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Chapter 1

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Introduction
Bangladesh is a small country with a huge population. Perhaps it is the country
with largest consumer comparing its small area. Though in many sectors
Bangladesh improves but it is matter of sorrow that after 40 year of independence
consumer rights are yet been introduced in a significant manner in Bangladesh.
Though there is lot of organization working for human rights in Bangladesh but
no organization except Consumer Association of Bangladesh (CAB) working for
consumer rights. But consumer rights are integral parts of human rights. As a
student of law we know that consumer is treated as king to marketer. In developed
country we see that consumer is very much honored. The Consumer Rights
Protection Act, 2009(the Act) was passed by the Government of Bangladesh in
April 2009 to ensure consumer protection by realizing consumer’s right to quality
goods and services at fair prices. Despite the enactment, there has been little in the
way of Government action to implement and enforce the law to prevent
malpractices in the market. Aggrieved consumers are not able to seek redress
under existing circumstances due to lack of adequate institutional arrangements
for the implementation of the Act. 1 Bearing in mind both the importance of
protecting consumers, and the contribution this will make to economic and social
development, it is important that steps are taken to encourage the Government to
consider the adequacy of the present Act, make any necessary amendments About

1
Ahamuduzzaman etal, Consumer Protection Law 1986, 1st ed., (New Delli: Rita Court,
1997), pp.123-24

1
25 years ago, the UN General Assembly adopted the “Guidelines for Consumer
Protection 1985”. In 1999, the guidelines were extended to include a A.K. M.
chapter on Sustainable Consumption. This report is a comparative study of the
Bangladesh Act against those guidelines, making a number of recommendations
to greater align the Government of Bangladesh’s efforts at consumer protection
with those international standards to ensure its effectiveness, and to assign
sufficient resources and provide institutional arrangements to implement and
enforce the law.

2
Chapter 2
CONCEPT OF CONSUMER RIGHTS

2.1 Definition of consumer


A consumer or “Buyer” is defined as “one, who buys, uses, maintains and
disposes of products and/or services” and although, many may still be familiar
with the doctrine of “Let the Buyer Beware” this is no longer the case with the
advent of Consumer Protection law.
“Consumer” means any individual who in relation to a commercial practice is
acting for purposes which are outside his business.
Section-2 (19) of the Consumer Protection Act, 2009 in Bangladesh states the
definition of consumer.2

2.2 Who is a consumer?


“Consumer” means such type of person:
a) Who except for the purpose of resale and commercial intention.
i) Purchases or agrees to purchase any product by payment of a price.
ii) Purchases or agrees to purchases by part payment of price.
iii) Purchases with the promise of paying price in extended term or by
installments.
b) Who uses the product purchased under clause (a) with the consent of the
purchaser.
c) Who, after purchasing a product, uses it commercially for the purpose of
making a living self –employed.

2
G. Borrie and A. L. Diamond. The Consumer, Society and the Law, 2nd ed. (New
York, 1983), p.9

3
d) Who,
i) Hires or receives otherwise any service by payment or promises to pay the
price.
ii) Hires or receives otherwise any service by part payment or promises to pay
partly the price.
iii) Hires or receives otherwise any service by paying the price in an extended
term or by installments.
e) Who consumers the service received under clause (d) with the consent of
the service consumer.
Although it may be difficult for a seller to decide whether a purchaser is a
consumer or not it depends on the purchaser’s intention in buying the goods for
him. It is said that consumer protection is the achieved or intended result of
consumer policy.3

2.3 Consumer protection and consumer law


It is now admitted that the law as it stands does not give sufficient protection to
the consumer. As a matter of fact, the term consumer is by origin an economic
concept and until quite recently, it was simply foreign to legal usage and
conceptualization. However, with the growing realization of the need for special
legislation for the protection of consumers and only consumers, it become
important to give the term ‘consumer’ a fixed legal meaning.4
Consumer protection consists of laws and organizations designed to ensure
the rights of consumers as well as fair trade competition and the free flow of
truthful information in the marketplace. The laws are designed to prevent
businesses that engage in fraud or specified unfair practices from gaining an
advantage over competitors and may provide additional protection for the weak

