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Consumer Protection

Consumers are often at a disadvantage in terms of education and bargaining power and are not able to maintain their rights as adopted by the UN in 1985: right of access to non-hazardous products, as well as the right to promote just, equitable and sustainable economic and social development and environmental protection. They also have the right to obtain redress for grievance and to be informed and educated about the quantity, quality and standards of products. 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. Our work responds to the gap in consumer rights protection and awareness. We create research and documentation, and conduct education and capacity building programmes to raise awareness about a range of issues that affect consumers. We also conduct research that informs policy on consumer protection and interact with government agencies to strengthen the regulatory framework.

Themes

Consumer awareness

As consumers, people need to understand that they can be protected against products that are harmful to life, unfair trade practices, and have the right to redress for 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 we create information and communication materials, and conduct education and capacity building programmes. We also run awareness campaigns and exhibitions that support socially responsible consumption and production behaviours.

In Tamil Nadu, we are active members of the Federation of Consumer Organisations Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry (FEDCOT), the Coastal Action Network (CAN) and the Consumer Coordination Council (CCC). We are also members of the South Asia Watch on Trade, Economics & Environment (SAWTEE), Nepal, which operates in the region and Consumers’ International, London, which is a global network of consumer organisations.

Consumer protection

Consumers experience several problems when they purchase products. Malpractices in pricing, measurement and labelling, artificial scarcity and adulteration are only some of the ways that producers exploit consumers. Few consumers are able to access information and legal aid to address their grievances. Our consumer legal clinic addresses specific problems of consumers, handling over 1000 consumer complaints every year. We screen all complaints and accept only those that have merit. If we accept a complaint, then we 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 explore other available options, such as through litigation at the appropriate fora.

We are also members in various regulation-mandated consumer grievance fora, such as the Tamil Nadu State Consumer Protection Council, Tamil Nadu Electricity Generation and Distribution Company (TANGEDCO), Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) and the High Court-mandated Committee on the Adyar River Restoration project. In the past we have been members of the Tamil Nadu Electricity Regulatory Commission (TNERC), and Bio-Medical Waste (Management and Handling), Bureau of Indian Standards, Zonal Railway Users Consultative Committee, Southern Railways; and special invitees to the Pharmaceutical Advisory Forum, Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers and the Central Consumer Protection Council at the national level.

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

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

Card of convenience?

As the consumer credit sector has grown, so has the list of complaints. know more

Right to Get a Refund

Can a cricket association print unilateral liability disclaimers and offer...know more

Check What’s on Offer

Service providers will do well to stop using the trust they earn from...know more

Consumers' Companion

Despite the existence of consumer redressal mechanisms, many consumers are...know more

Making the Right Choise

Rapid changes in the market place have increased the complexity of...know more