information about the benefit of short coming of various products and brands and enable them to make informed choices. With Dr. Shri Ram Khanna as the Managing Trustee it has launched comparative testing. Its first attempt was directed at comparative testing of well known brands of colour TVs.

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Chapter - III 3 Research Methodalogy For making the research effective and meaning full the researcher will use a proper method of study for accomplishing the objectives of the study. The research methodology goes under the several steps which may be described through the following steps. 3.1 Research Area :

The present study will be confined to role of consumer forum for awareness related to consumer protection in district Bijnor and Gwalior. Due to lack of consumer awareness regarding consumer forum and consumer protection in present study the negative and positive impact of consumer forum consumer awareness and protection will be studied.

3.2

Universe and Population :

For the present study, all the human being from the age of 20 or more than 20 years from the city Bijnor (U.P.) and Gwalior (M.P.) will be the population of the study.

3.3

3.4

Variable of Research study : Independent : Education, Age, Economic Conditions type of families will be treated as independent variables.

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Dependent : Awareness among consumers will be treated as dependent variable.

3.5

Sample Distributions : 600 samples will be selected from the population. Purposive sampling technique will be used for collection samples for the study.

3.6

Selection of Tool for Data collection (i) (ii) (iii) Questionnaires Interview Schedules

3.7

Statistical Analysis of Data : Mean, Medium, X2 test etc.

3.8

Working Definitions Collection of Data The necessary data for the study will be collected from primary sources. The primary data will be collected from the statistical unit on pre-tested schedules specially structure for the purpose. The Primary data will be confined on particulars region of the study area.

3.9

Analysis of Data : The following techniques will be used for the analysis and

interpretation of data. (i) (ii) 4 Tabular Analysis Diagrammatic and Graphical representation Summary and Conclusion 18

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