An informed consumer

Consumerism is happening all around and achieving ample recognition amongst masses. Consumer education is actually making its effect visible. Growing trends of enforcing consumer rights by a large section of general public is self evident. However, popular conception of consumer rights is becoming synonym with enforcement of rights through consumer forums only. Whereas consumerism per se is a wide concept not confined to enforcement only but about prevention, consumer information, safety, consumer education, redressal rights and related consumer aspects. The enforcement through consumer forums has its own peculiar role. Beyond that when we talk about the consumer rights “information” on related aspects of  consumer rights plays a vital role for a consumer. Information from a consumer prospective means to have information relevant for pre purchase till post purchase.

An intelligent purchase requires bit of pre purchase product research. When we say research it means that you can go through a general consultation and a little inquiry about the product. It also includes somebody you know who has purchased the product recently. This off hand information can be very useful.  At pre purchase stage consumer must get adequate information in respect of the market which is best for a particular range of products. There is range of dedicated websites providing well informed reviews of the product and experts comments. Even on TV channels there are dedicated consumer programs which give immense useful information and guidance.At the same time you should by your decision keeping in view your needs and budget.

You can also have product information from the regulatory authorities under the Right to Information Act. By making a simple application with requisite fee you can get all information in relation of your product if it is endorsed. The endorsement generally granted by the Govt by granting ISI mark, Star Rating, AGMARK etc. For example, if in a electric product, start rating has been given and you have doubts about the energy efficiency you can get related information from the Govt. Department. In case of food item AGMARK is granted you ask for basis on which it was granted. You can also question and ask for the information the test conducted by the officers before such grant.

Internet is a useful resource to get relevant information about the product. In present market scenario no company can survive without having a user friendly website. Website contains lot of information which gives such information which is generally not available with the shopkeeper or showroom. The attention paid to the product can be more to understand the specification in comparison to having it purchased at shop. You can understand the various important popular terminologies which are of great help to make an informed decision. Although after all such information gathering, you feel cheated about any thing, then you can post online consumer complaint as well to safegaurd your consumer rights

Next comes being informed about the excellence, amount, effectiveness, wholesomeness, standard and price of goods or services so as to protect the consumers against unfair trade practices. No one can charge you more than the MRP written on the product and at the same time it is mandatory for the company to print MRP on any electronic gadget and is also valid for services as well. If someone charges you more than the MRP printed on the product, you can post consumer complaints with the weight and measurement department and to the consumer court as well.

Consumer rights on our side to safeguard our valuable rights. But it is said that “prevention is better than cure”. So, we can equip ourselves with bit of awareness and knowledge which can go long way to save our valuable time, money and harassment at the hand of seller and service provider.

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