Consumer Awareness: Some Definitions and Need for Consumer Awareness (For CBSE, ICSE, IAS, NET, NRA 2022)

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Some Definitions

First let us know the meaning of - a consumer, goods and services and consumer awareness.

Who is a Consumer?

To begin with, let us know the definition of a consumer. A consumer is the buyer of goods and services. The user of goods and services with the permission of the buyer is also treated as a consumer. But a person is not a consumer if he/she purchases goods and services for resale purpose.

What Are Goods and Services?

Goods are those products which are manufactured or produced and sold to consumers through wholesalers and retailers. Service means service of any description which is made available to the potential user with respect to the provision of facilities in connection with banking, finance, insurance, transport, supply of electrical or other energy, housing, construction, water supply, health, entertainment, amusement etc. It does not include any service rendered free of charge or under a contract of personal service.

Consumer Awareness

Consumer awareness refers to the combination of the following:

Consumer Awareness
  • The knowledge of the product purchased by the consumers in terms of its quality. For example, the consumer should know whether the product is good for health or not, whether the product is free of creating any environmental hazard or not etc.
  • The education about the various types of hazards and problems associated with marketing of a product. For example, one way of marketing a product is advertisement through newspapers, television etc.
  • The knowledge about ‘Consumer Rights’ - This means that, first, the consumer must know that he/she has the right to get the right kind of product. Secondly, if the product is found out to be faulty in some manner, the consumer should have knowledge of claiming compensation as per the law of the land.
  • The knowledge about consumer՚s own responsibilities- This implies that consumers should not indulge in wasteful and unnecessary consumption.

Need for Consumer Awareness

Although it is said that ‘consumer is the king’ , in the market, there are a number of undesirable activities taking place targeting the consumer. Some marketers indulge in several malpractices to make windfall gain.

Given below are the unethical practices of the sellers against which the consumers need protection:

  • Poor Quality goods: Many businessmen deliberately bring out poor quality goods. Some of these are unbranded. The market for electrical goods may be cited as an example.
  • Manipulation of the price: It is not uncommon to find the same product being sold at different prices in different places. A bottle of 300-ml. soft drink may be sold at ₹ 9 in a bunk shop, at ₹ 15 in a cinema theatre and so on. The buyers usually pay the price demanded by the sellers.
  • Black marketing and hoarding: Marketers do resort to black marketing essential goods. They do this to create an artificial demand for such goods. This results in a rise in price. The victim is the innocent buyer. Rice, sugar, butter, edible oil, onion etc. are the products the supply of which is deliberately withheld by the seller.
  • Adulteration: It takes place in the market in two forms. Inferior goods are deliberately mixed with superior goods. The other form of adulteration is to mix chalk powder, sand, brick powder, stones etc. Inferior grades of rice may be mixed with the superior grades. It is not uncommon to find the presence of stones, clay balls etc. , in rice and grams. Brick powder, chalk powder etc. , are added to masala powder.
  • Deceptive advertisements: Most newspaper and television advertisements make only false claims. They are nothing more than a gimmick or trick. used by the marketer to get the buyers՚ attention.
  • Duplicate goods: The market is flooded with lots of fake and duplicate goods. The presence of duplicate goods is quite common in the market for electrical and electronic goods, auto spares and so on. Biscuits, chocolates and soft drinks of popular companies are also being imitated by certain unscrupulous persons.
  • Unreal discounts: Certain marketers announce a discount of even 50 percent. Such discounts, obviously, cannot be real. No seller can afford to sell his product at 50 percent discount unless there is some defect in the product.
  • Quantity loss: Often the buyers notice quantity loss in what they purchased. For example, a person buying a kilo of sugar may find a quantity loss of at least 50 grams. False weights and measurements are used by many vendors.

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