Phillip Kotler –
“ Consumerism social movement seeking to augment the rights and powers of buyers in relation to sellers. ”
Cravers and Hills
“ Consumerism is a social force within the environment designed to aid and protect the consumers by exerting legal, moral and economic pressure on business. ”
Need for consumerism –
There is a need for social and ethical forces exerting pressure on business environment to safeguard the consumers from -:
•Dangerous and inferior merchandise
•False or misleading advertisements
•Unfair trade practices
•Monopolistic and restrictive trade
•Denied after sale service
•Duplicate or sub-standard goods due to exploitation of consumers by businessmen.
Rights of a customer →
→ Right to safety – right to be protected against hazardous goods. Goods should meet short and long term needs and interest.
→ Right to be informed – right to be informed about the quality, quantity, potency, purity and price of goods to protect consumers against unfair trade practices.
→ Right to choose – it means right to be assured of satisfactory quality and services at a fair price in case of monopoly. It includes right to basic goods and services consumers are protected when given access to variety of goods and services at competitive prices.
→ Right to be heard – It means that the consumer’s interests will receive due consideration at appropriate forums. It also includes the right to be represented in various forums formed to consider the consumers welfare.
→ Right to seek redressal – It ensures consumers to seek redressed against unfair trade practices or exploitation and includes right to settlement of the genuine grievances of the consumer.
→ Right to consumer education – It means the right to acquire the knowledge and skill to be an informed consumer throughout life.
Consumerism in India
The governments as well as voluntary organizations have taken a number of measures to protect consumer interest.
(i) Legislative measures – Government has enacted above 50 laws which are in favor of consumers. It empowers the government to control the production, supply, price, quality, conditions for sale and nature of trade. Few of them are –
- Indian Contract Act, 1872
- Sale of Goods Act, 1930
- Prevention of food Adulteration Act, 1954
- Essential Commodities Act, 1955
- Consumer Protection Act, 1986
(ii) Development of public sector – It took serious measures to set up an efficient Public Distribution System (PDS).
Voluntary Organizations –
1. The Indian Consumer Council
2. CAG, Mumbai (Citizen Action Group)
3. Voice, New Delhi
4. Consumer’s Action Forum, Delhi, Kolkata
Functions performed by Voluntary Organizations –
- To educate consumers
- To collect samples and test them.
- To file suit on behalf of customers
- To prevent adulteration
- To help educational institution
Consumers Responsibility –
- Do not buy in hurry or blindly
- Beware of false advertisements
- Do not compromise on quality
- Buy only goods with eco mark (ISI, AGMARK)
- Always ask for receipt and guarantee card
- Approach immediately in case of complaint
Hindrances to growth of consumerism
- Lack of Leadership
- Difficulty in disseminating consumer education
- Cumbersome legal process
- Lack in effective implementation of legislative measures