3
Ibid., p.79.
4. Ibid., p.78.

4
and those unable to take care of themselves. Consumer protection laws are a form
of government regulation which aims to protect the rights of consumers. For
example, a government may require businesses to disclose detailed information
about products particularly in areas where safety or public health is an issue, such
as food. Consumer protection is linked to the idea of “consumer rights” (that
consumers have various rights as consumers), and to the formation of consumer
organizations, which help consumers make better choices in the marketplace and
get help with consumer.
Other organizations that promote consumer protection include government
organizations and self-regulating business organizations such as consumer
protection agencies and organizations, the Federal Trade.
Commission, ombudsmen, Better Business Bureaus, etc. A consumer is
defined as someone who acquires goods or services for direct use or ownership
rather than for resale or use in production and manufacturing. Consumer interests
can also be protected by promoting competition in the markets which directly and
indirectly serve consumers, consistent with economic efficiency, but this topic is
treated in competition law.5

2.4 What is Consumer Rights Law?


This legal area encompasses a large body of laws enacted by the government to
protect consumers by regulating many of the following business transactions and
practices: advertising, sales and business practices; product branding; mail fraud;
sound banking and truth in lending; quality produce and meats; housing material
and other product standards; and all manner of other types of consumer
transactions. Some states also regulate door-to-door sales, abusive collection
practices and referral and promotional sales.
Consumer protection law or consumer law is considered an area of law that
regulates private law relationships between individual consumers and the

5
M. Humayun Kabir Chowdhury, etal, Consumer Perceived Value Formation in
Bangladesh, 3rd ed., (Dhaka: Law Book Company, 2012), Vol.1, pp.1-4.

5
businesses that sell those goods and services. Consumer protection covers a wide
range of topics, including but not necessarily limited to product liability, privacy
rights, unfair business practices, fraud, misrepresentation, and other
consumer/business interactions.
Consumer protection laws deal with a wide range of issues including credit
repair, debt repair, product safety, service and sales contracts, bill collector
regulation, pricing, utility turnoffs, consolidation, personal loans that may lead to
bankruptcy.6

2.5 Aspects of consumer protection


There are three aspects of consumer rights protection, which every country must
consider.
First, the aspect of ‘voluntary protection’ which means that consumer’s
themselves would voluntarily set up associations and/or organizations to
safeguard their own rights and interests. These associations/organizations
generally work as pressure groups on the government for consumer rights issues.
There are many such voluntary organizations in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and
other countries of the world. In Bangladesh, the Consumers’ Association of
Bangladesh (CAB) was established in 1978.7
Second, the aspect of ‘institutional protection’. By establishing national
institutions to safeguard and promote consumer rights of citizens this aspect of
consumers’ protection can be ensured. For example, in 1914 the Federal Trade
Commission, in 1927 the Food and Drug Administration and in 1970 the National
High Traffic Administration were set up in the USA; the United Kingdom
established the office of Director-General of Fair Trading; Sweden set up the
Consumer Agency KOV and Consumer Ombudsman KO; India established
National Consumer Protection Council, various State Consumer Protection
Councils, National Consumer Disputes Redressed Commission with State

6
Dr. Mizanur Rahman, Consumer Protection in Bangladesh 2nd ed., (New York: University of
Chicago Press, 1993), pp. 56-57.
7
Ibid., p.82.

6
Commissions and District Forums; Pakistan set up the Islamabad Consumer
Protection Council; Sri Lanka and Nepal set up the office of the Commissioner of
Internal Trade and the Consumer Protection Council respectively.
Third, the aspect of ‘statutory protection’, which can be guaranteed by
enacting relevant laws for protecting the rights and interests of the consumers.
Many countries of the world, including those in Asia, have already enacted
comprehensive laws in this regard. For example, the Consumer Protection
Fundamental Act 1968 in Japan, Consumer Protection Act 1979 in both Thailand
and Sri Lanka, Consumer Protection Act 1986 in India, Consumer Act of the
Philippines 1990 in the Phillippines, Islamabad Consumers Protection Act 1995 in
Pakistan, Consumer Protection Act 1998 in Nepal, The Law on Consumer
Protection 1999 in Indonesia and Consumer Protection Act 1999 in Malaysia were
enacted. However, Bangladesh is yet to enact such a comprehensive Consumers
Protection Act.

