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ISSN: 2278 – 2168

Milestone Education Review


(The Journal of Ideas on Educational & Social
Transformation)
Year 09, No.02 (April, 2018)
(Advance Issue)

Special Issue on
Consumerism
Chief-Editor:
Dr.Desh Raj Sirswal
Guest Editor:
Dr. Manoj Badhwar

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Milestone Education Review (2278-2168)

Milestone Education Review (The Journal of Ideas on Educational & Social


Transformation) is an online peer-reviewed bi-annual journal of Milestone
Education Society (Regd.) Pehowa (Kurukshetra). For us education refers to any act
or experience that has a formative effect on the mind, character, or physical ability
of an individual. The role of education must be as an instrument of social change and
social transformation. Social transformation refers to large scale of social change as
in cultural reforms and transformations. The first occurs with the individual, the
second with the social system. This journal offers an opportunity to all academicians
including educationist, social-scientists, philosophers and social activities to share
their views. Each issue contains about 100 pages.

© Milestone Education Society (Regd.), Pehowa (Kurukshetra)

Chief-Editor: Dr. Desh Raj Sirswal, Assistant Professor (Philosophy), Smt.Aruna


Asaf Ali Govt. P.G.College, Kalka (Panchkula).

Guest-Editor: Dr. Manoj Kumar Badhwar, Associate Professor (Sociology), P.G.Govt.


College for Girls, Sector-11, Chandigarh.

Associate Editors: Dr. Merina Islam, Dr. Poonama Verma

Editorial Advisory Board:

Prof. K.K. Sharma (Former-Pro-Vice-Chancellor, NEHU, Shillong).

Prof. (Dr.) Sohan Raj Tater (Former Vice Chancellor, Singhania University, Rajasthan).

Dr. Dinesh Chahal (Department of Education, Central University of Haryana).

Dr. Manoj Kumar, (P.G. Department of Sociology, P.G.Govt. College for Girls, Sector-11, Chandigarh.)

Dr. Sudhir Baweja (University School of Open Learning,, Panjab University, Chandigarh).

Dr. K. Victor Babu (Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies, Andhra University,
Visakhapatnam).

Dr. Nidhi Verma (Department of Psychology, C.R.S. University, Jind (Haryana).

Dr. Jayadev Sahoo (Jr. Lecturer in Logic & Philosophy, GM Jr. College, Sambalpur, Odisha).

Declaration: The opinions expressed in the articles of this journal are those of the individual authors, and
not necessary of those of the Society or the Editor. Front page picture is downloaded from the Internet.

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In this issue………..

Sr. No. Title and Author Page No.


1. Factors Affecting Consumer’s Choices and 04-11
Decision Making- Balwinder Kaur
2. Consumer Protection Act 1986 and After: 12-28
An Analytical Assessment- Cheena
Gambhir
3. Role of Media in Highlighting Consumer 29-45
Concerns- Harpreet Kaur

4. Green Consumerism – A Boon to the 46-56


Environment- Mona Kapoor & Nisha
Aggarwal
5. Globalisation and consumerism: a 57-68
sociological analysis-Ranjay Vardhan
6. Role of Media in highlighting Consumer 69-77
Affairs- Ritu Mago
7. Role of NGOs in Protection of Consumers- 78-83
Shivani Sharma

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FACTORS AFFECTING CONSUMER’S CHOICES AND DECISION MAKING
Dr.Balwinder Kaur
Associate Professor (English)
G. C. E.-20D, Chandigarh

Abstract
The consumer today has to play the role of consumer as well as of producer. When he is
consumer, he wants to have best quality products in his life and on the other hand when
he is producer he wants to have maximum profit from sale of his product. Family of the
consumers can influence his choices. A family forms the environment for an individual to
acquire values, develop and shape personality. This environment offers the possibility to
develop attitudes and opinions towards several subjects such as social relations, society
and politics. A family creates first perceptions about brands or products and consumer
habits. (Kotler & Armstrong 2010, p. 169; Khan 2006, p. 68.)The consumer faces the
problem what to buy as there are so many products in the market. So decisions cannot be
taken in vacuum. The consumer has to judge the product on the basis of the information
about the product and its brand. This paper highlights the factors affecting the
consumer‟s choice of buying and also throws light on the concept of consumer. The
objective of the paper is to discuss how to take intelligent decisions while purchasing
goods and articles from the market.

Keywords: Consumer, choices, decision making, consumer buyer

Introduction
The ideal economy of the country always works for the welfare of the consumers.
Consumers form an integral part of an economic system. Everyone is a consumer whether
young or old. As soon as one is born one becomes a consumer of food, clothing, shelter,
and water as a person grows older. The things which consumers use are known as
consumer goods and the person who uses them is known as consumer. The consumer
today has to play the role of consumer as well as of producer.

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The philosopher of market forces Smith said that the consumer is the sole end and
purpose of production. Everyone spends money in the market to buy various things of
day to day use to maintain quality of life in terms of good physical and mental health.
Thousands of new products are being launched every year and many more in the market
are changed and modified. The rise in the productivity has increased the demands for
goods and services that have made life easier and pleasant. Changes in the social values
and customs have made yesterday‘s luxuries as today‘s necessities. The market is flooded
with a variety of goods available at competitive prices. Therefore today the consumers
are confused to make a choice. He needs intelligent choice. It is the choice of consumers
that shape the consumption pattern and lead to the development of products and
marketing institutes.
The consumer faces the problem what to buy as there are so many products in the market.
So decisions cannot be taken in vacuum. The consumer has to judge the product on the
basis of the information about the product and its brand. The basic market information is
essential to take a sound decision. The basic information like price of the product, colour
and appearance advertisements should be known to consumer before taking a decision.
The decision is not a simple process. We have to decide between the necessities and
luxuries. When consumers decide upon the relative importance of the wants to be
satisfied the consumer must decide about the commodities and services to use in
satisfying them.
Factors influencing consumers:
Most of the time consumers are not aware about the reasons to buy a product. But there
are a number of factors playing the role in the decision making about the product:
1) Money: -The more income consumer have the more goods they buy. The
quantity of products and goods depends upon the income a person has. It also
impacts on the kinds of goods and services a person can buy. The price of a
product becomes important for consumer when they have more choices. If the
price is high than what a consumer may afford to pay they may not buy the
product. If the consumer has not the enough money he cannot buy the product that
he particularly want to buy.

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2) Fashion: - Fashion influences consumer‘s choice probably more than anything
else except income. The dresses, shoes, cosmetics etc. are the products highly
influenced by fashion. It is also applied to other leisure time activities. It may lead
the consumer to take intelligent decision and not.
3) Custom and Habits: - The custom is a practice that is followed by a group of
people. Custom dictate the way one dresses, eat, and celebrate. Ithas a major
control as it is the part of the society and culture in which one is brought up. A
habit is a tendency to follow a fixed pattern. Consumers have developed a habit to
purchase a particular product of a specified brand and in specific quantity and
quality. The problem is that people follow customs and habits without thinking. It
is therefore advisable to stop and think and question decisions specifically those
based on customs and habits and modify them from time to time.
4) Personal Habits: - Every person selects the product according to their personal
values. If two persons are given money to purchase something in that amount,
both persons will buy different things in that fixed amount. One person may spend
the money on entertainment and other on articles. Therefore values play a
significant role in the way people spend the money.
Sinha (2003) reports that Indian Shoppers seek emotional value more than the
functional value of shopping. Their orientation is based more on the entertainment
value than on the functional value. The orientation is found to be affected
primarily by the type of store, the frequency of buying and to some extent by the
socio-economic classification.

5) Advertisement: - Advertisement is an important factor in the decision making of


consumers. It is the advertisement that tells consumers about the product, quality
and features. Advertising is done through different media like print media,
electronic media and other type of ways like hoardings. The companies spent a lot
of money on the advertisement because they attract the consumers to buy their
products. Brands are appealing to a consumer‘s emotional state by creating
excitement and passion around the brand. (Kotler &Armstrong 2010, pp. 262-
263.)

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Ayanwale et al (2005) conducted research on advertisement of Bournvita, he
found as advertising has a major influence on consumers‘ likeness for Bournvita
food drink. Similar researches have already been conducted for the quality of
Bournvita.

6) Status Symbol:-The more money a consumer has more he will spend on the
products that are the part of his status symbol. Products like Mobiles, Cars
jewellery and clothes etc. are considered as the status symbol and sign of
successfulness. Sometimes this type of expenses is incurred by those consumers
who cannot afford them just to impress others.
7) Packaging: - Today, changes in consumer preferences have led to innovations
and developments in new packaging technology [Dobrucka, 2013, p.108].
Packaging of
product must convey the image that the brand communicates to buyers.
UrsulaHansen (1986) as cited in Clement (2007) describes, ―Packaging as
having specific influence on buying behaviour through three general packaging
aspects: communication, functionality and environment‖ (p.918).

The lack of awareness on the part of consumer and the absence of effective consumer
organizations have acted as constraints on consumer protection. The consumers are not
trained for product evaluation and are not able to distinguish between a good quality and
a poor quality product. Basically the Indian consumers are misinformed and in spite of
various legislation promulgated by the government to protect their rights, it is therefore
imperative that consumers are educated through a comprehensive programme to protect
their interest.
It becomes important to understand various concepts that are used in consumption.
Household is defined as decision- making unit engaged in consumption. It is comparable
with a unit firm on the production side.
Consumer is the person who consumes that means a person who is using up goods and
services for utility.

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Consumer buyer is a person who purchases goods and services for consumption in cash
or other way.
Consuming unit is a unit in which members pool their resources for income and
decisions are taken in terms of its utility for example family. Family is a consuming unit.
Goods are any movable property. Man has wants which need to be satisfied and human
wants are starting points of all economic activities. There are two categories which can
satisfy human wants that is goods and services. Goods means the commodities that we
use and services refer to the work a man may do. Goods are concrete material and
tangible while services are not something tangible or concrete.
In the modern time the concept of protecting consumers has assumed a great relevance.
Consumerism is the name given to the protection of consumers. It is a social movement
to inform consumers so that they can make knowledgeable judgements regarding
purchase of goods and services. The emergence of consumerism is directly related to the
change in the marketing concept.
Mehta and Prasad (1980) observed the marketing concept is offshoot of consumer
dissatisfaction. Moreover the marketing concept and forces labelled consumerism are
incompatible.
Intelligent Decision Making
The consumer faces the problem of choices in the market because of a number of new
commodities which are available in the market and also due to lots of variations in the
market. To improve the purchasing the consumer should follow the following rules:
Plan what to buy-The consumer needs to acquire a wide range of information about the
goods that are available in the market.
The consumer needs to develop the ability to analyse availability of products with regard
to their usefulness.
The consumer needs to understand the fundamental principles that are involved in good
purchasing.
Most consumers spend time on buying items which involve a lot of expenditure and is
purchased at long intervals. Buying is a complex process. Good buying involves answers
of a number of questions such as what to buy, when to buy, how much to buy, where to
buy and how much to pay. Each decision involves weighing of advantages, a balancing of

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benefits against costs, disadvantage in the quality or service. Time, energy and money are
spent in buying hence it is important to know what to buy, where to buy, how to buy to
satisfy the needs of the family.
Planning what to buy requires considerations of the resources, knowing the requirements
and preparing a list. Requirements must be based on this approach- how long item is to
be used, how long it will last, what features are more important. Always study the
products for buying in relation to the characteristics of the different quality and price. The
problem of what to buy involves the selection of items which would best satisfy a
particular want. Intelligent decision can be taken if the consumer has a clear idea of the
uses, adequate idea of what is available in local and in large market and know what
constitutes the good quality.
Plan when to buy- A lot of variations in prices are to be seen in products at different
times. While deciding when to buy the factors to be kept in mind are money and energy.
Time is valuable for everyone. It requires time to get money‘s worth. Lack of patience
costs more money. It is always wise to put off purchase until one has enough time to do
justice to purchase. Waiting for right time will give a chance to get best values.
Plan where to buy-One of the decisions which the consumers have to make is to choose
the shop or the agency from where to buy a product. There are a number of sites offering
the products and the consumer needs to compare the price and quality of the product.
Consumers have the options for purchase: door to door selling, tele-shopping, on –line
shopping and vending machines.
Plan how much to buy-Points to consider are need, use, durability, saving by buying in
bulk, convenience in purchasing as needed. Generally purchasing goods in large
quantities are beneficial when the storage cost is involved. When the price is high it is
wise to buy as much as the family needs.
Do not stock goods because they will become cheaper in future. The products that the
consumers buy in seasonal sale poses special problem. Sometimes prices are marked up
before sale, outdated and poor quality items are kept on sale. So consumers should take
care to check quality before purchasing the products from sale.
Plan what price to pay

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This problem arises when products apparently same in quality and quantity is offered at
different prices in different stores. The price consumer pays depends not so much on the
reasonableness of price asked but upon how much the article is worth. The consumer
alone can decide because everyone has to decide on the basis of their needs.
Consumers today have a great variety of goods and services from which he has to choose.
They can buy all kinds of products of different models, colours, sizes and prices. So
selection of the products from so many alternatives is very difficult. Consumer has to
take careful decision in making the selection of the products. So careful decision making
is essential. The intelligent decision is to have all alternatives compare in terms of quality
and cost before taking the final decision.

References:
 Ayanwale, A. B., Alimi, T. &Ayanbimipe, M. A. (2005). The Influence of
Advertising on Consumer Brand Preference. Journal of Social Science, 10(1), 9-
16.Retrieved from
https://www.researchgate.net/publication/241766264_Effective_advertising_and_
its_influence_on_consumer_buying_behavior.
 Clement, J. (2007). Visual Influence on In-store Buying Decisions: An Eye-Track
Experiment on The Visual Influence of Packaging Design. Journal of Marketing
Management, 23(9/10), 917-928.
 Dobrucka, R. (2013). The Future of Active and Intelligent Packaging Industry.
Logforum, 9(2), 103-110. [12] Gardner, M. (1985). Mood States and Consumer
Behavior: A Critical Review. Journal of Consumer Research, 12(3), 281-300.
 Kotler, P. & Armstrong, G. (2010). Principles of Marketing. Pearson Education.
Thirteenth Edition. New Jersey. Retrieved from
https://www.researchgate.net/publication/268747644_How_Consumer_Decision_
Making_Process_Differ_From_Youngster_to_Older_Consumer_Generation.
 Mehta, S.C. & Prasad,K. (1980). Introduction: Marketing (Environment,
Concepts and Cases). New Delhi: Tata McGraw Hill publishing Co. Ltd.

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 Sinha, Piyush K. (2003). ―Shopping Orientation in the Evolving Indian Market‖,
Vikalpa, Vol 28 (2), pp 13–22. Retrieved from
http://www.vikalpa.com/pdf/articles/2003/2003_apr_jun_013_022.pdf

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CONSUMER PROTECTION ACT 1986 AND AFTER: AN ASSESSMENT

Dr.Cheena Gambhir
Associate Professor
Department of Public Administration,
PGGCG-11, Chandigarh

Introduction

Every person who buys or hires goods or services for personal use is a consumer. But the
plight of the consumer in developing countries is not that of a sovereign but that of a
helpless non- entity ignored by the business organizations and neglected by the state.
More often so because he is unorganized and cannot fight against the powerful large-
scale organizations. Hence the average consumer in India is faced on the one hand, with
inflation and the resultant price rise of even essential commodities and on the other hand,
with unfair and deceptive practices such as selling of defective or sub- standard goods,
charging exorbitant prices, adulteration, incomplete information about the product,
negligence in meeting the safety standards, short- weighting and the like. He is also prone
to exploitation by the government itself in most of the public utility services be it
telecommunications, electricity, banking, road transport or insurance. It, therefore,
became necessary to evolve statutory measures to make producers/ traders more
accountable to consumers. It also became inevitable for consumers to unite on a common
platform to deal with issues of common concern and having their grievances redressed
satisfactorily. Hence the present paper is an attempt to analyse the development and
growth of the legislation in the present context.

