Definition Consumer awareness is making the consumer aware of his/her rights. Consumer awareness it a marketing term. It means that consumers note or are aware of products or services, its characteristics and the other marketing P's (place to buy, price,and promotion). Usually commercials and ads increase consumer awareness, as well as "word of mouth"(a comment from someone you know about a product or service).
- Need : we need it so we will not be misled by producers,it explains if what we buy is worth toour money.. nd not harmful to us and to environment . Many people are ignorant of their rights to get protected against the exploitation by somany others. So when there is a forum for such redress of grievances there seems to beno such exploitation by many; and becomes a rare one. So in order to get a clear pictureof the level of exploitation of consumers, the awareness is required.
- Role of producers proper labeling, full information, health warnings, handling information, expiration date,etc. eep to requirements, norms, standards label products according requirements, providing true facts They have to produce and deliver the goods/services of right qualityat right price at right time at right place at right quantity with right faceIf they are providing a service they should carry it out with due skill and care. They mustalso make sure that any materials they provide as part of this service are fit for the purpose. It is also illegal for a supplier to cut off, or threaten to cut off, supply to areseller (wholesale or retail) because they have been discounting goods or advertisingdiscounts below prices set by the supplier.
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Some of the common methods of exploitation are:
- Under weight and under measurements –not measured or weighed correctly.
- Substandard Quality – defective home appliances and medicines beyond expirydate
- High prices—charging above the retail price
- Duplicate Articles—selling fake items in the name of the original
- Adulteration and Impurity—is done to get higher profits
- Lack of safety Devices—absence of inbuilt safe guards in appliances
- Artificial Scarcity—hoarding and black marketing
- False and Incomplete Information—misleading information on quality, durability,and safety.
- Unsatisfactory after sales Service—high cost items like electronics and carsrequire constant and regular service.
- Rough behavior and Undue conditions—harassment in getting LPG connection or a telephone connection.
Factors causing exploitation of Consumers:
- Limited Information— providing full and correct information will help in thechoice
- Limited Supplies— when goods and services are in short supply then price shootsup
- Limited Competition. — single producer may manipulate the market in terms of price and stocks.
- Low Literacy—i lliteracy leads to exploitation.
Hence Consumer Awareness isessential. Rise of consumer Awareness Kautilya was one of the earliest to write in his Arthashastra about the need for Consumer awareness and protection. With the growth of private sector there is a greater need for discipline and regulation of the market. Consumers must be aware of the sale and purchase of goods, the health and security aspects also. Ensuring the safety of food itemssold in the market is essential these days. Legal measures for consumer safety and consumer awareness must be uniform, andtransparent in terms of prices, quality of goods, and stocks.
Consumers must have thetools to combat malpractices and protect their rights. Rights and Duties of Consumers As codified under the Indian laws the consumers have the following rights:
- Right to safety—to protect against hazardous goods.
- Right to be informed—about price, quality, purity.
- Right to choose—access to a variety of goods and services at competitive prices.
- Right to be heard—consumers interest and welfare must be taken care of.
- Right to seek redressal—protection against unfair trade practicesand settlinggenuine grievances.
- Right to consumer education.
Knowledge about goods and issues related toconsumers.
- Get a bill for every important purchase and also the Warranty card
- Check the ISI mark or Agmark on the goods.
- Form consumer awareness groups4. Make a complaint on genuine grievances.
- Consumers must know to exercise their rights.
A separate department of consumer affairs wasset up at the state and central government. A three tier system of consumer courts at the National, State and District levels were set up. These agencies have done good work byhandling lakhs of cases.
Public Distribution System .
To protect the poor from price rise and black marketing the government food security tothe poor by supplying essentials through the ration or Fair price shops.
Standardisation of Products .
These are done to assure the quality of products.
The ISI stamp on goods is placed by theBureau of Indian standards. This caters to industrial and consumer goods. These goodscan be trusted to confirm to specific standards. Agmark is meant for Agricultural products. At the International level the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) locatedin Geneva sets common standards. The FAO and WHO provide food standards. 4. Legal formalities for filing a complaint .The complaint can be written on plain paper. The supporting documents like the warrantycard must be attached. A lawyer is not required. We can argue our case
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