2.6 How is a Consumer Protected?


To protect consumer rights, the best possible solution is that the consumers must
be aware of their rights, work together with consumer organizations, assert against
exploitation and seek redress for their grievances. A kind of self-vaccinating
culture has to be developed to produce the best harvest from the Consumer Rights
Protection Act (CRPA),
In our country, consumer awareness is low due to the apathy and lack of
education among the masses. The efforts to educate them about their rights,
quality concerns, price mechanisms, access to justice etc are limited due to varied
reasons. The producers of goods and services providers are reluctant to give due
consideration to the interest of consumers.

2.7 Why consumer protection is necessary


o The people who dominate the market or run businesses are always
in a more advantageous position than the Customers. The

7
customers are often put into a disadvantaged and unequal
bargaining situation. Therefore, consumers need to be protected.
o Honesty should govern competitive business enterprises and the
maxim ‘buyer be aware’ should not be relied upon to reward
fraudulent and deceptive businesses.
o The concept of consumer rights cannot be separated from the
human rights perspective.
o Consumer rights are regarded as a facet of ‘social justice’.
o Ralph Nader, pioneer of the American consumer movement said,
‘consumers are the vital force of the economy’.

2.8 “Eight Legitimate Rights of the Consumers”


1. Right to Satisfaction of Basic needs: Fundamental right according to the
Constitution of Bangladesh to have access to food, clothing, education,
healthcare, shelter.
2. Right to Safety: protection from hazardous and unsafe products and
services.
3. Right to Information: information about the quality, quantity, potency,
purity, standard and price of products and services.
4. Right to Choose: Availability of selection of goods and services from their
varieties to justify the quality, cost, preference.
5. Right to be Heard: raise unhappiness against consumer malpractice; or
right to be represented by consumer organizations.
6. Right to Redress: This is the crux of consumer rights. The consumer is
entitled to have legal remedy, either monetary or exchange, in case of
violation of consumer rights.
7. Right to Consumer Education: to have access to programs and information
that helps the consumer to make a better and informed buying decision.

8
8. Right to Healthy Environment: to live and work in an environment that
does not affect consumers’ welfare and health.8
2.9 Responsibilities of the Consumer
 Use the product safely, following all safety instructions and remaining
alert for future precautions.
 Choose vigilantly at a fair price.
 Make the effort to seek compensation for a wrong.
• Make choices that minimize the environmental impact of your purchase on
others.
• Consume in a sustainable manner, so as not to preventothers from meeting
their own needs.

2.10 Parties to Consumer Protection


We have realised the need for steps to protect consumer interest. The question is,
who will take those steps? Can consumers alone do it? Or, should we depend on
the government? Can businessmen do anything? Actually, for effective consumer
protection, it is essential that all the three parties must be involved, that is,
(a) Consumers; (b) Businessmen; and (c) Government. Let us consider what each
of the parties can do:9
(a) We shall agree that self-help is the best help. So consumers should, as far
as possible, take care of their own interest and protect themselves from market
malpractices. For this purpose, it is necessary that they should try to know about
their rights and exercise them. They Business Studies should not depend on the
good sense of businessmen. Consumers have a right to education and also a right
to be heard. They should attend training programmes for consumers arranged by
local consumer associations or by their own association and invite consumer

8
Bangladesh research Publications Journal ISSN: 1998-2003 Volume: 1, Issue: 2, Page: 166 -
176, 20th February- August, 2018, www.bdresearchpublications.com, last visited on
December 18, 2017.
9
A. L. Borrie and Diamond. The Consumer, Society and the Law, 1st ed., (New York: 1983),
p.9