Objective of the study:


1.To study and analyse the Consumer Protection Act,1986.
2.To plug loopholes and suggest measures for better protection of interest of consumers.

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Significance of the study
One of the Directive Principles in the Indian Constitution is that state shall direct its
policy towards securing that the operation of the economic system does not result in the
concentration of wealth and means of production to the common detriment. Towards this
end, various economic and welfare legislations have been passed by the government. In
India, the general enactments other than the law of torts, which ultimately aimed at
protection of consumers‘ interests are the Contract Act, 1872; the sale of Goods Act,
1930; the Dangerous Drugs Act, 1930; the Agricultural Produce (Grading and Marketing)
Act, 1937; the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940; the Indian Standards Institution
(Certification Marks) Act, 1952; the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act. 1954; the
Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act, 1954; the Essential
Commodities Act, 1955; the Standards of Weights and Measures Act, 1976, the Trade
and Merchandise Marks Act, 1958; the Patents Act, 1970; the Hire Purchase Act 1972
and the Prevention of Black Marketing and Maintenance of Supplies of Essential
Commodities Act, 1980.
These legislations contained regulatory provision and contravention of these provisions
attracted civil liability. Therefore, it became necessary to evolve a law directed at
protecting the consumers providing for remedies which were simpler, more accessible,
quicker and less expensive.

Consumer Protection Act, 1986


The main purpose of the Act is to protect and promote the interest of consumers for
which it provides the formulation of Consumer Protection Councils at the Central and
State level. The main objective of these councils is to create awareness regarding the
rights of consumers and develop widespread, responsive and responsible consumer
movement in the country.

Consumers’ Rights
The interests and rights of the consumers which this Act protects, include:
a) the right to be protected against marketing of goods, which are hazardous to life and
property;

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b) the right to be informed about the quality, quantity, potency, purity, standard and price
of goods to protect the consumer against unfair trade practices;
c) the right to access to a variety of goods at competitive prices;
d) the right to be heard and to be assured that consumers‘ interests will receive due
consideration at appropriate forums;
e) the right to seek redressal against unfair trade practices unscrupulous exploitation of
consumers; and,
f) the right to consumer education.

Methodology
The study is fully based on the secondary data gathered from the interpretation of the
consumer protection law from various books, pronouncements, journals, news papers etc.

Discussion and Analysis of the study


The Consumer Protection Act, 1986 provides for setting up the Consumer
Protection Councils at the Central, State level and District level along with the
National Commission, State Commission and the District Forum. The main
objective is to protect the rights of the consumers. These councils act as catalyst
or change so that the present market system functions for the welfare of the
consumers and for satisfying their needs rather than being subservient to the
interest of the industrialists and monopolists.

The Central Council has constituted a Working Group from amongst its
members. Its findings are placed before the Council for consideration. The
resolution by the Council is recommendatory in nature. The Central Council is
constituted every three years. However, there is no provision either under the Act
or the Consumer Protection Rules, 1987 as to the renewal of the term of the
Council. Then, if any member wishes to resign from the council he can give his
resignation in writing to the Chairman of the Central Council. But the vacancies
so caused are filled from the same category by the Central Government and that

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person holds office so long as the member whose place he filled would have been
entitled to hold office if the vacancy had not occurred.

Moreover, the Chairman of the Central Council calls for a meeting and time and
place is fixed. At least one meeting is called every year but it is entitled to hold
as many meetings as it deems necessary. A notice in writing with a gap of 10
days is sent to the members prescribing the place and day and hour of the
meeting. It consists of the statement of business to be transacted in that meeting.
The meeting of the Central Council is presided over by the Chairman of the
Council. In the absence of the Chairman, the Vice-Chairman takes over the
Council. However, in the absence of both the chair man and the Vice -Chairman,
the Central Council elects a member to preside over the meeting of the Council.
Any resolution in the meeting is passed by simple majority but the resolution so
passed is recommendatory in nature and has no binding upon the authorities
concerned with the enforcement of the provisions of the Act. However, the
decisions of the Council do have persuasive value.

Similarly, the State Council consists of a Minister in-charge of Consumer Affairs


in the State Government who is the Chairman and other official and non -official
members representing various interests. The number of members is prescribed by
the State Government, therefore, it can vary from state to state. It can meet as
and when necessary but not less than two meetings should be held every year.
The procedure to be observed in regard to the transaction of its business at such
meetings is prescribed by the State Government itself. It can meet as and when
necessary but not less than two meetings should be held every year. The
procedure to be observed in regard to the transaction of its business at such
meetings is prescribed by the State Government itself.

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Composition and Powers of Consumer Disputes Redressal Agencies

Under the provisions of the Act, the National Commission is at the apex of the
Consumer Disputes Redressal Agencies and it enjoys original, appellate and
revisional jurisdictions over whole of India. The National Commission consists
of a President, who is a Judge of the Supreme Court and four other members one
of whom is a woman. The four other persons should have ability, integrity and
standing with adequate knowledge or experience of at least ten year s relating to
economics, law, commerce, accountancy, industry, public affairs or
administration to be appointed as members of the Commission .

The members of the National Commission hold office for a term of five years or
up to seventy years of age. The Central Government also appoints functionaries
to assist the National Commission in its day to day working. It also fixes the
Salary or honorarium and other allowances payable to the members. The salary
payable to such staff is charged on the Consolidated Fund of India.

The powers ensure the manufacturers, distributors and importers to comply with
the safety provisions and to pay compensation for injuries caused due to defect in
a product or deficiency in service. The National Commission enjoys jurisdiction
to entertain complaints where the value of the goods or services and the
compensation claimed exceeds rupees one crore. It can entertain appeals against
the orders of any State Commission and call for the records and pass appropriate
orders in any consumer dispute which is pending before it. Also, if it has been
decided by any State Commission where it appears to the National Commission
that such State Commission has exercised a jurisdiction not vested in it by law or
has failed to exercise a jurisdiction so vested.

Next to the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission is the State


Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission. The Consumer Protection Act, 1986
provides for the setting up of State Consumer Redressal Commissions in each

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State and Union Territory. The State Commission consists of a President and two
members. The President of the Commission is a Judge of a High Court. Two
other members, having adequate knowledge and experience are appointed as
members and one of them is a woman. However, the appointment of the
President is made only after consultation with the Chief Justice of the High
Court. Every appointment is made by the State Government on the
recommendation of a Selection Committee. The members of the State
Commission hold office for a term of five years or up to sixty- seven years of
age. It also fixes the Salary or honorarium and other allowances payable to the
members.

The State Commission can entertain complaints where the nature of the goods or
services and the compensation, claimed exceeds rupees twenty lakhs but does not
exceed rupees one crore. The State Commission also has the jurisdiction to
entertain appeals against the orders of any District Forum within the State. It can
call for the records and pass appropriate orders in any consumer dispute which is
pending before or has been decided by any District Forum within the State. If it
appears to it that such District Forum has exercised a power rightfully vested in
it by law or has acted illegally or with material irregularity. Henc e, like the
National Commission the State Commissions‘ jurisdiction also is original,
appellate or revisional. However, the State Commission can reverse the orders
passed by the District Forum on any question of fact or law made by the Forum.

In respect of the original jurisdiction of the State Commission no territorial


limits have been fixed under the Act though the provision contained in Section
II(2) of the Act apply to the matters of entertaining original complaints by the
State Commission. The jurisdiction of the State Commission therefore extends to
the territorial limits of the State.

In the exercise of its appellate jurisdiction, the State Commission can entertain
appeals only against the orders of any District Forum within the state. Similar

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condition also applies in respect of the State Commission‘s power to revise
orders of the District Forum, only orders of the District Forum within the State
are subject to revision by the State Commission

The Act provides for the establishment of a District F orum by the State
Government in each district of the State. The State Government can establish
more than one District Forum in a district. . The District Forum consists of the
President of the Forum who is a qualified District Judge with two other members,
having ability, integrity and standing, and adequate knowledge or experience of
at least ten years in dealing with the problems relating to economics, law,
commerce, accountancy, industry, public affairs or administration and one of
them is a woman.

Jurisdiction means the extent of the authority to administer justice not only with
reference to the subject matter of suit but also to the territorial and pecuniary
limits. The District Forum entertains complainants where the value of the goods
or the services and the compensation, claimed is not more than rupees twenty
lakhs. The pecuniary jurisdiction depends upon the amount of relief claimed and
not upon the value of the subject matter, nor upon the relief allowed by the
Forum. Moreover, the complaint so instituted in the District Forum should be
within the local limits of whose jurisdiction the opposite party at the time of
institution of the complaint actually resides.

Procedure of receipt of complaint

The National Commission exercises similar powers whil e entertaining a


complaint and in settling consumer disputes as that of a Civil The Amendment
Act of 1993 made certain modifications under which the National Commission
continues to have the powers of a Civil Court in the disposal of any complaints
or of any proceedings before it. It has also been vested the power to issue an
order to the opposite party to do any one or more of the things referred in the

18
Act. It has further been laid down that the National Commission is to follow the
procedure prescribed by the Central Government. There are no material
differences in the provisions of the 1986 Act laying down procedure for the
District Forum and the State Commission on the one hand and the procedure
prescribed by the Central Government for the National Commi ssion on the other.

Complaint Procedure for the National Commission


For filing a complaint in the National Commission under the Consumer
Protection Rules, 1987 as amended in 2002 of the Central Government, it must
contain the following particulars: -
a) the name, description and address of the complainant.
b) the name, description and address of the opposite party or parties.
c) the facts relating to the complaint and when and where it arose.
d) documents in support of the allegation contained in the comp laint.
e) the relief which the complainant claims.
f) Such amount of fee as specified through a crossed Indian Postal Order
in favour of the Registrar of the State Commission.

It has also been mentioned in the Rules, that the procedure for the disposal of its
complaints is similar to the District Forum. It is provided that it is obligatory on
the parties or their agents to appear before the National Commission on the dates
fixed for hearing. Where the complainant or his agent fails to appear before the
National Commission, the Commission has been given power to either dismiss
the complaint for default or decide on its merits. Where the opposite party makes
any such default the National Commission decides the complain t ex-parte.

Further, the National Commission has the power to adjourn the hearing at any
stage of the proceedings. However, a complaint has to be decided within a
period of three months from the date of receipt of notice by the opposite party
in cases where a complaint does not require analysis or testing of commodities
et al, and within five months if it requires testing. It is thus, required that

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proceedings under the Redressal Agencies are time bound and these agencies
are to dispose of cases within the stipulated time.
In connection with the settlement of complaints within the stipulated period,
prior to the amendment of the Act in 1991, every order made by a District
Forum was to be necessarily signed by all the members constituting it. This
particular section acted as a major hurdle in the functioning of the Redressal
Agencies. Since the three members seldom used to sit together, the decision in
a large number of cases used to be withheld on account of any one member‘s
absence and the Redressal Agencies could hardly decide cases within the
stipulated period of 90 days. Thus a major modification was made in section
14(2) by the amendment in 1991. It modified that where the member, is unable
to conduct the proceeding, the President and the other member c onducts the
proceedings de novo. Moreover, where the proceeding is conducted by the
President and one member and they differ on any point or points, the same is
referred to the other member for hearing and the decision is taken according to
the opinion of that member.

Complaint Procedure for the State Commission and the District Forum

The State Commission can entertain complaints where the nature of the goods or
services and the compensation, claimed exceeds rupees twenty lakhs but does not
exceed rupees one crore. The State Commission also has the jurisdiction to
entertain appeals against the orders of any District Forum within the State.
Similar to the National Commission, the State Commission‘s jurisdiction also is
original, appellate or revision. The District Forum entertains complaints where
the compensation claimed is not more than rupees twenty lakhs.

Section 12 of the 1986 Act, which has been considerably modified by the
Consumer Protection (Amendment) Act 1993, lays down the following procedure
for filing a complaint before the District Forum: -
a) Any consumer to whom goods have been sold;

20
b) Any recognized consumer association, whether the consumer to whom
the goods are sold is a member of association or not;
c) One or more consumers, where there are numerous Consumers having the
same interest;
d) The Central or the State Government.
Thus, four types of complainants have been given locus standi under the Act to
file a complaint. However, the greatest step that the government has taken
through the Amendment Act of 1993 is the introduction of the new provision. It
provides that one or a few consumers can file complaints on behalf of even a
large number of consumers having a similar cause of action and interested to be
represented by others.

Similarly, the already existing provisions enabling the Central and State
Governments to file a complaint is indeed a progressive step. As regards the
procedure, any complaint related to unfair trade practice, restrictive trade
practice, defect in goods, deficiency in service, excessive price charged, or sale
of products hazardous to life and safety, the District Forum or State Commission
directs the opposite party to give their version of the case. If more than one party
is involved, all of them is given a copy of the complaint. Ordinarily, the opposite
party files a reply within a period of thirty days in appropriate cases depending
upon the circumstances. If the opposite party admits the allegations levelled
against them, the Consumer Disputes Redressal Agency disposes the complaint
on the basis of the materials on record. However, if they deny or dispute the
allegation contained in the complaint, or fail to take any action to represent their
case within the stipulated time, the Consumer Disputes Redressa l Agency
proceeds to settle the consumer dispute in the following specified manner.

Procedure Relating to Defects in Goods


There can be two types of situations, as far as, the complaint procedure relating
to goods is concerned:
a) when the testing of products is essential, and

21
b) when such testing is not essential.
For instance, where the complainant alleges a defect in the goods which
cannot be determined without proper analysis or test of the goods, the District
Forum or State Commission obtains a sample of the goods from the complainant,
seal it, and authenticate it in the manner prescribed. The sealed sample is sent to
an appropriate laboratory along with the direction authorizing that laboratory to
make an analysis or test whichever is necessary. This is done with a view to find
out whether such goods actually suffered from any defect. The laboratory is
required to report its findings thereon to the District Forum or State Commission
within a period of 45 days. Once again, the Redressal Ageny‘s have t he authority
to extend this period of 45 days in appropriate cases.

It may also be mentioned that before any sample of the goods is referred to any
appropriate laboratory, the agencies may require the complainant to deposit the
specified fees to the credit of the District Forum or State Commission. It further
makes payment to the laboratory for carrying out the necessary analysis or test in
relation to the goods in question. The District Forum, in turn, remits the said
amount to the laboratory. On receipt of the report from the laboratory, the copy
of the report is forwarded to the opposite party along with the remarks.

If any of the parties disputes the correctness of the findings of the appropriate
laboratory, or disputes the correctness of the methods o f analysis or test adopted
by the appropriate laboratory, the District Forum or State Commission gives
reasonable opportunity to both parties to express their objections. After hearing
them, the Redressal Agencies‘s can issue appropriate orders.

