From DEP-SSA WiKi
As Globalization and Liberalization are expanding, Indian markets are flooded with variety of products by different companies including MNCs.All companies face cut throat competition in capturing markets and face price wars, quality related issues and also the consumer related issues. Consumer protection and consumer awareness have become vital to safeguard the interests of consumers. Government has also taken many steps including legislative to protect consumers. Since education is a life long process and consumer awareness is an important aspect, it must be introduced at school level. This module deals with basic concept of consumer awareness and consumer protection, rights and duties of consumers and some classroom activities to sensitize students with this concept.
After reading this module you will be able to:
i) State the need and importance of Consumer Awareness. ii)illustrate various forms of Consumer Exploitation iii) get exposure of various consumer forums for consumer protection.
1.3 Essential Questions
1. How aware the consumer is?
2. What steps they take when they feel they are cheated or find unfair deal in terms of price, quality, or find goods to be defective?
Consumer is anyone who either purchased goods and services for his / her use or one who actually uses the goods and services. However, when someone buys for resale purpose is not the consumer.
1.4 Activity 1
Let us recall various experiences and find out your own consumer experiences as consumer. Given below are some situations/examples and please tick yes or no against each one.
|1||I was overcharged by auto rickshaw/taxi driver|
|2||My vegetable vendor uses marbles/stones to weigh|
|3||I bought a box of mangoes which concealed poor quality beneath the attractively placed on top|
|4||Seller gave me duplicate boiler as original.|
|5||Expensive medicine I bought from chemist turned out to be expired.|
|6||The gold jewelry I bought from a local shop claiming to be of 22 kt turned out to be 18 kt.|
|7||I was overcharged by a restaurant for food not ordered.|
|8||Advertised as organic spices turned out to be an adulterated .|
Similar instances / situations can be discussed in the classroom with the help of student’s observations. On the basis of discussions develop an activity as to what steps should a consumer take to save himself/herself from these exploitations.
Divide the class in smaller groups and they will discuss in their respective groups as to who decides in the family as what are the items that are purchased from market i.e. consumable daily items/durables/luxury goods etc. They will make a list of goods (minimum 2-3 items of different category i.e. essential goods, durables, luxury goods etc.) Each group will develop a small questionnaire and collect information in their neighborhood from minimum 5 families (Hint : Questions in the tool should include questions like how much money they spend, how & where from they buy goods, any particulars brand, do they discuss with their neighbors about brand/quality etc.
In the case of defective goods or if they feel shopkeeper has sold expired goods, where do they or if they feel shopkeeper has sold expired goods, where do they go?
Do they go back to shop? Do they go and discuss with their neighbor? Are they aware of any consumer court? Do they read newspaper and are they familiar with their rights & duties.
List down the responses of minimum 5-10 family and know their status of consumer awareness
1.6 Learning Plan
All groups will make presentations focusing on
Status of awareness level of consumers in their neighborhood (survey based) Discuss cases of people who have gone to the courts or approached shopkeepers in case of any malpractice or cases of cheat or defective good in term of qualities etc. Newspaper cutting dealing with such cases can be discussed among each group & be presented.
At the end of all presentations:-
They will all be introduced by the teacher the need & importance of consumer protection, consumer awareness & consumer education Teacher should conclude by few definitions like
Consumer awareness is making the consumer aware of his/he rights. Consumer awareness is a marketing term. It means that customers are aware of products or services, its characteristics and other marketing P’s (Place to buy, Price & Promotion) Usually commercials, ads and ‘word of mouth’ increase consumer awareness about any product or service.
Focus on Need for Consumer Awareness
We need to know what we buy is worth the money and is not harmful to us and environment. To get the clear picture of ‘consumer exploitation’ awareness is required.
Survey of 5 shops including 2 departmental stores/mall that sell branded / unbranded good & find out their policies of return of defective gods or complaint by customers. This activity can be in smaller groups and their findings/observations can be discussed in the class.
Rights of Consumers
- Right to safety
- Right to be informed
- Right to Choose
- Right to representationa
- Right to seek redressal
- Right to Consumer Education
Methods of consumer protection
Discuss in class
Self Regulation/Voluntary Protective consumer organization/civic society groups/consumer forums at district/state/national level.
Recent initiatives by Govt. and Print Media/any other public mode. Settled / disputed cases, newspaper clippings etc. National Action Plan for consumer Awareness
Suppose you buy a packed item claiming to be of say 500 gms. of quantity, but you find that it contained less than what was stamped on the package. Good quality pulses you bought from market consist of tiny marbles. Drinking water you find is mixed with sewage water You bought a product for Rs. 550/- from market and when you come home you find that the marked price was only 525. The gold jewelry I bought from local shop claiming to be 22 kt turned out to be of 18 kt.
Ask students to find out more cases of similar nature.
The above examples demonstrate the need for consumer awareness for the following reasons
1.12 Sum Up
1.State in each case what kind of consumer exploitation is there ?
2.How can you educate consume in each case?
3. State in 2 sentences from the above examples the need for consumer education.