Class X Economics Chapter 5 | Consumer Rights | Important Questions
The consumer in the marketplace
1. What is meant by consumer protection?
Protecting consumers from getting exploited by traders in the market is consumer protection.
2. Define consumer.
A consumer is a person who buys goods and services from the marketplace.
3. How are consumers exploited by traders?
Traders want to earn maximum profits and often resort to illegal or unethical means to achieve this. Some of the tactics they employ are adulteration, hoarding and black marketing.
4. Markets do not always work in a fair manner. Explain.
Markets do not work in a fair manner especially when the producers are big companies that have the wealth and power to manipulate markets in various ways.
Sometimes, manufactures spread false information with the objective of attracting more consumers. For example, powder milk is sometimes promoted as better than mother’s milk. Likewise, junk food is sometimes advertised as healthy food.
5. Mention some malpractices used by traders to cheat consumers. What measures can be taken to curb such tendencies?
- Inaccurate weighing
- Sometimes traders use inappropriate weighing scales or other mechanisms to give the buyer less than the specified quantity of something.
- They may add charges that were not mentioned before.
- They may sell adulterated goods and resort to practices such as hoarding and black marketing. They may also sell poor quality goods or services.
- The government should give stringent punishment to those traders who resort to such practices.
- Adulteration not only causes monetary loss to consumers but also affects their health. If it leads to the death of the consumer, the trader who sold the adulterated item should be charged with murder.
- Consumers also need to be proactive. They must know their rights and must not hesitate to exercise them.
6. What is consumer exploitation? How are consumers exploited by traders?
When producers or shopkeepers treat consumers unfairly with the objective of making more profits, it is called consumer exploitation.
Consumers are exploited in various ways.
Sometimes traders weigh less than the specified amount and dupe the customer. For example, using faulty weighing scales, they may sell 800 grams of pulses as 1 kg.
Traders may sell sub-standard goods and make false claims about their durability and quality.
Adulteration, black marketing and hoarding are other unfair practices that traders use to exploit consumers.
7. Which law protects consumers from exploitation?
The Consumer Protection Act (COPRA), 1986 protects consumers from exploitation.
8. Explain the factors responsible for the exploitation of consumers.
The main factors leading to the exploitation of consumers are:
Profit motive of the seller
Sellers often exploit consumers with the objective of making more profit. For example, when selling something, they may weigh less than the specified amount. They may also resort to practices like hoarding, black marketing and adulteration.
Lack of rules and regulations
Consumers often find themselves in a weak position because there are not enough rules to protect them. Many of them are also unaware of their rights and the existence of consumer protection laws.
When there are few and powerful producers, they have tremendous control over the market. It is especially easy for them to exploit consumers who buy in small quantities and are scattered.
1. What major step was taken by the government of India in 1986 to protect consumers?
In 1986, the government of India enacted the Consumer Protection Act or COPRA for the protection of consumers.
2. How did the consumer movement originate in India?
Consumer movement originated in India because there was a need to protect interests of consumers against the unfair and unethical trade practices of traders.
3. Which is the international level consumer organisation?
4. How has the enactment of Consumer Protection Act benefitted Indian consumers?
Consumer Protection Act (COPRA) has benefitted consumers in several ways.
India is one of the countries that have exclusive courts for consumer redressal. Today there are more than 700 consumer groups in the country. About 25 of them are well-organized and recognized for their work.
The consumer movement in India has been quite successful at pressurizing businesses to correct their trade practices. It has also made people aware of their rights as a consumer.
5. What is Consumer International? How did it come into being?
Consumer International is an umbrella body of 220 organizations from 115 countries working with the objective of protecting consumer interests.
In 1985, UNO adopted the UN Guidelines for Consumer Protection. These guidelines were a motivation for nations to adopt measures to protect consumer interests.
Today Consumers International has become the pillar of consumer movement across the world.
1. Which consumer right makes it mandatory for producers to mention MRP of the product?
MRP is mentioned on the packaging under the right to be informed.
2. What are consumer forums?
The consumer protection movement in the country has led to the formation of various organizations called consumer forums or consumer protection councils which create awareness among consumers and teach them how they can file a case in the consumer court.
3. Which products are hallmarked?
Jewellery products are hallmarked.
4. Which consumer right allows a consumer to approach the consumer court for compensation against a trader?
The right to redressal allows a consumer to move the consumer court.
5. What are the three levels of consumer courts?
District level court, state level court and national level court
6. Who are entitled to file a complaint against consumer exploitation?
Consumers who are denied their rights or who suffered any damage due to unfair trade practices can file a complaint against consumer exploitation.
7. What are Agmark, ISI and ISO?
These are words indicating quality. Agmark is a certification mark on agricultural products in India. ISI is a certification mark on consumer goods while ISO certifies the standard of products at the international level.
8. When was the Right To Information Act passed?
The Right To Information Act was passed in October 2005.
9. Mention any two consumer rights
Right to be informed and right to safety
10. Which certification should we look for while buying electronic goods?
We should look for the ISI mark.