The term ‗appropriate laboratory‘ has also undergone change in the 1993
amendment. Originally, the Act defined the term laboratory as a laboratory or
organisation recognized by the Central Government. It did not include a
laboratory that was maintained, financed or aided by the Central Government or
State Government for carrying out analysis of any goods with a view to

22
determining whether such goods suffered from any defect. In this connection it
maintains that whereas the above definition has also been retained in the
amended Act, two new sub-clauses have been inserted. As per clause (i) the
‗appropriate laboratory‘ also means any laboratory or organisation recognized by
the Central Government; and according to clause (ii) it also includes any
laboratory or organisation recognized by the State Government, subject to the
guidelines of the Central Government. Thus, the long -standing demand of the
consumer organisations that the District Forums should also recognize the
product testing in the independent laboratories was accepted by the amendment
of 1993.

In those cases where product testing is not required, the Consumer Disputes
Redressal Agency refers the complaint to the opposite parties, directing them to
give their version within a period of 30 days. If the opposit e party disputes the
allegation contained in the complaint, or fails to take any action to represent
their case within the stipulated period, the District Forum or State Commission
disposes of the complaint on the basis of the evidence brought to its notic e by the
parties. However, where the opposite party fails to take any action to represent
the case within the stipulated period, the dispute is resolved on the basis of the
evidence tendered by the complainant alone.

Procedure Relating to Deficiency in Services

The procedure for disposal of any complaint relating to defects in goods, where
it is not possible to refer the sample of goods for testing in the laboratory is
considered as deficiency in services. After referring a copy of the complaint to
the opposite party for its comments, which must be received by the District
Forum or State Commission within 30 days, the complaint is disposed of on the
basis of the evidence tendered by the parties. In case of failure of the opposite
party to represent its case, the case is disposed of on the basis of evidence
tendered by the complainant.

23
In order to dispose of the complaints in a speedy manner, the rules framed by
the various states provide that it is obligatory on the complainant and opposite
party or his authorized agent to appear before the State Commission. The State
Commission has the power to dismiss the complaint in default or decide it on
merits. If it is opposite party‘s default, the District Forum or State Commission
decides the complaint ex-parte. The Redressal Agency‘s may, at any stage,
adjourn the hearing but not more than one adjournment is ordinarily given and
the complaint has to be decided within 90 days from the date of notice received
by the opposite party in cases in which testing of goods is not necessary. Where
testing is involved, the limit is 150 days. At present, there is no power vested in
the Redressal Agencies to transfer cases in situation of personal bias, prejudice
or allegation of malafide. In order to provide for such a continge ncy, it is
suggested that these agencies should be empowered with power to transfer
cases on the line contained in Section 24 of Civil Procedure Code.

Appeal against the orders of the National Commission

Any person aggrieved by an order made by the National Commission can appeal
against the order to the Supreme Court within a period of thirty days from the
date of the order. The Supreme Court can entertain an appeal after the expiry of
the set period of thirty days only if it is satisfied that there was sufficient cause
for not filing it within that period. The National Commission, in several appeals
filed before it, has advised the Forums to move away from hyper -technicalities,
but the judicial members continue to treat the redressal agencies like any ci vil
court.

Enforcement of Orders of the Consumer Disputes Redressal Agencies

The provisions regarding the enforcement of the orders made by the Redressal
Agency‘s and the imposition of penalties in the event of their violations have

24
been incorporated in Section 25 and 27 of the Act respectively. Section 25, lays
down that every order made by the Redressal Agency‘s may be enforced by them
in the same manner as if it were a decree or an order made by a court in a
pending suit. It further says that in the event of their inability to execute their
orders, it is lawful for the Redressal Ageny‘s to send such orders for their
execution to the court within the local limits. By local limits it means, in whose
jurisdiction an individual voluntarily resides or personally works for gain or a
business corporation is situated, against whom any order has been passed
respectively.

According to Section 27, where a trader or a person against whom a complaint is


made fails to comply with any order made by the Redressal Agen cy‘s, the trader
or person is punished with imprisonment for a term which is not less than one
month. It can also be extended to three years or with fine which is not less than
two thousand rupees but which may extend to ten thousand rupees, or with both.
Prior to the amendment of 1993, the word ‗complainant‘ was not there in this
section. Thus, in the event of non-compliance with the order of the Redressal
Agency‘s, now even the complainant can be punished with imprisonment, fine or
both, for a term lesser than the minimum term and an amount lesser than the
minimum amount. Thus the main purpose behind the provisions contained under
Section 27 of the Act is to seek compliance with the orders passed by the
redressal agencies.

An Assessment of the Act

The objective of the act was to protect and cater the needs of a common man but over the
years the dimension and scope of the act has increased manifolds. There is need to
expand the scope of ‗consumer rights‘

1. Right to healthy environment

25
Consumers should be protected from the devastating effects of air, earth, and water
pollution that may result from the performance of daily marketplace operations.
Consumers have the right to live and work in an environment that does not threaten the
well-being of present and future generations.

2. Right to satisfaction of basic needs


to have access to basic, essential goods and services: adequate food, clothing, shelter,
health care, education, public utilities, water and sanitation.

There is need to impose complementary duties for consumers to enjoy consumer rights
such as:
1. Critical awareness - consumers must be awakened to be more questioning about
the provision of the quality of goods and services.
2. Involvement or action - consumers must assert themselves and act to ensure that
they get a fair deal.
3. Social responsibility - consumers must act with social responsibility, with
concern and sensitivity to the impact of their actions on other citizens, in
particular, in relation to disadvantaged groups in the community and in relation to
the economic and social realties prevailing.
4. Ecological responsibility - there must be a heightened sensitivity to the impact of
consumer decisions on the physical environment, which must be developed to a
harmonious way, promoting conservation as the most critical factor in improving
the real quality of life for the present and the future.
5. Solidarity - the best and most effective action is through cooperative efforts
through the formation of consumer/citizen groups who together can have the
strength and influence to ensure that adequate attention is given to the consumer
interest.

As proposed in 2015 Amendment Bill the formation of Central Consumer Protection


Authority to file class action law suits may lead to a parallel jurisdiction. It would not
only be just an investigating authority but also an adjudicating body.

26
It is suggested that attempt should be made to de- bureaucratize the Forums and to make
non-political appointments of members and perhaps members from NGO‘s should be
roped in to protect the interest of the consumers.

Efforts should also be made to empower the Consumer Forums by appointing the
President and members where posts are vacant and also perhaps appoint a Vice-President
instead of increasing the number of members to preside over in the absence of a
President.

The draft bill provides for mediation as a mechanism to resolve the disputes. Introduction
of such a provision means to strike a compromise where a consumer‘s interest may be
hampered. Mediation is being proposed as an alternate dispute redressal mechanism.
Then, Mediation cells are required to be set up at District, State and National level.

At present there is no express mention under Section 27 that the order or fine or warrant
of arrest issued by a Commission or Forum is deemed to be an order or warrant issued by
a competent criminal court and should be executed and enforced as such by the police
authorities. It is, therefore, necessary that this amplification of Section 27 should be made
in the interest of removing doubts and difficulties.

Consumers will be benefited by getting speedy and inexpensive justice without


involvement of advocates

Complaint should be heard expeditiously within 3 months period from the receipt of
notice by the Opposite party, also reasons to be recorded for each adjournment, costs to
be ordered for granting adjournments. Also, Forum should record the reasons for the
complaint that is disposed after the prescribed period

27
To make the punitive damages awarded under this provision deterrent enough to
discourage the other party to repeat the offence and to deter the companies to go in for
appeal against the order of the District Forum

To enforce product liability against manufacturers and even make them recall the product
from the entire market. In order to enforce product liability, a claimant must establish
four kinds of defects in the product, the injury caused from it, and that it belonged to the
manufacturer.

Conclusion

A robust consumer protection framework will give impetus to a strong consumer-driven


economy. The Consumer Protection Bill, 2015 fills gaps which were not addressed by the
pre-liberalization era Consumer Protection Act, 1986. However, there is a need to look
into the feedback and concerns voiced by various stakeholders like Farmers and small
scale manufacturers as certain concerns have still remain unaddressed.

Notes and References:


1. Aggarwal, V.K., Consumer Protection Law and Practice, BLH Publishers Private
Ltd, New Delhi, 1993.
2. Girimaji, Pushpa, Consumer Rights for Everyone, Penguin Books, New Delhi,
1999.
3. Goel, S.L., Public Administration Theory and Practice, Deep and Deep
Publications Pvt. Ltd., .New Delhi, 2003.
4. Singh, Gurjit, The Law of Consumer Protection in India Justice within Reach.
Deep and Deep Publications, New Delhi, 1999.

28
ROLE OF MEDIA IN HIGHLIGHTING CONSUMER CONCERNS

Harpreet Kaur
Asst. Prof. Dept. of Sociology
S.G.G.S College, Sector -26
Chandigarh

Abstract
Media plays a vital role in setting up amicable relations between traders and buyers.
Now people are becoming conscious and rational on the one hand whereas on the other
hand, they are becoming „slaves of consumerism‟. Marcuse argues that “advanced
industrial society” created „false needs‟, which integrated individuals into the existing
system of production and consumption via mass media, advertising, industrial
management and contemporary modes of thought. This results in a “one- dimensional”
universe of thought and behaviour. Veblen‟s‟ Theory of the Leisure Class is a treatise on
economics and a detailed, social critique of conspicuous consumption, as a function of
social class and of consumerism. The consumers have also benefitted as a result of
Globalisation. This paper attempts to explore Media‟s role in highlighting consumer
concerns. The consumer once the „King of the Market‟ has become the victim of it.
KEYWORDS- Media, Slaves of consumerism, Conspicuous Consumption.

INTRODUCTION
Mass Media are all those media technologies that are intended to reach a large audience
by mass communication. The core meaning of Mass Media is Communication. Broadcast
media (also known as electronic media) transmit their information electronically and
comprise television, radio, film, movies etc. The organizations that control these
technologies, such as television stations are also known as mass media. Internet media is
also included in mass media services as it facilitates communication through emails,
websites, blogging, social networking etc. Mass Media is used to communicate to large
number of people. It is a useful method for raising an issue, encouraging debate and for
making an issue more salient. The information is presented through various media and

29
the public can generally choose to read, listen, view or disregard the material offered.
Media has played a vital role in order to focus on the social issues in almost every era.
The medium of Mass Communication always had a multiple impact on the mass. It has a
decisive impact on moulding the public opinion, on the prevailing trends of fashion in the
society and so and so forth. The recent technologies termed as „New Media‟ such as
cellular phones, satellite computers, electronic mail and the internet have take the globe
as mass media. Newspapers and Magazines offer wider variety of reading material and
viewpoints of many people and thus provide better comprehension of the affairs and
issues. They provide better comprehension of the affairs and issues. They provide space
for expression of their views and grievances in reader‘s columns. Thus, providing for
feedback component of effective communication process. This generates debates on
various social and other issues. Thus, print media serve as social vitalizer. Mass
communication systems are central to our lives- our understanding of the world (or lack
of) is largely determined by mass communication. The media have facilitated a range of
cultural, social and political shifts have re- shaped social relations throughout history-
think of the power of film, T.V and music to influence fashion, social norms and values,
politics- the use of mass communication for political organization. The media provides a
basis for our shared norms, knowledge, values, collective experience and awareness.
Changing Media uses, content, industrial practices, technologies, controversies can tell us
something about our changing historical, political and cultural conditions. Mass
communication systems can promote or inhibit democratic processes, sustainable
economic growth, community and cultural identity- a responsible news media provides us
with the information we need. Mass media is a significant force in modern culture.
Sociologists refer to this as a mediated culture where media reflects and creates the
culture. Communities and individuals are bombarded constantly with messages from a
multitude of sources including T.V, billboards, and magazines to name a few. These
messages promote not only products, but moods, attitudes, and a sense of what is and is
not important. Mass Media makes possible the concept of celebrity: without the ability of
movies, magazines, and news media to reach across thousands of miles, people could not
become famous. In fact, only political and business leaders, as well as few notorious

30
outlaws, were famous in the past. Only in recent times have actors, singers and other
social elites become celebrities or ―stars‖.
OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
 To find out whether media has considered consumer exploitation as a serious
socio- economic evil.
 To know, as to what kind of awakening is created by media towards socio-
evil of Consumer exploitation.

MASS MEDIA AND CONSUMERISM


Media plays a vital role in setting up amicable relations between traders and buyers.
Today‘s era is an era of consumers. We all are consumer‘s in one form or another.
Consumer is a person who purchases goods and services for personal use.
Consumerism is the organized form of efforts from different individuals, groups,
governments and various related organizations which helps to protect the consumer
from unfair practices and to safeguard their rights. The growth of consumerism has
led to many organizations improving their services to the customer. Consumerism is a
social and economic order and ideology that encourages the acquisition of goods and
services in ever- increasing amounts. Advertisements and Media in general plays a
big role in this. People are bombarded with thousands of advertisements in a day.
Media plays a vital role to aware consumers through advertisements and various other
sources about Consumer rights as Human rights, Jago Grahak Jago, Consumer
Protection Act etc. Now people are becoming conscious and rational on the one hand
whereas on the other hand, they are becoming ―slaves of consumerism”.
Conspicuous consumption is the purchase of goods or services for the specific
purpose of displaying one's wealth. Conspicuous consumption is a means to show
one‘s social status, especially when the goods and services publicly displayed are too
expensive for other members of a person's class. This type of consumption is
typically associated with the wealthy but can also apply to any economic class. The
concept of consumerism stems from conspicuous consumption.

Today whole economic system is based on consumption. The more people buy,
the more money is in circulation, and that‘s what some economists suggest is best for

31
a society. This belief, combined with the marketing techniques from big
corporations who brainwash people through advertising into wanting to buy their
products, has turned them into mindless consumers, who always want to buy stuff,
whether they truly need them or not. Most of the people think that they are not
victims of consumerism, but in reality, they are, but can‘t realize it because of the
kind of society they‘ve been used to live. Following are the basic revealing signs that
will help people find out if they are a slave to consumerism:

 Seeking happiness in consumption- One of the most revealing signs of one


who is a slave to consumerism is that he or she is seeking for personal
gratification through the act of buying products. To them, shopping is a kind
of psychological ―therapy‖ that allows them to forget themselves and fill their
lives with the things that they are consuming. However, little do they know
that objects cannot truly bring them happiness. On the contrary, most of the
times the more they buy the more empty, sad and disappointed they feel, since
objects can only give them temporarily pleasure.
 Buying only expensive brands- Another sign showing that people might be a
slave to consumerism if they always focus on buying famous or expensive
brands. They don‘t care about buying products that they truly need and that
are efficient, but they buy those brands that make themselves feel that they are
important, as advertising has made them believe.
 Proliferation of wants- The desires of those who are victims to consumerism
are insatiable — they want more and more things, and no matter how many
they have, they still need more. This insatiability is an obvious sign that a
person is a slave to consumerism, a prisoner of his own desire. If people find
themselves always desiring to buy more products, then that‘s something they
need to look into. Maybe the products people buy are just a substitute of what
they truly need, and a substitute can never be good enough to fulfil them, no
matter how big its quantity is or how much it costs.

32
The consumer who was once the „King of the market‟ has becoming „victim‟ of it. In
the present scenario consumer is becoming a victim of unethical tactics adopted by the
market. Consumer is often cheated in the quality, quantity and price of the goods and
services. In recent years, there has been a greater public concern over the consumer
protection issues all over the world.

