Consumer Is Not The King

Consumer Is Not The King

Despite of having a separate ministry or department of consumer affairs at centre and in every state, the harsh fact is that consumer loses the battle every time and bows before the big wigs that own the industries and rein the huge consumer market in India.

While such companies make a huge profit from whatever they sell, the average consumer on the other hand, gets lured every time by the catchy slogans and advertisements, more so when Bollywood heroes and heroines or cricket players are there to play the dirty game of deceit.

Buy anything from toothpaste to a two-wheeler or a refrigerator, the consumer is deceived by the unrealistic schemes offered by the company owners, who spend lakhs of rupees on their brand ambassadors. The poor consumer, who is caught-up in ‘buy-one, get one schemes’ hardly finds time to apply his mind that it is he who pays everything, even for those so-called free-gifts and gold coins that are used as marketing tools.

The tragic part of all this is that at the time of purchasing the goods, the consumer is never shown the clauses of warranty, written in the minutest fonts, with so many “conditions apply” mentioned in the foot-notes of these documents hidden somewhere in ‘owner’s manual’. The consumer gets this owner’s manual only after he makes the payment of the product he intends to purchase.

Consumer Is Not The King
However, a closer look at such ‘warranties’ makes one to ponder upon the fraud most of the companies commit with a consumer. Take an example of a two-wheeler or a four-wheeler purchased from any ‘reputed’ automobile company. The warranty says like this: “This warranty doesn’t apply to proprietary parts like tyres, tubes, battery, plastic items, bulbs, indicators, rubber components, grommets, ‘O’ rings, bellows etc.” Then what is left that comes under warranty?

And when any aware consumer dares to challenge such ‘self-made clauses’ in the court of law in the event of any defect in the goods within the warranty period, he comes across with another problematic clause in the warranty that reads like this: “This contract is effective at a place where the company has a manufacturing unit (say at Delhi) and claims if any, shall be made only before the courts having the jurisdiction in Delhi and no claims shall be made outside Delhi, notwithstanding that the refrigerator, two-wheeler, TV etc may have been sold or delivered or any stipulation or commitment in respect thereof may have been made elsewhere.”

And the poor consumer, who is already depressed on account of having purchased a defective item, thinks twice before moving consumer protection forums or NGOs for the redressal. Can he afford to hire the services of a good advocate to fight the case against such multinational companies who have a turnover in crores of rupees per year?

And then such forums too show inability at times to help the consumer, after going through the cunningness hidden in every ‘term and condition’ written in the ‘owners manual’.

One wonders, who has authorized such companies to incorporate all such conditions that suit only them and not the consumer. Is the concerned ministry aware of all this deceit?

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