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Consumer Rights UPSC NOTE

 

  • Every year, March 15 is celebrated as World Consumer Rights Day to create awareness about the rights of consumers

  • A collaborative effort between businesses and the government, supported by a robust legal framework, is imperative to effectively protect the rights of consumers with disabilities and afford them an equal opportunity to participate in the marketplace and society

  • The pervasive inaccessibility that person with disabilities encounter as consumers not only undermines their right to lead an independent life but also prevents them from equally participating in society as others.

Struggles of Disabled Consumers

  • Two major challenges for consumers with disabilities: the inaccessibility of goods and services and the inaccessibility of customer support options. 

  • Consumers with a disability may be in vulnerable or disadvantaged circumstances when:

    • market conditions are unfriendly, for example:

      • Businesses act in ways which are misleading, deceptive or otherwise without conscience

  • consumers are at risk of physical harm, financial loss or disadvantage, for example:

    • broken light fittings may endanger tenants with vision impairments who depend on appropriate illumination

  • consumers are not be able to protect themselves from harm or manage the consequences, for example:

    • consumers with an acquired brain injury may have trouble remembering and quickly understanding information

Solutions

  • Persons with disabilities are also empowered by laws that safeguard their rights and interests as consumers. 

  • The primary legislation in this regard is the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act (RPWDA), 2016, which grants a bouquet of rights including the rights to equality, accessibility, and reasonable accommodation. 

  • In particular, the Act includes provisions for universally designed consumer goods and accessible services (Sections 43 and 46). 

  • The Rules notified under the RPWDA also require all Information and Communications Technology (ICT) goods and services to be accessible in accordance with the BIS standards laid down by the government. 

  • In case of a violation of these rights, a consumer with disability can file a complaint with the Disability Commissions established under the Act

  • Another avenue is the Consumer Protection Act (CPA), 2019, which not only details various consumer rights but also empowers Consumer Commissions to impose penalties and award compensation against consumer complaints. 

  • Consumers with disabilities have successfully obtained such remedies in numerous cases brought before Consumer Commissions

  • Unlike the RPWDA, the CPA has strong enforcement and compliance mechanisms

  • However, it lacks any dedicated rights for consumers with disabilities contrary to the RPWDA, which may deter them from filing complaints with Consumer Commissions

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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: Consumer Rights UPSC NOTE
Consumer Rights UPSC NOTE
Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam
https://www.learnerz.in/2024/04/consumer-rights-upsc-note.html
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