THEORETICAL PERSPECTIVES
 Karl Marx‘s, Capitalism is a system of production has usurped the role of ‗free
press‘ and created a mass media framework to bombard proletarians with sneaky,
subliminal ways- this is how it manufactures demand for the product it produces-
by indoctrinating the entire population into a consumer culture.
 The Theory of the Leisure Class: An Economic study of institution 1899, by
Thorstein Veblen, is a treatise on economics and a detailed, social critique of
conspicuous consumption, as a function of social class and of consumerism,
derived from the social stratification of people and the division of labour, which
are social institutions of the feudal period (9th- 15th century) that have continued to
the modern era. That the contemporary lords of the manor, the businessmen who
own the means of production, have employed themselves in the economically
unproductive practices of conspicuous consumption and consumption leisure,
which are useless activities that contribute neither to the economy nor to the
material production of the useful goods and services required for the functioning
of society. People only buy brands not the products. They only interested in the
labels i.e. the product belongs to the so and so brand and of the country.
 Marcuse, in his main work One- Dimensional Man: Studies in the ideology of
Advanced Industrial Society, 1964 argues that ―advanced industrial society‖
created ‗false needs‘, which integrated individuals into the existing system of
production and consumption via mass media, advertising, industrial management
and contemporary modes of thought. Society is controlled by ‗false needs‘.
Marcuse argues that the ‗consumerist society‘ is the principal culprit of making
individual slave to false needs. Individual in society begin to look at his own
needs in a changed manner and (false) needs are being produced, added this to a

33
pressure of consumerism. Marcuse talks of mass production; mass distribution
and individual becomes the consumer of commodity. Thus, commodity becomes a
way of life. Hence capitalism represses the inner desires, results in manipulation
and destruction of freedom. The submission of the individual to the system of
control and domination in the advanced industrial society is a modern form of
slavery. The techno- rational Mass media create false needs amongst individuals.
They all become ‗one- dimensional‘ in thought and action results in a ―one-
dimensional‖ universe of thought and behaviour, in which aptitude and ability for
critical thought and oppositional behaviour wither away.

THE NEW MEANS OF CONSUMPTION


The rise of the ―new means of consumption‖ in the United States in the more than the
half century since the end of World War-II (Ritzer 1999). McDonald‘s (and more
generally the fast- food industry) is one of the new means of consumption, but there
are many others, such as shopping malls, megamalls (e.g. Mall of America),
cybermalls, superstores, cruise lines, Las Vegas casino- hotels, Disney- type theme
parks, and so on.
The concept of the new means of consumption is derived from the work of Karl
Marx. Marx focused mainly on production; that is, he had a productivity bias. Given
the realities that he was dealing with- the early days of the industrial revolution and
capitalism- a focus on production in general, and the means of production in
particular. However, in recent years, to the degree that production and consumption
can be clearly separated, production has grown increasingly less important (for
instance fewer workers are involved in goods production), especially in the United
States, while consumption has grown in importance (more people work in
consumption- related service jobs and many more spend a large portion of their
leisure time consuming). In such a society, it makes sense to shift our focus from the
means of production to the means of consumption.
Marx had a great deal to say about consumption, especially in his well- known
work on commodities. Much less well known and visible is the fact that Marx
employed the concept of ―means of consumption‖. Marx defined the means of
production as ―commodities that possess a form in which they... enter productive

34
consumption‖ (1884[1991]471). The means of consumption he defined as
―commodities that possess a form in which they enter individual consumption of the
capitalist and working class‖ (1884[1991]471). Under this heading, Marx
differentiates between subsistence and luxury consumption. On the one hand are the
―necessary means of consumption‖, or those that enter the consumption of the
working class‖ (Marx,1884[1991]479). On the other are the ―luxury means of
consumption, which enter the consumption only of the capitalist class. Elegant
automobiles, shopping malls, cruise ships would be luxury means of consumption.
Marx used the term means of consumption, play the same mediating role in
consumption that the means of production play in Marx‘s theory of production. That
is, just as the means of production are those entities that make it possible for the
proletariat to produce commodities and to be controlled and exploited as workers, the
means of consumption are defined as those things that make it possible for people
who acquire goods and services and for the same people to be controlled and
exploited as consumers.
EFFECT OF DISCOUNT ON CONSUMER BUYING BEHAVIOUR
There are several factors that affect consumer buying behaviour and one of them is
product discount. Price perception is everything. If the consumers think that they are
getting a deal, then they will be more inclined to make a purchase. Almost everyone
of us loves bargain products. Discount can have a huge impact on sales. A customer
will most likely to buy a product if they see that the price tag has been discounted.
The mere feeling that they are buying something at a bargain price is enough to
persuade them to place an order. This explains why an overwhelming majority of
consumers pay attention to promotions, discounts and coupons. As soon as there is
price reduction, they will act. However, there are instances that consumers have been
exploited as well.
Today, attracting new customers have become so important in modern retailing in
addition to loyal to them and efforts have been paying in that perspective as known,
the cost of keeping consumers present is less than the cost of gaining new customers.
Promotion refers to the motivational methods of getting the consumer to purchase the
product. Promotion includes the tools like Advertising, Public relations, Sales

35
promotion, Direct marketing and Personal selling. The purpose of promotion is to
reach the targeted consumers and persuade them to buy. Sales promotion has become
a vital tool for marketing and its importance has been increasing. One of the purposes
of a sales promotion is to elicit a direct impact on the purchase behaviour of the
consumers. Brands involves developing a name, symbol or design to represent a
product in consumers‘ minds.

MASS CULTURE

Diffusion of global culture flows through advanced mass media has brought about the
new trend of mass culture. Mass Culture is the set of ideas and values that develop
from a common exposure to the same media, news sources, music and art. Mass
culture is broadcast or otherwise distributed to individuals instead of arising from
their day- to- day interactions with each other. Thus, mass culture generally lacks the
unique content of local communities and regional cultures. Frequently, it promotes
the role of individuals as consumers. With the rise of publishing and broadcasting in
the 19th and 20th centuries, the scope of mass culture expanded dramatically. It has
also seen to be replacing folklore, which was the cultural mainstream of traditional
local societies.

REVITALISATION OF CAPITALISM

Global culture has revitalised capitalism in terms of consumerism and


commodification of cultural traits. Global consumerist culture persists and it is further
encouraged by mass media and the advertising companies. For instance, selling of
Navratra thalis at very high cost in all the restaurants, celebrating valentine‘s day with
numerous gifts (consumer goods), etc. all these instances refer to the
commodification of cultural traits by adding market value. Further, Social networking
internet sites such as You Tube (youtube.com), My Space (myspace.com) or Flickr
(flickr.com) etc. represent social spaces and communities actively constructed and
reconstructed by the people who use them (to share videos, pictures or simply

36
information). An interesting aspect of this development is the way the idea of culture
as a commodity fits with the idea of freeing individuals to both produce and consume
cultural ideas and products. While global commercial enterprises may provide the
tools through which cultural ideas and products can be exchanged, it is the millions of
individuals around the world who use these tools to provide the content that makes
such virtual spaces vibrant and attractive (to both users and advertisers).

MASS MEDIA, GLOBALISATION AND CONSUMERISM

Globalization has increasingly knitted together the world created unity out of great
diversity. Jeans (2002) notes that Coca Cola, Disney and Mc Donald symbolize the
process along with Sony. Shell Oil and IBM to influence the global consumer‘s taste.
They are known and consumed all over the world. In addition, they are powerful
companies that drive globalization forward, creating new laws, new business process,
new ways to eat and drink, new hopes and dreams. There are optimists and
pessimists, two contradicting views. Optimists look forward to global village linked
altogether by internet, and benefiting from over- increasing material well-being. On
the other hand, are pessimists see a frightful corporate tyranny destroying the
environment and culture, and sweeping away all that is healthy and meaningful for
human existence.

Mass Media is a significant force in modern culture, particularly in this era of


Globalization. The cultural flows round the globe are generated by mass media which
also operates globally. This refers as ―a mediated culture” where media reflects and
creates the culture. Communities and individuals are constantly reminded with
messages from different sources like T.V. (in the form of advertisements), mobile
phones and e- mails etc. for the promotion of various products and services. These
messages not only promote products, but moods, attitudes and a sense of what is
important, good and popular and what is not. As globalization has receded the
geographical boundaries in terms of economic, cultural and political exchange and
what happens locally is influenced by global and advanced mass media has fastened
the pace of this exchange. One of the major developments in the domain of cultural

37
globalization is the emergence of ‗Global Culture‘. Global culture refers to sameness
in terms of cultural products round the globe. It refers to the way of globalization has
influenced national and local cultural behaviour patterns, by making cultural products
a way of life in different countries of the world alike. Although the idea of global
influencing the national and local is not necessarily new, but the new is the scope and
speed of current flow of cultural attributes and the phenomenon has been fastened by
development in mass media and information technologies. The same cultural and
consumer products are sold across the world, inspired by media advertising and they
have become part of the ways of life of many different societies. For instance,
television companies sell their programmes and programme formats like Big Brother
and Who wants to be a Millionaire? globally. Companies like Mc Donald‘s, Coca
Cola, Vodaphone, Starbucks, Nescafe, Sony and Tommy, Zara are now symbols that
are recognised across the world. There are many companies and brands that operate
on a worldwide scale, homogenising not just cultural products but way of life as well.

IMPACT OF GLOBALIZATION, GLOBAL CULTURE ON CONSUMERS

GLOBALISATION ALSO ENCOURAGES CONSUMERISM-


Useful for consumers- The consumers have also benefitted as a result of
Globalisation. Globalisation has encouraged competition as a result of which the
quality of goods has increased. Secondly, there are so many goods available in the
market and now the consumer is free to select the things of his choice. Thirdly, the
prices of the goods will also come down as they will be competition among the
producers and they will try to sell their goods at the lower rate and it will also benefit
the consumer. Globalisation has made the consumer the king of the market. The
market is over flowing with the goods and the consumer is free to select the goods of
his choice.
Negative Impact- Globalisation also encourage consumerism of the western type as a
result of which the people start spending more on luxury goods. For this, MNC‘s and
TNC‘s are also responsible. They pay less attention to the production of the things of
common use rather they manufacture more luxury cars, AC‘s, LED‘s, Laptops, I-
phones, expensive shoes and branded clothes and to sell these they spend a lot of

38
money on advertisements and create demand of these goods among the people. They
discourage savings and encourage consumption. People sometimes go beyond their
capacities while spending and don‘t mind getting loans on high rates of interest. The
increasing trend towards consumerism was one of the causes of economic crisis.
Exploitation of consumer- Exploitation of consumer is due to absence of this vital
role by providing right information at right time to consumers. Ignorance regarding
prices and price- behaviour changes market structure and fluctuations in economy is
not understood by ordinary consumers and hence they fall prey to exploitation and
malpractices. Exploitation of consumers are done in various forms. Improper
advertisements, exaggeration of claims and misstatements are the ways to exploit
consumers.
Commercialization of culture-Culture plays a key role in all societies around the
world, influencing various facets of people‘s lives, from leisure to professional
activities. Culture is the totality of learned, socially transmitted customs, knowledge,
material objects and behaviour. It includes the ideas, value, customs and artefacts of a
group of people. Culture is a pattern of human activities and the symbols that give
these activities significance. It is what people eat, how they dress, beliefs they hold
and activities they engage in. It is the totality of the way of life. Technology now
created the possibility and even the likelihood of global culture. The satellite and
cable T.V. have swept away the national boundaries. Today global entertainment
companies shape understanding and dreams of ordinary citizens wherever they live.
The local culture is inevitably falling victim of global consumer culture. For instance,
English language, is gradually but steadily eradicating the local dialect while
consumer values, are overwhelming people‘s sense of community and social
solidarity.

Commercial culture is sometimes closely related to the idea of ―mass culture‖


refers to culture that results from a commercial system, a system where the profit
motive overwhelmingly dominates. Heavy- duty marketing, corporate ownership and
predictable production processes of cultural products are involved. Commercial

39
culture is huge. It would include the big blockbuster film, the highly promoted
network television show, and the mass- market paperback romance novel etc.
Advertising and Commercial culture-the rise of commercialism is an Arti- fact of
the growth of corporate power. Commercial culture is a process that specifically
refers to the creation of a relationship between an audience and an advertiser. This
definition of commercial culture overlaps with consumer culture, with the latter also
including shopping activities and the geography of retail space. Commercial culture,
then, refers to advertising forms of mediated culture: culture designed to sell a
product. By this definition, advertisements are commercial culture. The television
show becomes commercial culture when it is used to promote advertisers or other
entertainment holdings.
Commercial advertising promoted ―free market‖ ideology, privatization and
consumerism, while denigrating the public sphere. The commercialization of culture
is the growing importance of material acquisition and consumer lifestyles. The
production of million of cars, the development of malls, are examples of a culture of
mass consumption. Advancements in transportation and communication systems, and
cheap energy helped popularized that culture and spread it to all corners of the globe,
causing peoples‘ desires to be disconnected from their real needs, and their behaviour
from their indigenous cultures. People got obsessed with owing material things, not
knowingly that material things seldom translate into happiness or enhance quality of
life. In many Third world countries, owning a car is not a necessity but a status
symbol, causing many car owners to see themselves as keepers of cars they adore, not
owners of cars they need to use for work. Materialism and consumerism could be
traced to the association of certain patterns of consumption with class and prestige.

MEDIA AND CONSUMER AWARENESS


Consumer awareness refers to the knowledge consumers have about products or
services and their rights as consumers. At the basic level, this means developing an
awareness of products or services, and understanding the rights a consumer has
regarding a malfunctioning product. As consumer awareness increases, the consumer
may become familiar with ways in which to use a product or service, the benefits or

40
drawbacks of a specific product or service, or reviews or recalls of a product or
service. In large part, this awareness comes through the media, both by advertising
and through news stories about products or services.

The types of media which can influence consumer awareness are more numerous
than ever. Older media platforms, including newspapers, radio and television, are still
available but have lost popularity since the advent of the Internet. Within the category
of Internet media, a consumer finds respected sites such as web versions of print
newspapers and government websites alongside opinion-based sites such as blogs and
message boards. Advertising exists on nearly all media platforms, whether print,
television or Internet, further bombarding the consumer with information.

MEDIA AND CONSUMER PROTECTION

Consumer Protection consists of laws and organizations designed to ensure the rights
of consumers as well as fair trade and competition and the free flow of truthful
information in the market place. Consumer protection laws are a form of Government
regulation which aims to protect the rights of consumers. Consumer protection is
linked to the idea of ―Consumer Rights‖ and to the formation of consumer
organizations, which help consumers, make choices better in the market place and get
help with consumer complaints.

The CONSUMER PROTECTION ACT, 1986, enshrines all consumer rights which
are internationally accepted. Under the Act, a separate three- tier quasi-judicial
consumer dispute redressal machinery popularly known as consumer courts or
consumer forums has been set up at the National, State and District level to provide
simple, speedy and inexpensive redressal to the consumer grievances against any
defective goods, deficiency in services including the unfair trade practices. The
Consumer Protection Act, 1986 is a step that has been brought into force by the
Government of India to protect the consumers. Following Rights are included in the
Act:

41
Right to Safety The right to be protected against goods which
are hazardous to life and property.
Right to Information The right to be informed about the quality,
quantity, purity, price and standards of goods.

