Some Guidelines to Protect your rights as consumer
- Take Cash Memo, Receipt & the Guarantee Card
For everything you purchase, take the Cash Memo or Receipt & the Guarantee Card, as the case may be. Thereby you may be able to prove yourself as a ‘consumer’ and ultimately could bring an action in a Consumer Forum. From the Guarantee Card you may be able to know your rights as against the manufacturer.
You may be required to pay a little extra if you take a bill, on account of tax charges, but you will be saved from total loss in case the product turns out be defective or the service deficient.
- Value of printed terms on Receipt/Guarantee Card
Ordinarily the printed terms, say on the back of the Receipt issued by a dry-cleaner, or terms printed on the guarantee card issued by a manufacturer, could be binding on you as if you have entered into a contract to that effect. But don’t think that you are always bound by such terms. Such terms may not be binding, if. they are unreasonable. If the dry-cleaner, through the terms printed by him on the receipt, limits his liability for loss or damage caused by garment to an unreasonably low level, the court will hold that to be void. Similarly, if what is printed on a guarantee card, the liability of the manufacturer of a product is only for repairs of the product, the court may still hold, if the product causes loss or damage to the person or property of another, that the manufacturer is liable for that also. For instance a pressure cooker bursts because of some manufacturing defect, the manufacturer could be liable for the loss or damage caused thereby to a person or his property. The seller may also be liable for such loss or damage because of breach of implied condition or warranty under the Sale of goods Act. If a hot-water bottle burst and caused burn injuries or underwears caused skin disease or milk caused typhoid, because of some germs in it, the Seller may be held liable in each such case for breach of implied condition of suitability for the purpose of the buyer, of the goods purchased by him.
- Purchase Standardised Goods only
While purchasing the goods keep in mind that the seller is reliable and there are no chances of his selling spurious goods. If it is a product like electric goods, look for the I.S.I, mark on the product. In case of packed foods like spices, see that the label contains ‘AGMARK’ certificate. In case of fruit/food products like Jams, Squashes, canned fruit you should look for FPO (Fruits Products Order) /FSSAI Mark certification on the package, that is likely to ensure the quality, so that chances of complaint are minimised. Goods like packaged foods have limited shelf life and such like torch cells may lose their potency in course of time. So look for the date of manufacture/expiry on all goods. In case of medicines, note the date of expiry, batch no. etc., purchase them from a reliable shop, and always insist on a receipt.
Do not buy goods near to their expiry date. You have a right to buy only freshly packed goods.
Preserve the receipt and even empty packing of medicine, as that can help you in your action for any damage or reaction caused by the medicine.
- Act diligently
If you find fault in any goods purchased by you, or any deficiency in service, avail earliest opportunity of pointing out the same to the other party. Don’t leave the things by mere grumbling and discussing only with your friends.
- Assert, Don’t be cowed down
If you are convinced that the goods are defective or there is deficiency in service, then put up your point of view with full emphasis. You may be courteous but be firm in your assertion. Don’t beg for a favour in such a situation. Making the other to pay for his fault is your right, which must be asserted properly. On the other hand, if you are convinced that fault does not lie with the other side, say, the goods were damaged by your mis-use or wrong handling,drop the idea of any action in the matter.
- All round approach
While dealing with the party at fault, project your position from all possible angles. Clearly point out to that party as to what possible action/ actions could be there under the law against him, if he does not satisfy you in respect of your genuine grievance. Make complaints in writing through registered post and preserve them.
- Be exact and specific in mentioning what you want
How can you get the desired relief unless you are very exact and specific in clearly mentioning the same ? If you are originally vague in your approach, you may have to be content with whatever you get.
- Prefer a complaint before the Consumer Forum
If the matter is not settled through negotiations or by a notice to the other party you may bring a legal action. If the case is covered under the Consumer Protection Act prefer an action in a Consumer Forum.
There you need not engage a lawyer, nominal court fee has to be paid (no fees upto complaints of claims upto Rs. 5 Lakhs) and the decision would take much less time than an ordinary Civil Court. You can put through your case before a Consumer Forum yourself.
- Avoid Frivolous or Vexatious Complaints
It is expected that you will use and not misuse legal process. Frivolous or Vexatious Complaints are discouraged by the Consumer Forum (Section 26). According to the provision where a complaint instituted is found to be frivolous or vexatious, for reasons to be recorded in writing, the Consumer Forum shall dismiss the complaint and make an order that the complainant shall pay to the opposite party such cost, not exceeding Rs. 10,000/- as may be specified in the order.