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Consumer: Why consumer movements?

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Consumer: Why consumer movements? - Lesson Summary

Rules and regulations are required to protect people who are in a weak position. Consumers also need to be protected through legislation and action that ensure them their rights. Individual consumers are often scattered and not united. This makes them easy targets for unscrupulous elements to exploit.

Sellers usually refuse to take any liability for goods once they are sold. Consumers also get cheated when shopkeepers use incorrect weights and measures, put extra charges in the bill, adulterate the foodstuff that they intend to sell, sell defective goods, or sell goods whose expiry dates have passed.

Big companies can also manipulate consumers who are individual, scattered and make small purchases. Big companies spend a lot of money on advertising to give out misleading information about their products. The consumer movement was born out of consumer dissatisfaction. Initially, consumers had no means or rules and regulations to address the malpractices of manufacturers and sellers or if they were not pleased with a product.

In the post-independence period in India, there were artificial food shortages and adulteration in India. The first consumer’s forum was formed in the 1960’s. Until the 1970’s, the role of the consumer movement was limited to exhibiting and writing in magazines and papers. Later, consumer groups started looking into malpractices.

The movement got a boost from the UN Guidelines for Consumer Protection formulated in 1985. In India, the enactment of the Consumer Protection Act of 1986 boosted the movement.

Consumers themselves have to come forward and fight for their rights in consumer forums and courts. 

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