Right to Choose The right to be assured access to a variety of


products at competitive prices, without any
pressure to impose a sale, i.e. freedom of
choice.

Right to be Heard The right to be heard and assured that


consumer interests will receive due
consideration at appropriate forums.

Right to Seek Redressal The right to get relief against unfair trade
practice or exploitation.

Right to Education The right to be educated about rights of a


consumer.

Media has always been responsible in performing its duties so that those who are
involved in the matters of policy making can give justice to their duties. The Press has
played a vital role in unearthing certain scandals. Multiplicities of communication media
have brought a sea change in the psychology of people. People become more awakened,
well- informed and cautious. They could know different views of the same problem; they
could perceive, understand and analyse a situation well. People are becoming conscious
and rational in their thoughts. The impartial, truthful and bold militant Press has protected
interest of consumers in many cases. People prefer to believe in the reports published in

42
press. The low-quality products, adulterates food grains, corruption, nepotism, black
marketing, smuggling etc. are carefully highlighted by the media.

CONCLUSION AND SUGGESTIONS


In the contemporary era, consumer is regarded as the king in modern marketing. In a
market economy, the concept of consumer is given the highest priority, and every
effort is made to encourage consumer satisfaction. However, there might be instances
where consumers are generally ignored and sometimes they are being exploited as
well. Therefore, consumers come together for protecting their individual interests. It
is a peaceful and democratic movement for self- protection against their exploitation.
Media is an integral part of our life. It connects us to the world and the world to us. It
influences people of all age group.
 Promoting awareness by spreading information is the primary task that media can
perform towards development of consumerism.
 More advertisements should be made to aware the consumer about their consumer
rights instead of making other sales advertisements.
 Educate consumers to develop an understanding about their responsibilities as
consumers to protect their own interest.
 Consumer should be aware and conscious about their rights and responsibilities.
 Government should implement rules of punishment so rigorous that the
manufacturer and shopkeeper think twice while adopting any fraudulent practices.
 Redress procedure should be made easy enough to be understood by a large
number of consumers.

REFERENCES
 Bizfluent, (Year unknown), The Role of Media in Consumer Awareness, retrieved
from,
https://bizfluent.com/about-6749445-role-media-consumer-awareness.html
 Bulaon, Veronica, (Year unknown), - Academia.edu, Marx, K. the 1980's, and the
Evolution of Modern Consumer Culture, retrieved from,

43
http://www.academia.edu/2314256/Karl_Marx_the_1980s_and_the_Evolution_of
_Modern_Consumer_Culture
 Hopper, P, (2007), Understanding Cultural Globalization, Cambridge: Polity.
 Jean, T, (2002), The hidden dimension of globalization: What is at stake
geoculturally? Global Policy Forum, New York, ATTAC May29.
 Marcuse, H, (1964), One-Dimensional Man: Studies in the Ideology of Advanced
Industrial Society, retrieved from,
https://www.marxists.org/ebooks/marcuse/one-dimensional-man.htm
 McLuhan, M, (1964), Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man, New York:
McGraw Hill.
 Ritzer, George, (2012), Sociological Theory, Rawat Publications, New Delhi,
Fifth Edition.
 Sahoo, S. Aman Chatterjee, (Year unknown), Consumer Protection - Problems
and Prospects, SSRN, retrieved from,
https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/Papers.cfm?abstract_id=1452526
 Schiller, H.I, (1969), Mass Communication and American Empire, New York:
August M, Kelley.
 Veblen, T, (1899), What is Conspicuous Consumption? Retrieved from,
http://www.conspicuousconsumption.org/Thorstein-Veblen.html
 Veblen, T, (1899), Conspicuous Consumption, retrieved from,
https://www.investopedia.com/terms/c/conspicuous-consumption.asp
 3 Signs You are a Slave to Consumerism, The Unbounded Spirit: retrieved from,
https://theunboundedspirit.com/3-signs-you-are-a-slave-to-consumerism/
 How Discounts Affect Online Consumer Buying Behavior [Infographic],
retrieved from,
https://www.google.co.in/amp/s/www.business2community.com/consumer-
marketing/discounts-affect-online-consumer-buying-behavior-infographic-
01575471/amp
 Consumer Behavior Quick Guide, retrieved from,
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uide.htm

44
 Analysing the Influence of Sales Promotion on Customer Purchasing Behavior |
OMICS International, retrieved from,
https://www.omicsonline.org/open-access/analyzing-the-influence-of-sales-
promotion-on-customer-purchasing-behavior-2162-6359-
1000243.php?aid=52367
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https://www.scribd.com/mobile/document/117374133/Role-of-Media-in-
Consumer-Protection
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http://ask.learncbse.in/t/what-should-be-the-role-of-media-for-consumer-
protection/11806

45
GREEN CONSUMERISM – A BOON TO THE ENVIRONMENT

Mona Kapoor Dr. Nisha Aggarwal


Resource Person Head
Department of Commece Department of Commerce
PGGCG-11, Chandigarh PGGCG-11, Chandigarh

Abstract
Going green, environmental monitoring, environment protection, sustainable
development and many more have become a natural phenomenon in our everyday life.
Concerns have been expressed by producers and consumers about the environmental
impact of products during recent times .In today‟s era of globalization organizations are
trying to gain a competitive edge in market by exploiting the potential in green market
industry. Green marketing is seen as an important strategy of facilitating Sustainable
development. Green is slowly and steadily becoming the symbolic color of eco
consciousness in India. Paper emphasis on concept, need importance of green
consumerism and also provides useful suggestions for promotion of green consumption
behavior.

Keywords: Green consumption, sustainable development, green marketing,

INTRODUCTION
Green is now in the Centrum of modern businesses. Cut throat competition is going on
among the consumer, industrial and service products. In today‘s era of globalization, it
has become a difficult task to keep the consumer satisfied and keep our environment safe.
There has been noteworthy change in consumer attitude towards green lifestyle.
Organizations are trying to gain an edge in the competitive market by exploiting the
potential in green market industry.

46
As society has become more earnest about the natural environment, entities have started
to adjust their behavior in an attempt to address society's "new" concerns. People
are conscious about the less environment friendly product due to their own welfare that is
why this issue is very modernistic topic in today‘s world.

Green consumerism creates a balance between the expectations of consumer behavior


and businesses' profit motives. Markets don't wait for slow movers. Customers and
manufacturers have addressed their attention towards environment friendly products that
are supposed to be green or environment friendly like organic foods, energy saving
electrical appliances, biodegradable packaging of products, lead free paints, phosphate
free detergents, refill containers, bottles using less plastic, recyclable paper etc.

Businesses that innovate and respond quickly to consumer demands survive best.
Everyone has a part to play, at various levels of administration, manufacture and use.
Social, cultural and economic factors are supposed to set the system for green
consumerism. Each country has his own traditions, norms and anathema. This sets limits
to designing and planning of a social marketing crusade. Furthermore, green consumers
are more likely to control their consumption in comparison to more traditional consumers
and therefore the environmental impact of green etiquette is direct.

DEFINITION OF CONSUMERISM:
Green consumerism refers to recycling, buying and consuming eco friendly products that
curtail the damage to the environment. This involves decisions such as using energy
saving appliances that consume less electricity, buying hybrid cars that emit less carbon
dioxide, using solar and wind power to produce electricity and purchasing organic
vegetables and fruits. More and more entities and industries are joining in the green
movement either due to interest in saving the earth or a desire to capitalize on the
growing consumer demand for greener ways.

47
THE GREEN CODE
G: Generalizes with care. Consumer behaviors will not necessarily be consistent across
different product types, and particular market segments may respond to certain issues on
the green agenda but not others.

R:Remembers, the validity of a piece of market research is nonrelated to the degree to


which it supports your preferred option.

E : Explores the context from which market research data comes. Be clear on the nature
of the sample used, the questions asked, the way in which responses were recorded and
the time and place from which the responses come.

E: Ensures that where market research is crossing international border lines, that the
terminology and interpretation remains consistent. Terms like environment‟, ‟green‟ and
―conservation‟ do not always translate precisely between languages.

N:
Neutrality is important. Ensure that when you pose questions to consumers, that they can
make any response without being made to feel guilty or uncomfortable, and ensure that
your own preconceptions about the green agenda (such as an assumption that green
products will cost extra) are not encoded within the questions.

GREEN CONSUMER
A green consumer is someone who is very concerned about the environment and
therefore only purchases product that are environment friendly. Products with little or no
packaging, products made from natural ingredients and products that are made without
causing pollution are all illustrations of eco – friendly products. The green consumer
would be the type to purchase eco friendly products, power saving appliances or those
made from recycled materials.

48
OBJECTIVES OF GREEN CONSUMERISM

 To know the features of green products


 To enhance the steps towards green promotion
 To know the impression of green consumerism
 To discover the necessity of green consumerism in various aspects
 To assess the reaction towards green consumerism.

CORE ELEMENTS INFLUENCING GREEN CONSUMERS

IMPORTANCE OF GREEN CONSUMERISM:

The resources available on earth are limited so the humans have to use the resources
wisely and efficiently in order to fulfill the unlimited demands of the human population.
In market societies where there is "freedom of choice", it has commonly been integrated
that individuals and business entities have the right to attempt to have their wants
satisfied. Because resources are scanty in nature, organizations must look for unusual

49
ways of satisfying these unlimited wants. Thus, green marketing focuses at how
marketing activities exploit these limited resources, while fulfilling consumers wants,
both of individuals and industry, as well as achieving the selling organization‘s
objectives.

Green consumerism creates equilibrium between the expectations of consumer behavior


and businesses profit motives
Markets don‘t wait for slow movers. Businesses that innovate and take the first mover
advantage and grab the opportunity are able to survive and even expand.
Everyone has their roles defined at various levels of administration, production and
consumption. So, there is a need that consumer understand their role in green
consumerism.

WHY GREEN CONSUMERISM?

50
ADVANTAGES OF GREEN CONSUMERISM:
Today‘s consumers are becoming more and more conscious about the environment and
are also becoming socially responsible. Therefore, more companies are responsible to
consumer‘s aspirations for environmentally less calamitous or neutral products. Many
companies want to have an early mover reward as they have to finally move towards
becoming green.

It ensures sustained long-term growth along with profitability. It saves money in the long
run, though initially the cost is more.
It helps the companies market their products and services keeping the environment
aspects in mind.
It helps in accessing the new markets and enjoying the competitive advantage.
Most of the employees also feel proud and responsible to be working for an
environmentally responsible company.

GREEN MARKETING
Environmentally responsible or "green" marketing refers to the satisfaction of consumer
needs, wants and desires in conjunction with the preservation and conservation of the
natural environment. Green marketing manipulates the four elements of the marketing
mix (product, price, promotion and distribution) to sell products and services offering
superior environmental benefits in the form of reduced waste, increased energy
efficiency, and/or decreased release of toxic emissions. Green consumer: Green consumer
is one who is very concerned about the environment and therefore, purchases only those
products that are environment friendly or eco-friendly.
Products with little or no packaging, products made from natural ingredients and products
that are made without causing pollution are examples of eco-friendly products. Green
Consumerism: Green marketers hope to capitalize on this by developing strategies that
allow consumers to integrate green products into their lifestyles which can be termed as
green consumerism. The "organic" industry, which specializes in the sale of organically,
produced foods, health and nutritional supplements and other green lifestyle items
promote green consumerism.

51
Green Consumer Purchase Behavior: In simple words, consumer behavior can be defined
as, ―the study of how people or organizations behave while obtaining, using and
disposing of products and services by engaging in comparison while shopping for actual
purchase of a product, for e.g. whether or not to purchase a product and, if so, which
brand and where, while making purchase decision and their post purchase behavior.
Green Consumer Conservation Behavior: Limited use of scarce natural resources for the
purposes of environmental conservation can be called as green consumer conservation
behavior.
Green Consumer Attitude: An attitude is a way one thinks, feels, and acts favorably or
unfavorably based on learning towards some aspect of market stimuli such as retail store,
product, and brand. Consumer attitudes are a composite of a consumer‘s (1) beliefs about,
(2) feelings about, (3) and behavioral intentions toward some ―object‖- within the context
of marketing, usually a brand, product category, or retail store. Attitude and Behavior
Linkage: There is a linear linkage between behavior and attitude.

NEED FOR STUDY


Green marketing has now become as one of the major areas of interest for marketers as it
may provide competitive edge over others. However, it necessitates investment in terms
of technology intensification, process alteration, imparting benefits to consumers. Many
companies in India have now initiated marketing themselves as green organizations due
to certain government regulations and shifting in consumer preferences worldwide.
As green marketing is different from the marketing in traditional way, marketers need to
know the factors that persuade the consumer to buy the green products.

CHALLENGES IN GREEN CONSUMERISM:


Need for standardization: It is found that very less percentage of the marketing
messages from ―Green‖ campaigns are entirely true and there is a lack of standardization
to validate these claims. There is no standardization to certify these claims. There is no
standardization currently in place to certify a product as organic. Unless some regulatory
bodies are involved in providing the certifications there will not be any verifiable means.
A standard quality control board needs to be in place for such labeling and licensing.

52
New concept:
Though Indian literate and urban consumer is getting more aware about the merits of
green products yet it is a new concept for the masses. The consumer needs to be educated
and made cognizant of the environmental threats. The new green campaign needs to
reach the masses and that will take a plenty of time and effort.
By India‘s ayurvedic history, Indian consumers do cherish the significance of using
natural and herbal beauty products. Indian consumer is introduced to healthy living
lifestyles such as yoga and natural food consumption. In that facet the consumer is
already aware and will be inclined to accept the green products.
Endurance and perseverance:
The investors and corporate need to view the environment as a major long-term
investment opportunity; the marketers need to look at the long-term benefits from this
new green movement. It will require a lot of patience and no immediate results. Since it is
a new concept and idea, it will have its own acceptance period.
Evading green myopia:
The first rule of green marketing is focusing on customer benefits i.e. the basic reason
why consumers buy certain products in the first place. Do this right, and motivate
consumers to switch brands or even pay a premium for the greener replacement. It is not
going to help if a product is developed which is entirely green in various facets but does
not pass the customer satisfaction criteria. This will lead to green myopia. Furthermore, if
the green products are priced very high then again it will lose its market acceptability.

SWITCHING TO A GREEN ERA:


The color GREEN, until recently was connected all over the world with emerald. In the
modern age, however, GREEN is getting integrated with sustainable development. Being
green is no longer an option; its marketing is a necessity, or else enterprise may run the
risk of losing customers, employees and shareholders. It has become nearly inevitable to
maintain a green life style. The possibility of oceans rising and claiming coastal lives,
climate change, and polluted air and water are beginning to gain urge towards the green
movement. Nowadays, there is an increasing concern among the business houses towards

53
the challenges faced by the environment. Green consumerism is playing a catalytic role to
bring in environmentalism and make business green oriented. Also it has been noticed
that there has been an expanding trend of consumers demanding for a ―Green Image‖ of
an enterprise. The most feasible option available for the business enterprises is to put into
the application of the process of ―Green Manufacturing‖. Companies like ABB, Ranbaxy,
Google and many more have taken up green projects. They sponsor huge amount and in
return earn a good public image, free publicity, and an environment conscious image.
These companies adopt products/packages to make them environmentally sound. They
make realistic environmental claims about existing products through the advertisements
and correlate brands with environmental causes to create goodwill.