9
activists to speak to them on consumer rights and remedies available under the
law to protect them.
(b) As regards businessmen, it is expected that producers, distributors,
dealers, wholesalers as well as retailers should pay due regard to consumer rights
in their own interest. They should ensure supply of quality goods and services at
reasonable prices. To prevent unfair practices, associations of traders, chambers
of commerce and industry, and manufacturers’ associations should entertain
consumer complaints against their members and take proper action against those
guilty of malpractice.
(c) For Government, consumer protection is a responsibility to be undertaken
in the general interest of society. Enforcement of various laws and amending
existing laws to protect consumer interests are required to be taken up in the light
of viewpoints of consumer associations. Representations of consumer groups
should also be associated with the policymaking bodies set up by government at
the centre and the states. A number of measures have been taken by Government
from time to time.

2.11 The laws having consumer protection implication


Consumer protection law or consumer law is considered an area of law that
regulates private law relationships between individual consumers and the
businesses that sell those goods and services. Consumer protection covers a wide
range of topics, including but not necessarily limited to product liability, privacy
rights, unfair business practices, fraud, misrepresentation, and other
consumer/business interactions.
Consumer protection laws deal with a wide range of issues including credit
repair, debt repair, product safety, service and sales contracts, bill collector
regulation, pricing, utility turnoffs, consolidation, personal loans that may lead to
bankruptcy.
In the Bangladesh context, the government should reactivate the Trading
Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB) and create a consumers corporation for public
distribution system. The two bodies can go for local purchase or imports for the

10
purpose. The standards and testing institution needs to be strengthened to oversee
product quality. It is also the responsibility of the government to interact with
International Organization for Standardization (ISO), FAO and WHO for updating
food standards.10
Mandatory arbitration clauses in consumer contracts have to be incorporated
to help the consumer avoid the hassle of litigation.
The government should make and update the rules for businesses to disclose
detailed information about products-particularly in areas where safety or public
health is an issue such as food. Consumer protection is linked to the idea of
consumer rights, and to the formation of consumer organizations which help
consumers make better choices in the marketplace.

2.12 An overview of the Bangladeshi Laws on the promotion and Protection


of consumer rights
The general protection of the consumers may be derived from principles
enunciated in Articles- 15x and 18xi of the Constitution. This Articles, though
non-justifiable in its nature, indicates the importance attributed to the nutritional
status of the people and basic principles and measures for protecting consumers
from products, processes and services, which can endanger their health and safety.
This constitutional safeguard has been strengthened through promulgation of
related laws and regulations so that consumption is proper and appropriate.
Moreover, in the Constitution of Bangladesh some justifiable fundamental rights
are incorporated which are connected with the rights of the consumers. As for
examples, Article 32 provides that no person shall be deprived of life save in
accordance with law; Article 38 provides that every citizen shall have the right to
form associations or unions, subject to any reasonable restrictions imposed by law
in the interests of morality or public order; Article 40 provides that subject to any
restrictions imposed by law, every citizen shall have the right to enter upon any

10
A.B.M. Mafizul Islam Patwary, Liberty of the People, 1st ed., (Dhaka: Institute of Human
Rights and Legal Affairs, 1987) p.29.

11
lawful profession or occupation, and to conduct any lawful trade or business.
These fundamental rights interalia are enforceable by the Supreme Court of
Bangladesh in accordance with Article 102 read with Article 44 of the
Constitution.11
The Consumer Rights Protection Act, 2009 provided both civil and criminal
remedies. A consumer is entitled to lodge complain to the Consumer Rights

Protection Department for any violation of the Act. The DC‟s of different districts

can exercise the same power as given to the department. A consumer although
barred from filing a direct complains to the police station under the Consumer
Rights Protection Act, 2009 can file a case to the Police station under other Laws.
The Bangladeshi laws provides for the establishments of different organizations
to protect the rights of the consumers including various Courts or Tribunals such
as-
(i) Consumer Rights Protection Department; (ii) National Consumer Rights
Protection Council; (iii) Special Tribunal; (iv) Mobile Court (can work/ function
under various Laws; It may be constituted by a special executive order); (v) Drug
Court; (vi) Food Special Court; (vii) Ordinary Criminal Courts; (viii) Ordinary
Civil Courts; (ix) Marine Courts; (x) BSTI; (xi) Claims Tribunal etc.12

