We all are consumer because we all buy goods and services from the market to satisfy our needs and want. Since, individual consumers are small and are scattered, they often finds themselves in a weak position in the market. Consumer exploitation refers to taking undue advantage of consumers or group of consumers by the sellers for their own benefit or purpose. In order to earn higher profits producers often indulge in unfair practices. Under weighing of goods, offering poor quality products, duplicate articles, charging high prices, adulteration, etc. are various ways of consumer exploitation. Illiteracy, ignorance, superstitions, social factors, etc. are the leading reasons for consumer exploitation. Indulgences in unfair practices by the sellers arouse consumer movements. In India under the pressure of various consumer movements, the government of India enacted the Consumer Protection Act 1989 which is popularly known as COPRA. This act enabled consumers to have the following rights:
• Right to Safety
• Right to be Informed
• Right to Choose
• Right to Seek Redressal
• Right to Represent
Under COPRA, a three-tier quasi-judicial machinery was set up, for the redressal of consumer disputes, at district level, state level and national level.
To extend the right to be informed, government of India has enacted Right to Information Act, 2005 (RTI Act) which ensures its citizens all the information about the functioning of various government departments. Taking the consumer movement forward, in India, 24th December is observed as the National Consumer Day. Although the consumer movement in India has made some progress as the number of consumer groups have increased, these movements can only be effective when consumers unite and work towards a common goal i.e., consumer protection. Hence, it is the duty of consumers to adhere rules and regulations to protect themselves.