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Awareness of consumer protection act in rural areas

Munnu Prasad. V and Meena


Lecturer and Assistant Professor 1
St. Josephs Evening College and Jain CMS, Bangalore
Key Words: Consumer Protection, Awareness, Rural Replacement and Repairs.
A consumer is a person who buys any goods/service for valuable consideration. Right 1 to 6 is directly
guaranteed under the Consumer Protection Act 1986 while Right 7 and 8 is implied under the Constitution of
India.
The study is completely based on the objective of awareness in the rural areas; the study is based after including
primary and secondary data. The study has made use of statistical tool like percentage and correlation for
analysing data. The study of this research is explains the awareness and helpfulness of the Act in the rural areas.

Introduction:
Definition of Consumer under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986
According to Section 2 (1) (d) of the Act consumer means any person who
i. Buys any goods for a consideration, which has been paid or promised or partly paid and partly promised. It
also includes
a) User of such goods who is using the goods with permission of the buyer or
b) Person who has obtained goods under any system of deferred payment. Person who has obtained goods for
resale or for commercial purposes is not covered under this section.
ii. Hires or avails any services for a consideration, which has been paid or promised or partly paid and partly
promised. It also includes
a) Beneficiary of services who has availed the services with approval of the person who has hired the services
b) A person who has hired or availed services under any system of deferred payment.

Consumer Awareness
Consumer awareness is the information that every consumer (buyer) should possess regarding his rights in
relation to purchase as a customer. This awareness enables the consumer (buyer) to avail maximum benefits in
relation to his / her item of purchase.

Consumer Protection
Consumer Protection is a cluster of laws and bodies that have been set up so to ensure that the rights of the
consumers are upheld as well as ensure that fair trade practices and accurate information is provided to the
customers.

Historical Evolution of the Act


In understanding the development of the Act, it is important to separate the time frames which have been
essential in the setting up of the laws of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986:

1) Pre 1950
Before 1950, issues related to consumer protection were dealt according to the rules set up under the English
Common Law. This Common Law has established three distinct heads of the law that are an essential part of

todays Consumer Protection Act, 1986: (a) Tort; (b) Contract; and (c) Fiduciary Laws. All settlement has to
be done through suits filed in the court of law.
Torts are nothing but civil wrongs. These torts generally include deceit; fraud; misrepresentation and
negligence depending on point of suit. An individual may sue a provider in the trial court and generally
decision leads to compensation or payment of damages in monetary terms.
Contracts are agreements between two or more parties; setting out their respective rights and obligations in
exchange for consideration. Contracts can be written or verbal and can include express as well as implied
terms. An individual who has been harmed by the goods or services used can seek for redressal in a trial
court where relief is granted in monetary form.
Fiduciary responsibilities arise in situations where sellers are deemed to be in a position of trust in relation to
consumers and therefore becoming more answerable in the court of law against this kind of suit.

2) 1950 1986
Since the establishment of Constitution of India in 1950; the Union Parliament has passed a number of laws
that have provided protection to the consumers.
The matters of suits were restricted to the areas of the statue of law and enforced through trial courts only.
The following are the product specific legislation in relation to consumer protection:
a) Drugs Control Act, 1950
b) Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954
c) Essential Commodities Act, 1955.

3) 1986
During this year, the Union Parliament
established the Consumer Protection Act
COPRA which was the first generic
consumer protection law enacted in our
country, India, covering all kinds and
services under this act. It has also set up a
separate chain of courts through which
the laws could be enforced.
The system has been structured as
follows:

The proceedings of these courts are


summary in nature and statutorily
applicable includes punitive damages.
These cases were decided within 3
months from the date of receipt of
notice by opposite party.

4) 1986 Present
Along with the remedies available through the court of law and consumer courts, a consumer in India
can also seek protection for financial products and services set up through product specific regulators.
The matrix of consumer protection for aggrieved consumers of credit today is as follows:

a. Information dissemination to customers mandated by the Banking Codes and Standard Bureau of
India
b. In house grievance redressal mechanism set up by banks
c. Office of the Ombudsman, created by RBI
d. Consumer Courts under COPRA
e. Courts of Law

Securities
The matrix of consumer protection for aggrieved consumers of securities today is as follows:
a) SCORES Securities Complaints Redress System (an online portal for investors to register their
complaints against listed companies and intermediaries)
b) SEBI Tribunal
c) Securities Appellate Tribunal
d) Supreme Court

Insurance
The matrix of consumer protection for aggrieved consumers of insurance today is as follows:
a) Grievance redressal cell with in each of the life and non life companies
b) IRDA Grievance Cell
c) Insurance Ombudsman
d) Consumer courts under COPRA
e) Civil Courts

Future Outlook
The Government of India, has recently set up the Financial Sector Legislative Reforms Commission to examine
the architecture of the regulatory system governing the financial sector in India.

Research Design

I. Statement of the Problem: Consumer Protection Act awareness is required for each and
every individual in urban as well as rural areas.
Consumer Protection Act plays a major role in the rural areas, where the awareness, usage and
helpfulness for consumer may not have been high.
II. Need And Importance of the Study:
Need: Awareness in Consumer Protection Act is helpful to safe guard from the adulteration and
default in goods/services.
Importance of the Study:
The study has been conducted to understand the awareness of COPRA, its usage and helpfulness
of it.
III. Objectives of the Study:
1. To identify whether the consumer is protected
2. To identify the extent of awareness of Consumer Protection Act in Rural Area.
3. To identify whether the Consumer Protection Act is helpful to Consumers at the time of default in
goods/services.

IV.

Scope of the Study:


The study mainly focuses on the Consumer Protection Act in rural areas, where its focus is on
the rural public. The level of adoption of Consumer Protection Act and Benefits achieved from
it to ultimate users of the product.

