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What are the rights available to a consumer?

Who are the persons come under the head consumer?

There is no specific Section under which rights of the Consumer are given in the Consumer Protection Act, 1986, as Preamble of the Act states that the main object is to provide protection to the interests of the consumers, and to establish the consumer Redressal agencies, councils and other authorities to implement the machinery to protects the interests ensured under the Act.

From the Preamble, we observed the following rights of the Consumer as follows:

  1. The consumers are protected against marketing or selling of goods or services that are hazardous in nature, which means that any manufacturer/seller is not entitled to sell any dangerous goods or any services that can cause danger to the health of the consumers.
  2. The Act also ensures the consumer the right to information on the quality, quantity, Standard Weight and price of the goods and services, by which the consumers are protected from unfair trade practices.
  3. The Act recognized the unfair trade practice, deficiency in service and Restrictive trade practice often practiced by the sellers/manufactures towards the consumers in selling the goods and their services to earn profits.
  4. The Consumers are given right to access to wide variety of goods and services at competitive prices.
  5. The consumers are given opportunity to address their grievances against defective goods and services, unfair trade practice, deficiency in service and other malpractices before the consumer redressal agencies, and was also given the opportunity of being heard, and if proved of the fault on the part of the seller/manufacturer, the consumer forum would pronounce the award of compensation to the consumer. Act also assured the consumers a speedy trial procedure.
  6. The Act also provides promotion of consumer education.

Act provided the definition of the “Consumer “under Section 2 (1)(d) of the Act.  The definition states that any person who buys goods and services for consideration, or hires any goods or services for consideration, but not the person who buys the goods for resale or for any commercial purpose, provided that “commercial purpose” does not include use of a consumer who bought goods exclusively for earning his livelihood by means of self employment. From the definition you can see two clauses of consumer is the person who buys “goods”, the other is the person who buys “services “.  The definition excludes the person who buys the goods or services exclusively for the commercial purpose. In Laxmi Engineering Works vs P.S.G. Industrial Institute (1995 AIR 1428, 1995 SCC (3) 583), clearly given the definition of consumer in paragraph 12 and also held that “Whether the purpose for which a person has bought goods is a “commercial purpose” within the meaning of the definition of expression “consumer” in Section 2(d) of the Act is always a question of fact to be decided in the facts and circumstances of each case.”

by Adv. Anitha Gutti