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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. 


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