V.
Research Methodology:
a. Type of Research: - Empirical research is a method of gaining knowledge through resources of
direct and indirect observation or experience. Empirical evidence (the record of one's direct
observations or experiences) can be analysed quantitatively or qualitatively. Through quantifying
the evidence or making sense of it in qualitative form, a researcher can answer empirical
questions, which should be clearly defined and answerable with the evidence collected (usually
called data). Research design varies by field and by the question being investigated. Many
researchers combine qualitative and quantitative forms of analysis to better answer questions
which cannot be studied in laboratory settings, particularly in the social sciences and in education.
Exploratory research is a type of research conducted for a problem that has not been clearly
defined. Exploratory research helps determine the best research design, data collection method and
selection of subjects. It should draw definitive conclusions only with extreme caution. Given its
fundamental nature, exploratory research often concludes that a perceived problem does not
actually exist.
This is a Cross-sectional Study Design, as it is relevant for the present study period and the results
are likely to be different in the long term.
b. Type of Data: - Primary Data: The data collected through Personal Interview with the Rural
public.
Secondary Data: The data Published and unpublished materials. There is a need of secondary
data.
c. Sources of Data:

1. Personal Meet with the Rural Public: A set of questions were presented to and answered by
the rural public. The questions were asked to get the real understanding of the concept and
their benefits.
i. Data Collection Instruments: - Personal Interview
d. Sampling Design
i. Type of Samples:
i. Judgemental sampling: Non-probability Sampling It is a sampling procedure which
does not afford any basis for estimating the probability that each item in the population has
been included in the sample.
Judgemental Sampling: It is also known as purposive analysis or selective sampling.
ii. Sample Size:
i. 25 members in personal interview, based on their willingness and knowledge of the concept
of Consumer Protection Act.
e. Data Collection, Field Work
i. Personal Interview with Rural public was done on field work of travel to Hadonahalli,
Dodaballapur, Bangalore Rural, Karnataka.
f. Data Processing and Plan of Analysis inclusion Hypothesis(es) Testing
1. Percentages This is used for analysing the hypothesis based on the percentages, where the
ranking is codded through assigning weights. The more the percentage, the higher is the
chances to reject the null hypothesis, the lesser the percentage, the higher is the chance to
accept the null hypothesis.
2. Graphs It is used to show the graphical representation of the data tabulated with percentages,
the graphs used in the research is Exploded Pie Chart, Exploded Doughnut and Stacked Line
with Marks.
VI.

Limitations of the Study


a. It is limited to Hadonahalli, Dodaballapur, Bangalore Rural, Karnataka.
b. It is limited to the period of data collected.
c. The samples are collected in above mentioned rural in Bangalore, so the data collection is done
in a few rural areas of Bangalore.
d. Not all the rural public were interviewed due to short duration of time in the visits and tight
schedules of their working.

Findings and Analysis:


1. Do rural people buy the goods/service based on the brand?
The majority of the rural people said that only few products (i.e., high range) go for good
branded products/service. They also said that they get majority of the goods / services from the
local production of goods/service. Example: Dolly ice cream is not a well-known brand, this
brand is known only in the few villages and not in cities.
2. Do rural people ask of replacement/repair of goods, when they damage products?
The literate (i.e. individual or a family) say that yes they ask for the replacement or repair
services in damaged goods within warranty period. Whereas the illiterate say that they feel

damage is from their usage or non-proper usage, so they feel repair of the damage should be
from their side.
3. Do you people have awareness of Consumer Protection Act?

Particulars/Respondent Yes

No

Awareness of COPRA

17

As per the above chart shown, the awareness of the Consumer Protection Act is very low, that
is, 32% only. There is still no proper awareness of the Act among the rural people.
As per the respondents, few say there is awareness of Consumer Protection Act due to
information given in the Electronic Media (i.e. in Doordarshan) from the government in their
linguistic language, but the media doesnt specify the person whom they have to meet at the
time of default in goods / services, what is the procedure to be followed and how to claim for
the damages/fault/fraud done by the Provider.
4. Whether the Consumer Protection Act is helpful to Consumer for the default in goods/services.

Very few respondents say yes, that it is helpful, because the awareness of this Act among the
rural people is only 32% of the rural population. Hence majority people feel that the ACT will
be helpful to rural public, when the awareness of the ACT will increase among them, the
approach and accessibility will lead to helpfulness of COPRA.

Conclusion:
The study on the awareness of Consumer Protection Act in Rural Area, tell us that there is lesser
awareness of the Consumer Protection Act, that the benefit and helpfulness of the ACT is not
understood exactly and the usage of the act also is difficult, as the rural public dont have knowledge
about the exact contact person, address or venue to approach and the rural public feels that the ACT is
complex in the usage and leads to additional expenses in terms of travelling charges and product
carriage charges (based on size).

Suggestion:
Awareness of the ACT should be increased in rural areas.

The Government has to provide contact information, procedure and the approaches of COPRA
clearly.
Educational Institutions also have to support and provide awareness of the ACT by providing
information on the procedure and benefits of the ACT to the consumers.
References:
1) http://kkhsou.in/main/EVidya2/commerce/consumer_protection.html
2) http://www.ask.com/question/define-consumer-awareness
3) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consumer_protection
4) http://www.ifmr.co.in/blog/2012/03/23/evolution-of-consumer-protection-laws-in-india-part1/
5) http://www.ifmr.co.in/blog/2012/04/03/evolution-of-consumer-protection-laws-in-india-part2/
6) http://www.consumer.tn.gov.in/pdf/Consumer_Awareness_%20pamphlet.pdf

Consumer being responsible for and alert to Quality and Quantity of Goods or
Services