11. What information is mentioned on the packaging of a product?
The packaging of a product contains information about the ingredients used, price, batch number, date of manufacture, expiry date and the address of the manufacturer.
12. What is right to represent?
As per the Consumer Protection Act (COPRA) passed by the government of India, consumers have the right to represent themselves in consumer courts.
13. Explain the Right to Information.
Consumers have the right to be informed about the goods and services they purchase. This includes information about the ingredients used, price, batch number, date of manufacture, expiry date and the address of the manufacturer.
14. Which organization develops standards for goods and services in India?
Bureau of Indian standards
15. What is MRP? What is its significance?
MRP stands for Maximum Retail Price.
When we buy a product, we find MRP written on the packaging. The retailer cannot sell the product at more than the MRP given on the packaging. MRP also gives consumers the option to bargain with the retailer and buy at less than the MRP.
16. The Right To Information Act is a major step in consumer protection. Explain.
The Right To Information Act ensures that citizens have access to all the information about the functioning of various government departments.
17. Explain the functions of different consumer courts in India
As per the Consumer Protection Act of 1986, India has a three-tier quasi-judicial machinery at the district, state and national level for redressal of consumer grievances.
Cases involving claims up to Rs. 20 lakhs are heard by the district level court.
The state level court hears cases between Rs. 20 lakhs and Rs. 1 crore.
Cases involving claims exceeding Rs. 1 crore are heard by the national level consumer court.
If a case is dismissed by the district level court, the consumer can first appeal in the state and then the national level court.
18. While buying products what are the facts that consumers should check?
While making a purchase, consumers should read the information given on the packaging. The most important details are the ingredients used, date of manufacture and date of expiry, batch number, price and address of the manufacturer.
When buying medicines, consumers should find direction for safe use and information regarding possible side effects and the risks associated with the administration of that medicine.
While buying clothing, we should find instructions for washing.
It is important to pay special attention to safety while buying many goods and services. For example, a pressure cooker must have a safety valve.
Consumers should also look for the presence of certification marks like ISI, Agmark, Hallmark or ISO as they indicate quality.
19. Why do manufacturers display product information on packaging? How does it benefit consumers?
Manufacturers display product information on the packaging because consumers have the right to be informed of the particulars of the product they are buying.
This benefits the consumers in several ways.
Consumers can complain and ask for replacement if the product proves to be defective or unusable within the expiry period.
The MRP printed on the packaging prevents the seller from selling the product for a higher price.
20. What is standardization? Name some agencies responsible for standardization?
Standardization is the process of developing and implementing technical standards that help to increase the safety, quality or compatibility of the product.
In India there are many agencies responsible for standardization. For example, agencies like ISI, Agmark and Hallmark develop quality standards for various products. They provide logos and certificates that assure the consumer of quality while buying goods and services.
21. What is meant by the Right to Choose? Mention some situations where it is violated.
Right to choose means that any consumer who receives a service in whatever capacity, regardless of their age and gender, has the right to choose whether they want to continue to receive the service.
The right to choose is violated in the following situations.
(a) Gas agencies often insist that consumers should buy the gas stove from them when they get a new connection. This violates the consumers right to choose a stove of their liking.
(b) Sometimes when we buy toothpaste, the shopkeeper may tell us that they will sell the paste only if we buy a toothbrush. This denies our right to choose.
(c) Likewise, sometimes schools insist that we should buy the books only from them. In this case also, our right to choose is denied.
22. Name five rights of the consumer and explain them briefly.
(a) Right to safety
Consumers have the right to be protected against the marketing of goods and services that are hazardous to their life and property. In order to ensure the safety of consumers, producers have to adhere to stringent safety rules and regulations.
(b) Right to be informed
Consumers have the right to be informed about the goods and services they buy. For their information, details such as the price, ingredients, batch number, date of manufacture and expiry and address of the manufacturer are mentioned on the packaging of products.
(c) Right to choose
Every consumer regardless of their age or gender has the right to decide whether they want to continue to use a particular product or service.
(d) Right to seek redressal
Consumers have the right to seek redressal against the unfair trade practices and exploitation. If any damage is done to them, they can seek compensation depending on the degree of damage.
(e) Right to represent
As per the Consumer Protection Act 1986 enacted by the government of India, consumers have the right to represent themselves in consumer courts.
Taking the consumer movement forward
1. In India which day is celebrated as the National Consumers’ Day?
2. Briefly explain the factors that led to the growth of consumer organizations in India.
The consumer movement originated in India as there was an urgent need to protect the buyers from unethical and unfair trade practices.
Acute food shortage, hoarding, black marketing, adulteration and other unfair practices led to consumer movement in its organized form in 1960s.
Until the 1970s, most consumer organizations in India had limited activities and they were confined to writing articles about consumer protection.
Over the years, the range of their activities increased and they started looking into malpractices in ration shops.
Today there are over 700 consumer groups in India and about 20-25 of them are recognized for their work.