2.13 Current status of legal protection to consumers in Bangladesh


It has already been mentioned that the current system of legal protection to the
consumers in Bangladesh is inadequate and outdated. Further whatever little laws
are available, they are not strictly enforced for the protection of the rights of the
general consumers. The consumers in Bangladesh are thus deprived of their rights
at every sphere of their lives.

11
S.Pirzada Sharifuddin, Fundamental Rights and Cconstitutional Remedies in Pakistan, 1st
ed., (Lahor: All Pakistan Legal Decisions, 1966) p.169.

12
Mizanur Rahman, ‘Consumer Protection in Bangladesh: Law and Practice’ (1994) 17(3)
Journal of Consumer Policy 349.

12
The Constitution of Bangladesh, under its ‘fundamental principles of state
policy’ part, recognises the rights of consumers to a limited extent. The provisions
of consumer protection can be found at Articles 15 and 18 of the Constitution.
However, these provisions are mainly focussed on the vital issues of ‘health’ and
‘food’ than on other consumer rights. Moreover, the said provisions are mentioned
under the ‘fundamental principles of state policy’ part and not under the
‘fundamental rights’ part of the Constitution. Hence, they remain mostly non-
enforceable in the courts of law.
Further, there are certain legislations, part of which has got direct bearings on
consumer protection. For example, sections 264-267, 272-276, 478-483 of the
Bangladesh Penal Code 1860, the Poison Act 1919, the Dangerous Drug Act
1930, the Trade Mark Act 1940, the Animals Slaughter (Restriction) and Meat Act
1957, the Special Powers Act 1974, the Standards of Weights and Measures
Ordinance 1982, the Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institute Ordinance 1985,
the Narcotics (Control) Act 1990, and the Safe Blood Transfusion Act 2002, etc.13
(a) The current laws are faulty and do not meet the present needs;
(b) Under the existing legal regime, the aggrieved consumers themselves cannot
go to the court to sue against the violators. It is only the designated government
officials empowered under these laws, who can initiate and sue against the
violators.
(c) The provisions of penalty or punishment under the current laws are so
negligible that nobody cares to abide by such laws; and
(d) Finally, the laws are not effectively enforced.

2.14 Consumer Association of Bangladesh (CAB)


Consumers Association of Bangladesh (CAB), is a nongovernment, non-political
and non-profit voluntary organization. It was established in February 1978. The
association plays a vital role in promoting and protecting consumer rights in

13
The relevant Verses Of Al Qura’n on consumer’s rights are - (83:1, 6:152, 17:35, 83:1-6,
2:172-173, 6:145, 2:168)

13
Bangladesh. Its main goal is to protect the rights and interests of consumers as
well as to educate them on about their rights and responsibilities in order to be a
wise consumer. CAB provides legal assistance and advice to consumers whose
rights have been violated. In essence, CAB is working towards ensuring
consumers and businessmen will have a safe, fair and competitive marketplace.

14
Chapter 3
OVERVIEW OF CONSUMER PROTECTION RIGHTS ACT
2009

3.1. Liability of seller to third party


Under this Act, the seller or the service provider will be liable not only to the
purchaser but also, to those persons who again buy or use the products with the
consent of the former buyer. Since the definition of consumer covers such person,
it means that the seller is liable to a third party.

3.1.1 Establishment of the Council (parishad)


Under the Consumer Rights Protection Act, 2009, there are Councils at two levels:
a. National level (National Consumer Rights Protection Council)
b. District level (District Consumer Rights Protection Committee) The
National Consumer Rights Protection Council may, for purpose of preservation
and protection of consumer rights, make appropriate regulations, undertake
research, create awareness, and advise the government on policy relating to
consumer protection, as well as monitor the activities of the Directorate of
Consumer Protection. On the other hand, the District Committees are to
implement the rules and regulations adopted by the National Council.

