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Consumer Protection

Consumers are often at a disadvantage in terms of education and bargaining power and are not able to uphold their rights as adopted by the United Nations : right of access to safe products, right to adequate information about the quantity, quality and standards of products and services, to enable them to make informed choices, right to demand for just, sustainable, economic and social development and environmental protection, right to protection in the e-commerce space, right to consumer privacy, right to consume education and right to obtain redress for grievance. 

In India today, consumers are largely in the dark about many key issues that affect them directly and indirectly, and not many are aware of the important role they can potentially play in ushering in better policies, quality products and services and improving their immediate environment. CAG’s work responds to the gap in consumer rights, protection and awareness. We conduct research that informs policy on consumer protection and interact with government agencies to strengthen the legal/regulatory framework. We also conduct education and capacity building programmes to raise awareness about a range of issues that affect consumers. 

 

Themes

Consumer Education and Awareness

As consumers, people need to understand that they can be protected against defective products and deficient services that are harmful to life, unfair trade practices, and have the right to redress from exploitative or unfair trade practices. Consumers also have certain responsibilities that compliment their rights. They should be aware of the social and ecological impact of their consumption choices and must take actions that protect other citizens, particularly disadvantaged group, and conserve the environment. To inform consumers about their rights and responsibilities, and empower them on various consumer laws and policies, CAG creates information and communication materials, conducts education and capacity building programmes, and discusses/writes about consumer issues in print, visual and social media. We also run awareness campaigns and exhibitions that support socially responsible consumption and production behaviours.

We are members of the Consumer Coordination Council (CCC), India and Consumers’ International (CI), London, which is a global network of consumer organisations. Recently, CAG has been elected to the governing council of CI and will serve a term of four years in the council. 

 

Consumer Advisory

Consumers experience several problems when they buy products or services. Malpractices in pricing, measurement and labelling, artificial scarcity, adulteration, deficiency in services and unfair trade practices are some of the ways by which consumers are exploited. Few consumers are able to access information and legal aid to address their grievances. Our complaints’ desk addresses specific problems of consumers, handling over 500 consumer complaints every year. We look at the merits of the complaint and advice consumers accordingly. If there is an issue, we represent to the opposite party on behalf of the consumer or engage with both parties in order to mediate a solution and aim for an amicable settlement of the dispute. In cases where this is not possible, we support the consumer to explore other available options, such as through litigation at the appropriate Fora.

We are members of various regulation-mandated consumer bodies:

  • Governing Council, Bureau of Indian Standards;
  • COPOLCO Committee on Consumer Policy, Bureau of Indian Standards;
  • Consumer Advisory Group, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI);
  • Consumer Grievance Redressal Forum, Tamil Nadu Electricity Generation and Distribution Company (TANGEDCO);
  • State-level Monitoring Committee on Food Security, Government of Tamil Nadu;
  • State-level Monitoring Committee on Direct Selling, Government of Tamil Nadu;
  • TRAI mandated advisory committee member of telecom service providers - Reliance Jio, BSNL, Airtel, Vodafone Idea Ltd. 

In the past, we have been members of: 

  • Tamil Nadu Electricity Regulatory Commission (TNERC); 
  • Bio-Medical Waste (Management and Handling) Committee;
  • Central Consumer Protection Council;
  • Tamil Nadu State Consumer Protection Council; and 
  • Special Invitees to the Pharmaceutical Advisory Forum, Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers

 

Blogs

CAG elected to the Consumers International (CI) Council!

CAG, represented by S. Saroja, has been elected to the CI Council in the...know more

Trusted Smart Products - How Safe Are We?

In today’s digital world, most of the products we use in our daily life...know more

The Conspiracy behind Banking Charges, Payments Banks, and Demonetisation

Consumers are subjected to great inconvenience by various charges levied...know more

Collateral-free Agricultural Loans

In a recent change in policy from RBI, banks have been asked to provide...know more

World Consumer Rights Day 2019: Trusted Smart Products

Every year, the world over, 15th March is celebrated as World Consumer...know more

Projects

Supporting the Implementation of National Trans Fat Regulations in the State of Tamil Nadu

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has called for global...know more

Caveat Emptor - Media Coverage

This section includes all editions of the Caveat Emptor columns ...know more

Safe-guarding Consumers' Interests in E-Commerce

The main objective of the project is to strongly recommend that the...know more

Pasumai - Organic Farming for all

Citizen consumer and Civic Action Group, launched a campaign in...know more

Resources

Trans Fat Regulations Campaign on Children’s Day 2019

CAG will conduct a campaign to spread awareness about trans...know more

Media coverage of electricity themes, topics, and issues in Tamil Nadu - an analysis

News media has a significant role to play in keeping the masses informed,...know more

World Food Day awareness event on trans fat

CAG is organising a program on World Food Day 2019 in collaboration with...know more

All that glitters is expensive

It is important that there is transparency on exchange rate and ‘...know more

Boon or bane?

Plastic money is definitely becoming a convenient option. But banks must...know more