'Just one complaint a day'

Suresh Mishra, from Centre for Consumer Studies, Indian Institute of Public Administration, New Delhi, said, since the Consumer Protection Act (CPA), 1986, was enacted, just 1.4 complaints are lodged per day, according to a study.

He was speaking at a seminar on ‘Consumer protection and empowerment: The emerging issues’,  jointly organised by the Centre for Consumer Studies, Consumer Rights Education and Awareness Trust (CREAT), Bangalore, and MYCAB of JSS Law College, here, on Saturday. He said, the spirit behind the Act was to protect the interest of consumers, but, ever since the Act is in force, not many consumers have raised their voice.

Stating that insensitivity of consumers has been one of the major problem, due to which complaints are not lodged, he said, nearly 60 per cent of the population says that it has been exploited, but hardly four per cent of it complains.

Mishra said, though exploitation is rampant, the CPA is not utilised. Among rural population, the scenario is worst, there are no complaints at all.

He noted, there is a dire need for the consumers to become demanding, unless which the legislation could not provide holistic protection. “No legislation can solve the problem, until people are aware of it,” he added.

Citing an example, how a college student, who received a broken cellphone, after ordering for the product online, he said, the absence of interaction between the seller and buyer could be more exploiting. “Exploitation in the insurance sector and medical negligence are more harmful in nature,” he said.

He said, consumers should be wise enough to be educated about the product and its specifications before buying it.

Y G Muralidharan of CREAT said, there are strong reasons for the people not raising voice against exploitation, like lack of knowledge. They are not aware of the procedures.

He said, consumers feel complaining is not worthy. They themselves come to a conclusion that there is no use lodging complaints and they lack confidence in the system.

He said, water scarcity in Mysore itself is a major issue, which could be focussed on, the younger generation should raise its voice against it.

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