SOME PROBLEMS WITH GOING GREEN


No matter why a firm uses green marketing there are a number of potential problems that
they must overcome. One of the main problems is that firms using green marketing must
ensure that their activities are not misleading to consumers or industry, and do not breach
any of the regulations or laws dealing with environmental marketing. Green marketing
claims must clearly state environmental benefits;
• Explain environmental characteristics;
• Explain how benefits are achieved;
• Ensure comparative differences are justified;
• Ensure negative factors are taken into consideration; and
• Only use meaningful terms and pictures.

When firms attempt to become socially responsible, they may face the risk that the
environmentally responsible action of today will be found to be harmful in the future.
Take for example the aerosol industry which has switched from CFCs
(chlorofluorocarbons) to HFCs (hydrofluorocarbons) only to be told HFCs are also a
greenhouse gas. Some firms now use DME (dimethyl ether) as an aerosol propellant,
which may also harm the ozone layer. Given the limited scientific knowledge at any point
in time, it may be impossible for a firm to be certain they have made the correct
environmental decision.

54
SUGGESTION FOR GOING GREEN
 Unplug when not in use.
 Use less water, every drop counts.
 Switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs.
 Choose products with biodegradable packaging.
 Buy organic and local food.
 Pool cars and use public transport to save fuel.
 Walk more.

CONCLUSION
The above paper brings out a correlation between lifestyle and green commitment.
Lifestyle is quantified by consumption patterns and green commitments by certain
environment related consumption alternatives. The green consumerism has replaced the
traditional pattern of consumption as the consumers are more concerned about their
contribution in saving and maintaining the green environment. To conclude, green is
gradually becoming the symbolic color of eco consciousness in today‘s era of
globalization.

REFERENCES:
 Sharma D.D. (2008), ―Marketing Research: Principle Application & Cases‖ N.
Delhi, Sultan Chand & Sons.
 R. Shrikanth Et al, Contemporary green marketing-brief reference to Indian
scenario, International journal of social science and interdisciplinary research, vol.
I, Jan.2012.26-38.
 K. Uday Kiran, Opportunity and challenges of green marketing with special
reference to Pune,
 International journal of management and social science
research,vol.I,Oct.2012.18-24.
 Rahul Singal Et al, Green marketing: challenges and opportunity,International
journal of innovation Engineering and technology,vol II,Feb.2013.470-474.
 http://www.businessworld.in

55
 http://www.outlookindia.com
 http://en.wikipedia.org
 http://www.business-standard.com
 http://www.encyclopedia.com
 http://www.slideshare.com

56
GLOBALISATION AND CONSUMERISM : A SOCIOLOGICAL ANALYSIS
Dr.Ranjay Vardhan
Associate Professor,
Post Graduate Dept. of Sociology,
P.G. Government College for Girls,
Sector 42, Chandigarh

Abstrat
Liberalization, Globalization and Privatization policies popularly known as LPG have
significant impact on the policies and social structure of developing countries. It is a
general proposition that the opening up of economies and removal of trade barriers has
accelerated growth and is leading to more employment opportunities. This process has
helped in attraction of consumerism as India's expanding middle class is attracted
towards cars, mobile phones, life style, eating habits and holidays in Singapore,
Switzerland, etc. It is contributing to expansion of market but is also leading to debt
ridden consumers. Consumers are also cheated by companies and growth of online
shopping is doing harm to small entrepreneurs. This paper is an attempt to study the
impact of globalization on consumer and consumer behaviour and consumer movement
in India.

Introduction

Global markets in the wake of globalization are offering greater opportunity for people to
tap into more and larger markets around the world. It implies that they can have access to
more capital flows, technology, cheaper imports, and larger export markets. However,
markets do not necessarily ensure that the benefits of increased efficiency are shared by
all. Countries must be prepared to embrace the policies needed, and in the case of the
poorest countries may need the support of the international community as they do so.
Consumer's need for products and services is affected by three factors: memory,
individual differences and environmental influences. These factors are important to
academics and marketing managers as they help to ascertain the customer's need

57
recognition. However, external influences are probably seen to be the most important as
it is the easiest and less time-consuming to study.
The process by which the lives of all people around the globe becomes increasingly
interconnected in economic, cultural, political, and environmental terms, along with our
awareness of such interconnections is known as globalization. Globalization has pushed
the world into the revolution of information. The world has become connected through
technological renovations and the interdependence of economic expansion. Nations have
formed one agenda, one unit, and with it, emerges the concept of winners and losers.
Globalization has increased the gap between rich and poor. As we move from one world,
the level of inequality rises, the strong nations get richer, and the weak nations get poorer.
The retail business is revolutionizing due to globalization, yet inequality seems to be the
intimidating factor that comes with it. Globalization is being driven by five major factors:
customers, markets, technology, competition, and costs. The global marketplace exposes
retailers to an unprecedented number of customers. The relaxation of trade barriers,
creation of trade blocs, and opening of new markets has presented the world's retailers
with the option of going global.
Technology
Technology is a powerful force that is driving the world toward a converging
commonality. It has effected communication, transport, and travel. It has made isolated
places and impoverished people eager for modernity‘s allurements. Almost everyone
everywhere wants all the things they have heard about, seen, or experienced via the new
technologies. The result is a new commercial reality—the emergence of global markets
for standardized consumer products on a previously unimagined scale of magnitude.
Corporations geared to this new reality benefit from enormous economies of scale in
production, distribution, marketing, and management. By translating these benefits into
reduced world prices, they can decimate competitors that still live in the disabling grip of
old assumptions about how the world works.
There are few accustomed differences in national or regional preference. A company
cannot sell last year‘s models—or lesser versions of advanced products—in the less-
developed world. Prices, margins, and profits are rationalized. The globalization of
markets is at hand. With that, the multinational commercial world nears its end, and so

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does the multinational corporation. The multinational and the global corporation are not
the same thing. The multinational corporation operates in a number of countries, and
adjusts its products and practices in each—at high relative costs. The global corporation
operates with resolute constancy—at low relative cost—as if the entire world (or major
regions of it) were a single entity; it sells the same things in the same way everywhere.
Implications of Globalization, Liberalization and Consumerism
Positive implications: The process of development coupled with increasing
liberalization and globalization across the country has enabled consumers to appreciate
their increasingly important role in society and governance. Though it is said it to be ‗self
reliant‘ but in present scenario it seems unfeasible to tag along the same. In the
contemporary time, the world has transformed into ‗global village‘ not only due to the
advancement of trade and commerce but more due to technological advancement.
Therefore, liberalization is inevitable for a nation-state disposed to develop itself. It is
very difficult for any nation to produce everything to satisfy its customer citizens, so the
process of globalization and free trade is serving a noble cause for all the probable
consumers by satisfying their otherwise unaddressed desires. Globalization is almost
inevitable but mostly desired at the same time from the consumer‘s point of view. In fact
it enforces consumer‘s ‗right to choice‘, as envisaged by UNO in its guidelines for
consumer welfare, in more sensible manner by exposing him to varieties of availabilities.
Negative Implications: Noam Chomsky, one of the world‘s noted intellectuals, describes
globalization as insinuation of extension of transnational corporate tyranny Their first
interest is profit but much broader than that it is to construct an audience of a particular
type addicted to a certain lifestyle with artificial wants, an audience atomized, separated
from one another, fragmented enough so that they don‘t enter the political arena and
disturb the powerful. This, is what all about existing Indian consumer, who is now
heading opposite to its own philosophy of consumerism when we compare and contrast it
with that of the Gandhiji‘s which says that while there is enough on earth for every man‘s
need there is not enough for everyone‘s greed and that poverty is really the other face of
the problem of possessiveness. It is the consumerist mode of thinking (Wikipedia).

59
Social Media for Business to Consumer:
For brands and marketers, social media introduces both opportunities and challenges.
Brands are now able to listen to and address both compliments and complaints made by
fellow or future consumers enabling the brand or marketer to respond to and interact with
the public. In India, eight out of 10 people from urban areas who buy cars use the
internet to search for information on brands and products before making a purchase. A
major driver for businesses to use the social media marketing is the low-cost model
compared to traditional marketing channels. Predictions for Business to Consumer
marketing via social media in India indicates that more marketers will be adopting social
media strategies as a new marketing medium and engagement channel to interact with
current and prospective consumers. For businesses in India, monitoring social interaction
behaviours, brand reputation, and current and prospective consumer expectations will
help the company to build long-term relationships, create loyal communities of brand
advocates, and engage in a dialogue with people interested in the product, brand, or
service.
In the recent times, the Indian consumers have inclined towards international brands.
After liberalization, as the economy opened up to the international market, imported
goods gradually gained traction among Indian buyers. The repercussion is, today the
market is almost flooded with goods from international market. Together with foreign
origin brands, Indian brands ran through significant improvement becoming successful to
pose a stiff competition against their foreign counterparts. In terms of quality,
technology, performance and efficacy, both Indian and foreign brands are catching up the
market lately. Foreign brands on the other hand, are becoming more popular amongst
Indian buyers gradually turning as cofactors to mould their preferences, buying habits
and thereby lifestyle. Following the trends of international markets, Indian consumers are
transforming as global buyers preferring foreign origin goods.
In the market landscape of India, International brands are successful to become
significant contributors. These goods are successful to position themselves as strategic
elements in certain product categories in terms of quality and usefulness. For instance, in
lifestyle product segment such as beauty accessories and ointments, international goods
surpass country made products. A lackadaisical nature of both manufacturing techniques

60
and availability of raw materials is the primary reason of incompetence of Indian brands
in certain categories. Despite higher prices, International brands are successful a gaining
popularity because they can lure the high income section of Indian consumers. It is
notable that this section of buyers is on par with global buyers who have adequate
purchasing power to buy goods from the most expensive markets of the world.
Consumer lifestyle in India has been through a massive transformation. This transition in
the country is influenced by socio cultural factor, geo demographics, psychographics,
preferences, norms and behaviour of consumers. Indian consumers now prefer a deluxe
life full of luxury and comfort. The buying preferences of the burgeoning Indian middle
class have been influencing the consumer culture of the country. The reason is; fast
growth of services sector per capita income of the populace has increased. Apart from
this, rise of disposable income continues to drive increase spending on consumer goods
from foreign market. It is a notable point that goods from foreign markets tend to follow
a competitive pricing model in contrast to Indian products. This factor leads further
impetus on popularity of International brands as they become more affordable with
competitive prices against Indian products.

Leaving aside the cost factor, the drive of spending among Indian consumers is on high
tides. This, on the other hand, has been generating huge demand of new goods and
services irrespective of foreign or national market. At this point, goods from foreign
markets are successful to achieve greater rate sales due to their quality as well as due to
the inclination of average Indians towards foreign goods. Consumption patterns depend
on liberalization of economic policies and buying habits of the upcoming generation and
availability of goods. Also the economic condition of the populace plays a pivotal role. In
India, the new generation is gaining economic independence at younger age. This has
lead to greater thrust on consumer goods of a typical foreign nature. Furthermore increase
in number of nuclear families is also the reasons of prominence of foreign brands in
Indian market.
The current generation, care less about paying an extra for better quality, facility and
ambiance. Mass media, internet and communication have been the factors driving
awareness about international lifestyle and culture amongst Indian buyers. This

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awareness leads to further want of goods and services as Indian consumers tend to follow
international lifestyle. Therefore, consumer culture has been reinforcing a globalized
lifestyle within Indian buyers. International brands are coming up as the mediator or this
globalized living.
The Mckinsey & Co report in 2007 suggested that India will grow to the fifth largest
consumer market in the world by 2025. The credit culture in India has been a major
driver of increasing proliferation of foreign goods. The credit system has assisted Indians
to buy expensive goods on instalments. The amenities provided by credit cards have put a
primary thrust on consumerism in India. Credit culture will help to materialize this
situation. This will further induce a huge thrust to International brands and assist them to
gain better market in the country.
Indian consumers value and admire global brands as a status symbol. The emergence of
international e marketers in the Indian business has lead to a growth of foreign brands.
On the other hand busy lifestyle of Indians has become a common place trait. Fitness and
style accessories being related to modern lifestyle have become ingrained with consumer
behaviour. Globalization has led the entire world to become a single market. It is now a
global village and the process of globalization immensely aided exchange of goods and
services. Furthermore, global competition has made companies to cater the local needs of
diverse geographies. However, in the changing scenario, consumer is cheated by being
sold substandard products. Moreover, there has been mushrooming growth of online
selling sites which are alluring people to buy products and what they receive may be
empty boxes or wrong products. Ads are the major channel of communication in order to
create awareness about goods and services through print media, TV media, radio, etc. for
example the ad of Axe it guides customers that if the men puts it on his body girls will
fall behind him for its fragrance, but in real life it‘s impossible. It clearly misguiding to
customers. It‘s clear that ad agencies have ignored the consideration of Consumer
protection. Large number of cases have been filed by consumers in courts against such
malpractices done by companies and individuals.

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Consumer Movement in India
In India, the consumer movement found a clear conception during the freedom movement
of the 40‘s when Gandhi established the lead. Father of nation Mahatma Gandhi is
considered as the greatest consumer advocate the world had ever seen. His various
pronouncement in the consumer interests were even applauded by Ralph Nader, who
himself has been considered the greatest consumer activist of USA in recent times.
Gandhi‘s concern for the consumer is reflected in the following dictum: ―a customer is
the most important visitor on our premises. He is not dependent on us. We are dependent
on him. He is not an interruption in our work he the purpose of it. We are not doing him a
favour by serving him. He is doing us a favour by giving us an opportunity to serve him.
1949 saw the first consumer organization in India established by a Gandhian R.P.Dalvai
in Madras. Since then the consumer movement in India started taking shape and by
assumed the role of pressure group, with few mass membership organizations. It was in
1962, on 15th March, when John F. Kennedy the US president speaking to the US
congress, declared four consumer rights and the movement in the USA took root.
Subsequently, various countries passed consumer interests laws of different kinds.15th
march, 1962 is the day in the history of consumer rights. On this day Kennedy said: ―it is
the consumer‘s right to safety, information, and choice and hearing. On 9 April, 1985, the
General Assembly of the United Nations unanimously adopted a set of general guidelines
for consumer protection. The 1984 and the 1986 amendment in the monopolies &
restrictive trade practice act 1969 and the 1986 consumer protection act in India formed
the basis and fillip to consumer movement through legal measures in our country.

The Consumer Protection Act in India


In India, Consumer Protection Act of 1986 is the law governing consumer protection.
The Consumer Protection Act, 1986 (68 of 1986) was passed in India which is considered
as a milestone in the history of socio-economic legislation in the country. It is one of the
most progressive and comprehensive piece of legislations enacted for the protection of
consumers. It was enacted after in-depth study of consumer protection laws in a number
of countries and in consultation with representatives of consumers, trade and industry and
extensive discussions within the Government. The act applies to all goods and services.

