World Consumer Rights Day

World Consumer Rights Day – 15 March

With an aim of protecting the consumers against the various exploitation and malpractices, 15th of March is observed globally as World Consumer Rights Day every year since 1983. This movement was first proposed in 1962 by the then president of the United States, John F. Kennedy. Through this major step of Kennedy, four basic rights were established: the right to safety, the right to be informed, the right to choose, and the right to be heard. Later in the year 1985, the United Nations added four more rights in order to protect the consumers, through the United Nations Guidelines Consumer protection: the right to satisfaction of basic needs, the right to redress, the right to consumer education, and the right to a healthy environment.

Know your Rights as a Consumer

When we talk in context of the modern concept of marketing, the consumers are treated as kings and the business is expected to provide maximum satisfaction to the consumers. But the fact is, the consumers are often exploited owing to their ignorance and lack of information as well as unity among them. The consumers go through exploitation in the form of misleading advertisements, unsafe and adulterated products, overcharging and so forth. The consumers are most of the time exploited by the businessmen that are greedy and unscrupulous. So, to make the consumers aware about their rights and to make sure they are henceforth not exploited is one of the reasons for observing the World Consumer Rights Day. This day marks an opportunity to promote these various consumer rights and to protect them as well. Once the consumers are well informed about the rights for them, they can protest against the exploitation that undermine them.

The theme for World Consumer Rights Day 2020 is ‘The Sustainable Consumer’, where various campaigns will be held and the need for globally sustainable consumption will be discussed. Taking into consideration the various factors like climate change and global warming, sustainable consumption is the need of the hour. But in case of the consumers, sustainability is quite challenging as they need to figure out the right purchase which requires a great effort, they might have to change their behaviour and in some cases paying more may seem necessary after all we need to  and should exert less pressure on the planets and its resources than we are exerting now. The campaign will also shed light upon the various roles that a consumer can play in order to maintain a healthy market. The Consumer International has put forward five notable trends that will help in the sustainable consumption, which are:

  • Consumer demand for more sustainability information
  • Sustainable mobility and ride sharing
  • Circular design and sustainable fashion
  • The drive for sustainable packaging, and
  • Building products to last- awareness of planned obsolescence

Know Your Consumer Rights

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Speaking in context of India, the Consumer protection Act was passed in 1986, to promote and protect the rights of the consumers. It seeks to provide a speedy and simple redress to the consumer grievances. It grants the following rights to the consumers:

  • Right to safety: It is the right to be protected against the marketing of goods that are hazardous to life and property.
  • Right to information: It means the right to be informed about the quality, quantity, standard, purity and price of the goods and also to protect the consumers against misleading advertisements and labelling.
  • Right to choose: it is the right to be assured access to a variety of products and services at competitive prices.
  • Right to be heard: It means the right to be heard and assured that the consumer interests will receive full consideration at the appropriate forums.
  • Right to seek redress: It is the right to seek relief against unfair trade practices or exploitation.
  • Right to education: The right to know about your rights as a consumer.
  • Right to healthy environment: The right to be protected against environmental pollution in order to improve the quality of life.

So, this World Consumer Rights Day be aware of your rights with the rights that one can seek through the consumer rights and avail the rights to protect yourself from the various scandals and exploitation on the goods and services and also stick to the ‘sustainable consumption’ theme. According to Nielsen, a data analytics company, “sustainability is the latest consumer trend”. Be a responsible consumer not only on the World Consumer Day but throughout the year.

5 steps to be a sustainable consumer:

  • Avoid buying plastic products
  • Sustainable food and drink consumption choices
  • Use solar energy
  • Go organic
  • Follow the 3 R’s- Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Contributed by:

Rakshanda Shrestha

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