Consumer Awareness: Know Your Rights and Responsibilities

Consumer Awareness: Know Your Rights and Responsibilities

7 mins read85.6K Views Comment
Rashmi Karan
Manager - Content
Updated on Dec 14, 2023 10:31 IST

Consumer awareness is the level of knowledge and understanding that individuals have about their rights, responsibilities, and the information necessary to make informed choices in the marketplace. This knowledge is crucial so that people can make smart decisions and pick the best options for themselves. In this article, we will explore the concept of consumer awareness, consumer rights and responsibilities, and the importance of consumer awareness.

Consumer Awareness

Let’s use an easy example to explain consumer awareness. Say you’re into healthy eating and avoid extra sugars in your snacks. You like a snack that’s marketed as sugar-free and says so on the packet. But, when you look closer at the ingredient list, you find sugar hidden under a different name. You’d feel cheated and tricked and might want to switch to another brand. This is a perfect example of consumer awareness and why it’s essential to be a knowledgeable shopper.

Sugar Free" Does Not Equal Healthy (and more startling facts about  artificial sweeteners) ⋆ 100 Days of Real Food

Hence, consumer awareness is fundamental to protect consumers from these malpractices and fake advertisements while helping businesses to stay sustainable. Modern-day consumers need to be aware of their rights and responsibilities. 


What is Consumer Awareness?

Consumer awareness is just about being a smart shopper. It means knowing what you’re buying, understanding what’s in the products, and being aware of your rights if something goes wrong. It is a consumer's understanding of their rights to a product or service being marketed or sold, allowing them to get the most out of what they buy.

The Parliament of India sanctioned The Consumer Protection Act 1986 to safeguard the interests of India’s consumers.

In 1985, the United Nations adopted specific guidelines to establish ethical conduct for distributing and producing goods and services and protect consumers worldwide. World Consumer Rights Day is celebrated on March 15.

What are the Consumer Rights?

As the Government of India outlines, the following pointers facilitate consumer awareness in India and protect their rights.

  • Right to Safety: Consumers have the right to be safe from dangerous goods and services. The products they buy should meet their long-term needs.
  • Right to be Informed: Consumers should know everything about what they’re buying, including its quality, amount, strength, purity, standards, and price. Shoppers should get all the details about a product before buying and avoid high-pressure sales tactics.
  • Right to Choose: Consumers should have choices and access to various goods and services at competitive prices, including necessary goods. Conscious shoppers should compare products and services to get the best deal.
  • Right to be Heard: Consumers’ needs and interests should be top priorities. They should be listened to by appropriate consumer welfare groups or committees set up by the authorities or the government.
  • Right to Seek Redressal: Shoppers should know they can file complaints and seek justice against unfair trade practices. This includes the right to a fair solution if their complaints are valid.
  • Right to Consumer Education: This includes being aware of fair trade practices and making informed decisions when buying products. It also means respecting other shoppers’ rights and helping them with legal matters. Shoppers should know and use their rights for effective consumer protection.

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Why is Consumer Awareness Important?

Merchants and manufacturers exploit consumers through artificial shortages, improper conditions, rude behaviour, and high prices. The protection and promotion of consumer rights is an essential function of government in any economy. Government agencies and consumer groups regularly initiate consumer awareness campaigns to help consumers understand new products and services on the market.

Consumer awareness is essential to help consumers exercise their consumer rights. The Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) has conducted a country-wide multimedia awareness campaign titled "Jago Grahak Jago." Through this campaign, consumers can learn about fraudulent practices and problems and how to tackle these problems with the help of concerned government authorities.

Check out this Jago Grahak Jago campaign video. It brilliantly explains the concept of consumer awareness in the most straightforward way.

Source - YouTube

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Stages of Consumer Awareness

Consumer awareness is a very crucial aspect of the success or failure of products. If the consumer is aware of the products and can make informed decisions, there is a high chance that the sales of such products will be higher. There are five stages of awareness of a potential consumer - 

  1. Completely unaware: A consumer who is completely unaware of the problem and hence does not know the solution to that problem.
  2. Aware of the Problem: A customer who knows s/he has a problem but doesn't know there are solutions to that problem.
  3. Aware of the solution: This type of consumer knows the problem. He knows there are solutions but has not yet opted for one and does not know the product.
  4. Aware of the Product: A consumer who already knows about the goods or services but is still determining if it will solve their problems. In such cases, the merchant needs to work on objections.
  5. Fully aware: Finally, the customer who knows a lot of information about your product is about to buy but needs one last nudge. Understanding how aware potential customers are can help a business. It can guide them to create the right plan to boost sales based on customers’ knowledge. By understanding these five levels of consumer awareness, businesses can ensure they’re getting the right message to the right person at the right time.

As consumers, we also have duties and responsibilities. We must be demanding and inform ourselves about the products we want to acquire. Let us explore the rights and responsibilities of consumers in the following sections.

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Consumer Responsibilities

Being a responsible consumer is crucial to any balanced economy. Now that you know what your rights are, you must be aware of your responsibilities as a consumer

  • Learn about responsible shopping.
  • Find out about products, their prices, and terms before buying.
  • Think before you buy. Look for the best option.
  • Only buy from trusted businesses.
  • Read contracts well before you sign.
  • Don’t sign big money contracts without reading carefully or asking for advice.
  • Check that ads are truthful and clear. What ads say is part of the deal.
  • Don’t accept big money offers without thinking it through. Get the info in writing.
  • Don’t pay for things you didn’t accept.
  • Ask for a refund or compensation if something goes wrong, as the law allows.
  • Keep all purchase records like ads, tickets, forms, receipts, and invoices. They prove you bought something.
  • Be safe when using products or services.
  • Only complain about suppliers when it’s fair to do so.

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Consumer awareness is a key part of a strong economy. Shoppers must know their legal rights and use them when needed. This doesn’t just boost the quality of products made and leads to happier customers and improved customer satisfaction.

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What is consumerism? Give an example.

When a person wants to buy the latest mobile phone model, even though theirs still works perfectly, it is a case of consumerism. Another example of consumerism occurs when large amounts of money are spent on items of clothing that will get little use.

What leads us to be consumers?

Our behavior as both external and internal factors determine consumers. External factors have to do with accessibility, availability and affordability, that is, what products are available and whether or not we can afford them. Internal factors concern one's motivations, preferences, and needs.

How does the brain of a consumer work?

Brains wait for opportunities due to two factors: purchase time and the obligation to purchase. On days like Black Friday, brands position their products as achievable, and that's where they go directly to that part of the brain that looks for opportunities that offer satisfaction.

How to become a conscious consumer?

Identify your needs: you need to buy this for your food consumption, cleaning products, and others. Buy only what you know you will use or consume. Please do not fall into momentary trends. Think about how many times you will use that before buying it.

Who is the conscious consumer, and what makes them so?

It means being more aware of what we buy, where, and how it is made. We consider our needs and future generations' needs when deciding what to buy and how to live. Simply put, it's a more sustainable way of living.

About the Author
Rashmi Karan
Manager - Content

Rashmi is a postgraduate in Biotechnology with a flair for research-oriented work and has an experience of over 13 years in content creation and social media handling. She has a diversified writing portfolio and aim... Read Full Bio