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The act extends to the whole of India except the state of Jammu and Kashmir [sec 1 (2)].
The provision of chapter 1, 2, and 4 came in to force on April 15, 1987 and of chapter 3
on July 10, 1987. Act 1986 is referred to as the act as amended by the consumer
protection (amendment) Act, 2002. The amendment act came into the force with effect
from 15th march 2003. The consumer protection is nothing but to provide safeguard
against the basic rights of the consumers. Under this law, Separate Consumer tribunals
have been set up throughout India in each and every district in which a consumer
(complaint can be filed by both the consumer of a goods as well as of the services) can
file his complaint on a simple paper without paying any court fees and his complaint will
be decided by the Presiding Officer of the District Level. Appeal could be filed to the
State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commissions and after that to the National
Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC). The procedures in these tribunals
are relatively less formal and more people friendly and they also take less time to decide
upon a consumer dispute as compared to long time taken by the traditional Indian
Judiciary. In recent years, many effective judgments have been passed by some State and
National Consumer Forums.
The main objective of the act is to provide for the better protection of consumers. Unlike
existing laws which are punitive or preventive in nature, the provisions of this Act are
compensatory in nature. The act is intended to provide simple, speedy and inexpensive
redressal to the consumers' grievances, and relief of a specific nature and award of
compensation wherever appropriate to the consumer. It confers upon consumers eight
rights i.e.: basic needs, safety, information, choice, representation, redress, consumer
education, healthy environment. It provides remedies to the aggrieved customer in form
Replace, Remove, Refund, Redress.
The findings of various study reveals that the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 had limited
impact on consumer empowerment mainly due to lack of awareness about the Act and its
provisions. Comparatively the impact has been more on males than females. The urban
consumers are much more aware about the Act than their rural counterparts. It is also
evident that higher the age group more the awareness about the Act and its provisions.
Similarly higher the education level and income level more the awareness about the Act.
The Act has much less impact on the marginalised sections of the society who lack

64
education and are living in the rural areas with low level of income. The awareness level
about the Consumer Protection Act and Consumer Rights is higher in areas where
consumer clubs have been set up in schools and colleges and are actively involved in
consumer activities. The limited impact and the ineffectiveness of the Consumer
Protection Act, 1986 to a large extent is not due to inadequacy of the law or its provisions
but it is due to the poor implementation of the Act and the apathy of the governments and
other stakeholders including the consumers.

The Consumer Protection Bill, 2015


The Consumer Protection Bill, 2015 was cleared by Union Cabinet in December, 2017. It
made the following provisions:
For the first time, India will have a Central Consumer Protection Authority, which will
act as a national regulator for the protection of consumer rights. Designed along the lines
of the United States Federal Trade Commission, this agency will have the power to take
suo moto action against companies indulging in unfair trade practices to the detriment of
consumers.
Definition of consumer: A consumer is defined as any person who buys a good or hires
a service for a consideration. This includes the user of such good or service, but not one
who obtains the good for resale or commercial purposes. It covers transactions through
all modes including offline, online through electronic means, teleshopping, or multi level
marketing.
Rights of consumers: The rights of consumers include the right to: (i) be protected
against marketing of goods and services which are hazardous to life and property, (ii) be
informed of the quality, quantity, potency, purity, standard and price of goods or services,
(iii) be assured of access to a variety of goods or services at competitive prices, and (iv)
to seek redressal against unfair or restrictive trade practices.
Product liability: If defects in the manufacture, construction, design, testing, service
marketing etc. of a product results in any personal injury or property damage to a
consumer, the manufacturer is liable in a product liability action.
One of the key new features of the bill is provisions dealing with disputes that pertain to
online purchase. At present, the law isn‘t clear on refunds or dispute settlement for online

65
shoppers. Moreover, under the present law, a consumer can only proceed with legal
action against a seller only at the place where the transaction in question is said to have
occurred. If the new bill passes, the consumer can file a complaint electronically or at the
consumer court closest to his/her residence
The new bill also has provisions that subscribe hefty penalties and jail terms for
adulteration and misleading advertisements by companies. Moreover, celebrities found to
endorse such advertisements are liable to pay a hefty fine, endure a ban on any
endorsement and even suffer a jail term. On misleading ads, the bill provides for fine and
ban on celebrities. In case of the first offence, the fine will be up to Rs 10 lakh and a one-
year ban on any endorsement. For the second offence, the fine will be up to Rs 50 lakh
and up to three years‘ ban. For manufacturers, the penalty is a Rs 10 lakh fine and a two-
year jail term for the first offence. Repeat offenders will suffer fines up to Rs 50 lakh and
a five-year prison term. Adulteration, meanwhile, could incur a life-term jail sentence.

Discussion
The efficient and effective programme of Consumer Protection is of special significance
to all of us because we all are consumers. Even a manufacturer or provider of a service is
a consumer of some other goods or services. If both the producers/ providers and
consumers realize the need for co-existence, adulterated products, spurious goods and
other deficiencies in services would become a thing of the past. The active involvement
and participation from all quarters i.e. the central and state governments, the educational
Institutions, the NGO‘s, the print and electronic media and the adoption and observance
of a voluntary code of conduct by the trade and industry and the citizen‘s charter by the
service providers is necessary to see that the consumers get their due. The need of the
hour is for total commitment to the consumer cause and social responsiveness to
consumer needs. This should, however, proceed in a harmonious manner so that our
society becomes a better place for all of us to live in. Educate consumers to develop an
understanding about their responsibilities as consumers. Consumer should organize
together to develop the strength and influence to promote and protect their own interest.
Government should make and implement rules of punishment more harsh so that
manufacturer and shopkeeper think twice before adopting fraudulent practices. A

66
campaign should be set in motion to involve each and every consumer for making them
more conscious and aware of their right and responsibilities. Government and other
consumer agencies should make efforts in the direction of propaganda and publicity of
district forum, state and national judiciary established for consumer protection so as to
make more and more consumer aware about machinery for their greater involvement and
to seek justice in case of grievances. Redress procedure should be made more logical,
easy enough to be understood by a large number of consumers. Further procedures shall
so designed as to have easy handling and quick disposal of cases.

Conclusion:
The paper like to conclude that more guidelines are required because there are always
two sides of a coin, each instance of Consumer affairs could be easily termed as another
‗Consumer mistreatment‘. By the time market forces have time to operate, far too many
consumers are dead, maimed, or impoverished. Within a nation-state, national laws may
prevent some of this harm, but once national boundaries are crossed, their effectiveness is
limited, and consumers can hope for very limited protection, If online trade proliferates
and consumer fraud becomes a major problem, nation-states and commercial interests
that provide online access are fairly restricted in the action they may take to curb
unacceptable and deleterious practices. Certainly if consumers perceive online commerce
as a hazardous place to make purchases, they will not choose this alternative, and a major
opportunity for electronic commerce may be forfeited. Consequently, there is strong
motivation for reputable business to observe high commercial standards of behaviour.

REFERENCES:
 Avtar Singh (1994), Law of Consumer Protection- Principle and Practices, Delhi:
Eastern Book Company
 Cartwright, Peter (2001) Consumer Protection and the Criminal Law - Law,
Theory and Policy in the UK Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United
Kingdom.
 Meenu Agrawal (2006), Consumer Behaviour and Consumer Protection in India,
New Delhi: New Century Publication.

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 Ministry of Consumer Affairs (2003) Creating Confident Consumers- The Role of
the Ministry of Consumer Affairs in a Dynamic Modern Economy, May 2003
 Pardeep S Mehta and Dr Anant Sharma (1989), The Consumer- What to do? How
to do?, Jaipur, Consumer Unity & Trust Society ‗CUTS‘.
 Wikipedia- The Free Encyclopaedia
http://consumergoods.indiabizclub.com/info/consumer_rights

68
ROLE OF MEDIA IN HIGHLIGHTING CONSUMER AFFAIRS
Dr. Ritu Mago
Assistant Professor
Dev Samaj College of Education,
Chandigarh

―Creating a meaningful connection with consumers can create a longer-term


relationship with brands, increasing consumer life cycles, loyalty and satisfaction on
a large scale.‖

Abstract

Media in all its form, print or electronic, is a mirror of the times and society we live in. It
connects us to the world and the world to us. Media plays a very useful role in setting up
good or amicable relations between traders and buyers. It has become a silent opinion
maker and hence, it is working on a larger plane than any other institution. So, it is
important that media should work in a judicious manner. Some suggestions for what
should be the role of media for consumer protection and welfare against various
exploiting elements are (i) An independent and free media is necessary in a democracy as
it ensures the accountability of the government. (ii) The media should play its role in
empowering the consumers through consumer education and also highlighting various
unfair trade practices resorted to by the traders and service providers.(iii) There has to
be a check on misleading advertisements, however, the media has to self regulate itself.
(iv)The print media should have regular columns which should contain the various
decisions of the consumer courts.(v) The Departments of Journalism and Mass
Communication in various Universities may include Consumer Protection and Consumer
Welfare in their syllabus for under graduate and post graduate courses.(vi) In order to
disseminate information about consumer rights by organizing various campaigns on this,
the new media can serve as an effective platform. In the current past, media has
undertaken the job of consumer education and fighting against exploitation of consumers.

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INTRODUCTION

Every individual is a consumer, regardless of occupation, age, gender, community or


religious affiliation. Consumer rights and welfare are now an integral part of the life of an
individual and we all have made use of them at some or the other point in our daily
routine. Every year 15th March is observed as "World Consumer Rights Day". It
commemorates a historic declaration(1962) by former US President John F. Kennedy of
four basic consumer rights: The right to safety The right to be informed The right to
choose The right to be heard This declaration eventually led to the international
recognition of the fact that all citizens, regardless of their incomes or social standing,
have basic rights as consumers. Now it is universally accepted that the consumer has a
right to be provided with all relevant information in order to avoid exploitation and make
a considered choice in availing of products and services from the market. These rights are
well-defined, both on international and national platform and several agencies like the
Government as well as voluntary organizations are constantly working towards
safeguarding them. In India, 24th December is celebrated as ―National Consumer Rights
Day", since the Consumer Protection Act,1986 was enacted on this day. The Consumer
Protection Act was enacted in 1986 based on United Nations guidelines with the
objective of providing better protection of consumers' interests. The Act provides for
effective safeguards to consumers against various types of exploitations and unfair
dealings, relying on mainly compensatory rather than a punitive or preventive approach.
It applies to all goods and services unless specifically exempted and covers the private,
public and cooperative sectors and provides for speedy and inexpensive adjudication. The
rights under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 flow from the rights enshrined in
Articles 14 to 19 of the Constitution of India.
Consumer awareness is making the consumer aware of his/her rights means that
consumer are aware of products or services, its characteristics and the other marketing
P‘s(place to buy, price and promotion). It encourages critical thinking, which helps
consumers function more efficiently in the market place, enhances citizen awareness,
promotes self-confidence and independence, increases sales and imparts life skills which
contribute to success in everyday living. It improves the quality of life as well as

70
environment. Consumers are entitled to rights as consumers and these rights provide
protection to consumers. It protects consumer against products, production processes and
services which are hazardous to health or life. As consumer awareness increases, the
consumer may become familiar with ways in which to use a product or service, the
benefits or drawbacks of a specific product or service, or reviews or recalls of a product
or service. In large part, this awareness comes through the media, both by advertising and
through news stories about products or services.

MEDIA FORMAT
The types of media which can influence consumer awareness are more numerous than
ever. Older media platforms, including newspapers, radio and television, are still
available but have lost popularity since the advent of the Internet. Within the category of
Internet media, a consumer finds respected sites such as web versions of print newspapers
and government websites alongside opinion-based sites such as blogs and message
boards. Advertising exists on nearly all media platforms, whether print, television or
Internet, further bombarding the consumer with information that may or may not be
accurate.
Press is playing a dominant role in promotion of consumer movement in this country.
Different ways and means have been adopted by this fourth estate to protect consumers.
Publication of weekly column on consumer issues has now become an established
practice. This column deals with the problems, rights and duties of consumers and how
the consumers can effectively exercise their rights. Some newspapers publish leading
case events and major disputes between consumers and marketers. The Economic Times
publishes a column titled ―Caveat Emptor‟ which solely deals with current problems and
grievances of consumers against marketers. Consumer education is another sphere of
activities. Do‘s and Don‘ts as a guide to consumers are also published by newspapers.
Some tell about when to buy, how to buy and from where to buy. The fallacies of claims
by marketers, distorted to notice by newspaper correspondents. While educating
consumers, many newspapers tell about the false claims in advertisements, the
hollowness of sales and bazaars and other sales gimmicks. Rural consumers, women,
children are often targets of marketers. They are easy to deceive and have less

71
information. Some newspapers have undertaken campaigns to safeguard these consumers
by publishing special news items or by way of introducing special columns. Profiles of
consumer activists, their commendable jobs and consumers association helps consumers
in particular region are the issues which are given importance. Thus press has played a
major role in promoting consumer movement in every part of the world. Clarity of
thoughts, easy accessibility and higher degree of reliability are the reasons why press has
come forwarding in consumer movement. The significant contribution of press cannot be
undermined when one thinks of consumer movement.
The press in India has always shown its solidarity with the socioeconomic problems of
this country. There are no two opinions about the significant contribution that press,
journalists, and the media people have done good work in bringing to light the major
issues of social concern. The press in India has always been responsive in performing its
duties so that those who are involved in the matters of policy making can give justice to
their duties. There is no dearth example as to how the press has played a major role in
unearthing certain scandals where people in the corridors of power were involved. It is
not a singular matter for Indian media to take up issues where a collective action,
legislation, and policy decisions was an urgent need. Various legislations, administrative
actions and even mass participations from different sections of society with divergent
interest were possible only because of initiative and lead taken by media people. May it
be a problem of national integration, social unity, and economic injustice, upliftment of
down-trodden or educational and economic advancement?

FEATURES OF MEDIA
Following are the major features of media that should be considered from the view point
of promotion of consumer education.
1. Forms Rational and Appropriate Opinions: Media works more effectively than any
other institution to form rational and appropriate opinions. It can change an existing
belief, can confirm existing view point, support a particular preposition or condemn an
ideology. The good olden days are gone where individuals matter more than formation of
opinion due to availability of multiple media.

72
2. Media permits diversity of opinion: Media is a Dias where all can come together,
express their views whether similar or divergent and still need not be the follower
of particular ideology or school of thoughts. Media permits diversity of opinion and at the
same time it can continue its functioning on one particular ideology. Grievances of
different parties, dimensions of different problems, arguments, and counter arguments on
the particular issue can rightly be reflected by media alone.
3. Fourth column of democracy: People often call press as a fourth column of
democracy. The position can be extended to all forms of media because only print media
is not influencing opinion of public, on the contrary electronic media, in terms of its
coverage is more exhaustive and effective.
Considering these aspects, problems of consumers can rightly be expressed by media,
whatever may be the form. In explaining consumers‟ problems, atrocities against
consumers, Educating consumers and making them aware of their problems. Earlier it
was presumed by a good citizen as an essential aspect of sound democracy. Today it is
rightly said that a good consumer makes a good citizen and ultimately a good democrat.
Promoting awareness by spreading information is the primary task that media can
perform towards development of consumerism. Information is the asset. Exploitation of
consumer is due to absence of this vital role by providing right information at right time
to consumers. Ignorance regarding prices and price-behavior changes market structure
and fluctuations in economy is not understood by ordinary consumers and hence they fall
prey to exploitation and malpractices. Exploitation of consumers is done in various
forms. Improper advertisements, exaggeration of claims and misstatements are the ways
to exploit consumers. Media can raise these issues and resist against the unscrupulous
practices of marketers. Public utility services, hospitals, transports and communication
are the areas where consumers have their grievances in great magnitude. But the nature
of services is that a consumer finds useless to fight against complaints or authorities.
Such malpractices can rightly be brought to light by media.

ROLE OF MEDIA

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Media in all its form, print or electronic, is a mirror of the times and society we live in. It
connects us to the world and the world to us. Media is an integral part of our life. In
today‘s world, where one‘s social circle is mostly just worked related, based on some or
the other selfish motive, we tend to believe and depend more on the media for every type
of information. Media thus has tremendous impact on the way a society conducts itself in
the present, as well as the shape it would take in the future. It influences people of all age
group. Media also plays a very useful role in setting up good or amicable relations
between traders and buyers. The promotions of fair trade practices, establishing code of
conduct for businessmen are the task that media alone can shoulder. The concept of
ethics in the economy relates to morality, ethics, professional and organizational ethics.
Each industry has its own guidelines for the ethical requirements. But on the four main
requirements for marketing communications are legal, decent, honest and truthful.
Unfortunately, in a society that is the way the company intended to profit from the use of
marketing communication messages targets ―can be a form of social pollution from
potentially harmful and unintended effects of the consumer may have the decision
represented‖. The words of Bernstein (1951, said fifty-six years ago are still very much a
question of present interest: ―It is not true that if we ‗save advertising, we save all,‘ but it
seems reasonable to assume that if we do not save advertising, we might lose all.‖
Earlier the readership was the only criteria to assess the affectivity of media, as it was
only print media that was its mark. The development of movies brought a big change.
People now could see and listen what the communicator wanted to say? Literacy was no
more a criteria to establish a link with audience and viewers. Multiplicities
of communication media have brought a sea change in the psychology of people. People
became more awakened, well-informed and cautious. They could know different views of
the same problem; they could perceive, understand and analyze a situation well. Further
advancement of media and mass literacy has also changed the composition of our society.
Now, people are becoming conscious and logical thinking and rational bent of mind. The
role of media has also broadened. It has undertaken many ventures, along with
entertainment, education and enhancement of social structure. Thus, the new media is a
mirror of modern society expressing its needs, aspirations, expectations and failures.

74
As a general rule, the problem of society, a social group or in some cases, the problems of
individual are well expressed by no one else but media. Our civilization is characterized
by impact of media on its structure, value system and outlook. Many socioeconomic
problems, education of masses and social awakening can best be done by media. Media
presently deals with problems of current importance. Where investigative journalism,
reporting of pertinent and important facts and high lightening those events which
otherwise cannot be noticed occupies prime position. Due to advent of T.V… a large
section of society is now influenced by media activities to a great extent. It has become a
silent opinion maker and hence it is working on a larger plane than any other institution.
Some suggestions for what should be the role of media for consumer protection and
welfare against various exploiting elements are as follows:
(i) An independent and free media is necessary in a democracy as it ensures the
accountability of the government.
(ii) The media should play its role in empowering the consumers through consumer
education and also highlighting various unfair trade practices resorted to by the
traders and service providers.
(iii) There has to be a check on misleading
advertisements, however, the media has to self regulate itself.
(iv) The print media should have regular columns which should contain the various
decisions of the consumer courts.
(v) The Departments of Journalism and Mass Communication in various Universities
may include Consumer Protection and Consumer Welfare in their syllabus for
under graduate and post graduate courses.
(vi) In order to disseminate information about consumer rights by organising various
campaigns on this, the new media can serve as an effective platform.
In the current past, media has undertaken the job of consumer education and fighting
against exploitation of consumers.

HOW MEDIA PROMOTES CONSUMER MOVEMENT?


Presently people have faith in the press more than any other institution. The impartial,
truthful and bold militant press has protected interest of consumers in many cases. People

75
prefer to believe in the reports published in press than official proclamation
of government. The issues of public interest as handled by press have no parallel. This is
more so in case of matters of consumers interest. The poor fate of affairs in service
sector, the low quality products, adulterates food grains, rampant corruption; bureaucratic
tendencies of Government officials, nepotism in high places, black marketing, smuggling
and artificial scarcity of goods are carefully highlighted by media alone. Because of this,
media is accepted as champion of public cause. There are the different activities that
different media have undertaken to promote consumer consciousness. The electronic
media have started campaigning for consumer education by regular social communication
starting constitutional rights of consumers as well as when and how they should use it.
The regular advertisements regarding how a consumer should launch his complaint and
with whom this should be launched are very useful.

CONCLUSION
As a general rule, the problem of society, a social group or in some cases, the problems of
individual are well expressed by no one else but media. Our civilization is characterized
by impact of media on its structure, value system and outlook. Earlier the role of media in
consumer education and protection was limited, but the arrival of e-commerce, m-
commerce, and Right to Information Act 2005 which was passed by Indian Parliament by
June 15, 2005 and came fully into force on October 13, 2005, media plays a very useful
role in setting up good or amicable relations between traders and buyers. In the current
past, media has undertaken the job of consumer education and fighting against
exploitation of consumers. So, it is important that media should work in a judicious
manner.

REFERENCES:
1. A Study on consumerism and its implications, S. C. Vetrivel & M.
Mohanasundari, JMIJMM,January, 2011 vol-1 issue-2.
2. Consumer Protection Act Of 1986, en.wikipedia.org/wikis/Consumer-Protection-
Act-Of1986.
3. Consumerism in India and its effects, Richard Robbine, Jan.30,2012.

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4. Arora, J. S., & Kaur, R. (2015). An applicability of social media in permission
marketing. EXCEL International Journal of Multidisciplinary Management
Studies, 5, 15–28.
5. Chartrand, T. L. (2005). The role of conscious awareness in consumer behavior.
Journal of Consumer Psychology, 15, 203–210.10.1207/s15327663jcp1503_4
6. Coleman, S., & Ross, K. (2010). The Media and the Public. Oxford: John Wiley
& Sons.10.1002/9781444318173
7. Ishak, S., & Zabil, N. F. M. (2012). Impact of consumer awareness and
knowledge to consumer effective behavior. Asian Social Science, 8, 108–114.
8. National Seminar on Consumerism in India Prospects and Challenges. The Times
of India, Sachin Sharma, September 6, 2012.
9. http://commerceweaverpro.com/role-of-media-in-consumer-protection.html
10. http://commerceweaverpro.com/role-of-media-in-consumer-protection.htm
11. http://consumergoods.indiabizclub.com/info/consumer_rights
12. http://www.consumer.tn.gov.in
13. http://www.consumerdaddy.com

77
ROLE OF NGOs IN PROTECTION OF CONSUMER RIGHTS
Shivani Sharma
Assistant Professor
Dev Samaj College of Education,
Chandigarh

Abstract
Man is a social animal and that; he loves to live in society with other human beings. The
story starts with the apes turning into homosapians giving birth to human civilization
.Any civilization requires a setup giving space and generating place for everything. With
the passage of time human has been generating commodities providing comforts to his
life .In the present time human has made his life more and more comfortable creating
more pressure on the modes of production .Earlier it was nature based but now it is
demand based. Population explosion has created more pressure on the production .As a
result the whole system has been affected with the overflow of money and consumerism
.Whether it is a need or a greed these production plants are enduring the demands of the
society .It has been become essential to put a check on the movement of all the
commodities to check consumerism and make consumer protection laws. The role of
Government and Non Government organizations to execute these laws is mandatory.
NGOs are playing a very decisive role in the redressal of grievances of the consumer and
spreading awareness about consumer rights. In this paper more emphasis is given on how
media can promote awareness about NGO‘s activities and also how NGO‘s need media
to convey their message to society and government and also to form public opinion about
various policies and lastly media and NGO‘s can work for betterment of society
continuously.

INTRODUCTION
―The evolution of the human rights movement clearly illustrates humanity’s
ongoing struggle toward creating a better world.‖—Robert Alan
The Consumer right is ‗the right to have information about the quality, potency, quantity,
purity, price and standard of goods or services‘, as it may be the case, but the consumer is

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to be protected against any unfair practices of trade. It is very essential for the consumers
to know these rights.
In India there are strong and clear laws to defend consumer rights. Out of the various
laws that have been enforced to protect the consumer rights in India, the most important
is the Consumer Protection Act, 1986.
As Under section-6 of Consumer Protection Act, consumer has the following rights:
1. RIGHT TO SAFETY: According to the Consumer Protection Act 1986, the
consumer right is referred to as ‗right to be protected against marketing of goods and
services which are hazardous to life and property‘. It is applicable to specific areas like
healthcare, pharmaceuticals and food processing; this right is spread across the domain
having a serious effect on the health of the consumers or their well being viz.
Automobiles, Housing, Domestic Appliances, and Travel etc.
2. RIGHT TO INFORMATION: The right to information is defined as ‗the right to be
informed about the quality, quantity, potency, purity, standard and price of goods or
services, as the case may be so as to protect the consumer against unfair trade practices‘
in the Consumer Protection Act of 1986. The right to information gives the power to the
consumers to have an easy access to information which is necessary for the consumer.
3. RIGHT TO CHOOSE: Right to choose as per the Consumer Protection Act 1986 is
‗the right to be assured, wherever possible, to have access to a variety of goods and
services at competitive prices‘. Consumer has the full right to buy goods or services of
his choice from among the different goods or services available in the market.
4. RIGHT TO BE HEARD: This right helps to empower the consumers for putting
forward their complaints and concerns fearlessly and raising their voice against products
or even companies and ensure that their issues are taken into consideration as well as
handled expeditiously. There is a website, Consumerdaddy.com, where consumers can
upload their criticisms as well as file complaints. Every criticism filed gradually lessens
the overall score of the product which is being criticized therefore each complaint is
independently checked by an investigator who belonged to Consumerdaddy.com website.
“Jago Grahak Jago” is platform where consumer can register their complaints.
5. RIGHT TO SEEK REDRESSAL: This provides compensation to consumer against
unfair trade practice of the seller. For instance, if the quantity and the quality of the

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product do not confirm to the promise of the seller, the buyer has the right to claim
compensation, such as free repair of the product, taking back of the products, changing of
the product by the seller
6. RIGHT TO CONSUMER EDUCATION: ―An Aware Consumer is a protected
Consumer‖. The right of every Indian citizen to have education on matters regarding
consumer protection as well as about her/his right is regarded as the last right provided by
the Consumer Protection Act 1986. The right makes sure that the consumers in the
country have informational programs and materials which are easily accessible and
would enable them to make purchasing decisions which are better than before. Consumer
education might refer to formal education through college and school curriculums as well
as consumer awareness campaigns being run by non-governmental and governmental
agencies both.
NGOs
Non-governmental organisations are those organisations which aim at promoting the
welfare of the people, and which are non-profit making. They have voluntary decision-
making structure, and are free from the interference of the government. They may fully or
partially Financed by the government or any other financial agency. However, the NGOs
have to abide by the rules provided in the government regulations regarding them. The
number of NGOs worldwide is estimated to be 10 million. Russia had about 277,000
NGOs in 2008. India is estimated to have had around 2 million NGOs in 2009.
Functions performed by consumer organizations and non-government organizations
are as follows:
(1) Accelerating Consumer Awareness/Educating Consumers: The first priority
of a consumer organisation is to accelerate consumer awareness towards their
rights. To accomplish this task following efforts are made:
(i) To publish brochures, journals and monographs.
(ii) To arrange conferences, seminars and workshops.
(iii)To educate consumers to help themselves.
(iv) To provide special education to women about consumerism.
(v) To encourage to follow desirable consumption standards.
(2) Collecting Data on Different Products and testing them:

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These organisations collect samples of different products from time to time and test them.
After that the results of the tests are declared to public. In this way, these organisations
provide prior information to consumers about the authenticity of product and protect
them. Apart from this, these organisations also work in conducting investigation/ research
on consumer‘s problems.

(3) Filing Suit on Behalf of Consumers:

Whenever a consumer fails to raise his voice of protest regarding his complaints, these
consumers‘ organisations come to his rescue and file a case in the court. By rendering
this service to the consumers, the consumers get a feeling that they are not alone in their
struggle. They also run voluntary complaint centres for the guidance of consumers.

(4) Organising Protests against Adulteration etc.:


The consumers‘ organisations play a significant role in eliminating the evils of
adulteration, hoarding, black- marketing, and under-weight selling. Whenever there is an
unnecessary rise in the prices of certain things, the consumers‘ organisation raise a voice
of protest against it.

Consumer organisations prepare films and cassettes related to adulteration in food


products, ill effects of medicines and Acts related to consumer protection. Many a times
exhibitions are arranged to bring awareness among the consumers against spurious and
adulterated products. Nowadays consumer organisations are playing a major role in
encouraging consumers to raise their voice against faulty and inferior products.

(5) Helping Educational Institutions:


These organisations tell the educational institutions the way to prepare courses of study
keeping in view the interests of the consumers. They stress the fact that a special article
on consumers‘ interest should always be added to the courses on general study.

(6) Promoting Network of Consumer Associations:


Consumer organisations are trying to grow their numbers. They want to cover all the
regions of the country so that consumers of all the regions are benefited by their services.

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Their effort is to form a federation at the apex level and then through the medium of the
federation reach state and district level.

(7) Extending Support to Government:

Consumer organisations by informing the government agencies about adulteration,


artificial scarcity, inferior quality products and other such evils help the government. This
in turn helps the government to conduct proceedings in time.

In this way we find that the consumers‘ organisations play a significant role in providing
protection to the consumers.

CONCLUSION

Here, we have evaluated the role of NGOs in protection of consumer rights. The passage
of Consumer Protection Act, 1984 expanded the scope of the consumer legislation. The
encouragement to the NGOs in this Act further contributed to the proliferation of the
NGOs and increase of their activities. During the 1980s and 1990s there are several
examples of the efforts of the NGOs for redressal of the grievances of the consumers. The
journalists, lawyers, professors, public interest organizations social workers, consumers
and environmentalists are playing important role in the NGOs to litigate on behalf of the
poor, exploited and oppressed.

We have seen that the non-governmental organisations have been playing important roles
in the redressal of the consumer‘s grievances. They have raised the consumer‘s issues
relating to goods and services by spreading awareness about the consumers' rights. They
organise seminars, distribute handbills, put up posters, etc. They file public interest
litigation in the consumer courts as well as in different courts in the country. In many
cases the consumers get compensation, the erring parties promise not to indulge in the
practices, which are deterrent to the consumer' interests.

REFERENCES:

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1. Aggarwal Anju, A Practical handbook consumers, India Book House Pvt,
Bombay 1989. Gulshan, S.S. Consumer Protectionand satispaction, Willy Eastern.
2. Consumer Protection Act Of 1986, en.wikipedia.org/wikis/Consumer-Protection-
Act-Of-1986.
3. Consumer Protection Act Of 1986, en.wikipedia.org/wikis/Consumer-Protection-
Act-Of1986.
4. Consumerism in India and its effects, Richard Robbins, Jan.30, 2012.
5. Consumer Protection Act Of 1986, en.wikipedia.org/wikis/Consumer-Protection-
Act-Of1986.
6. International Journal of Innovative Research in Science, Engineering and
Technology (An ISO 3297:2007 Certified Organization) Vol. 4, Issue 2, February
2015.
7. Research Paper on Consumerism, My Way of Expressing!!! , Mahesh Santhappa,
July 15, 2011. Think4something.wordpress.com/2011/15/research-paper on
consumerism.
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