3.1.2 Establishment of Directorate on Consumer Rights


Under the Consumer Rights Protection Act, 2009, a Directorate of consumer
rights is established in Dhaka. In fact, the principal responsibility to implement
this Act rests on this Directorate. The Directorate is headed by a Director General
(DG) and to assist him, there will be such staffs as may be necessary. A person
may submit complaint of any activity violating consumer rights to the DG or any

15
person authorized by him. To make a complaint to Magistrate or to file a criminal
case requires the permission of the DG or of person authorized by him on this
behalf. The DG holds power to investigate, to search or to issue summons and
warrant. Besides this, he may also issue directives to close any shop or business
enterprise engaged in activities that violate consumer rights.14

3.1.3 Filing of Complaint


Under the CRPA 2009, no person can file a complaint directly at the Magistrate’s
court. A person can file a complaint based on the anti-consumer activities to the
Director General of the National Consumer Rights Protection Directorate or any
other person authorized by him within 30 days of the complained cause of action.
Then, within 90 days of the complaint received, the charge has to be filed to the
Magistrate court with the approval of the DG.

3.1.4 Concurrent Remedy


Apart from filing a criminal case with the Magistrate court, civil remedy can be
sought at the civil courts. The civil court is endowed with the jurisdiction to grant
proper compensation which would not go beyond the fivefold amount of the
actual damage.

3.1.5 Act not in derogation of any other law


The provisions of the CRPA shall be in addition to and not in derogation of the
provisions of any other law for the time being in force. It would be operative as an
additional apparatus with the other laws having consumer implications. This law
does not supersede other laws, rather it is said to be applied as a complementary
law on the same point. If an anti-consumer activity falls within the ambit of some
other rigorous law (for example: Special Powers Act 1974), the complainant
would have the option to resort to that law.

14
Turin Afroz, “Consumer Rights Day: What do we want”, The daily Star, “Law & our
Rights”, 2nd ed., (Dhaka: Mullick Brothers, 2010), p. 258.

16
3.1.6 Mobile Court
The mobile court has jurisdiction to try offences relating to activities that violate
consumer rights. An executive Magistrate runs the mobile court. Besides, the DG
has also the same power as an Executive Magistrate to run the mobile court. He
has jurisdiction all over Bangladesh. A Magistrate may at once recognize an
offence under this Act, if committed in front of him and punish him, on the basis
of his confession, with an imprisonment for a period of maximum two years.
However, if the offence is serious in nature; he will take steps to file a criminal
case in the criminal court.15

3.1.7 Consumer perceived value


Perceived value is consumer’s estimate of the product’s overall capacity to satisfy
his or her needs. It is the consumer’s overall assessment of the utility of a product
based on perceptions of what is received and what is given or what might be
given.
Customer perceived value (CPV) is the difference between the prospective
customer’s evaluation of all the benefits and all the costs of an offering and the
perceived alternatives.
Total customer value is the perceived monetary value of the bundle or
economic, functional, and psychological benefits customers expect from a given
market offering.16
Total customer cost is the bundle of costs customers expect to incur in
evaluating, obtaining, using, and disposing of the given marketing offering..
Some marketers might argue that the process we have described is too rational.
Suppose the customer chose the Komatsu tractor. How can we explain this
choice? Here are three possibilities:

15
Justice Latifur Rahman, The Constitution of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, 2nd
ed., (Dhaka: Mullick Brothers, 2004), p. 123.

16
Ibid., p.124.

17
1. The buyer might be under orders to buy at the lowest price. The Caterpillar
salesperson’s task is to convince the buyer’s manager that buying on price alone
wills result inlowerlong-termpofits.
2. The buyer will retire before the company realizes that the Komatsu tractor is
more expensive to operate. The buyer will look good in the short run; he is
maximizing personal benefit. The Caterpillar salesperson’s task is to convince
other people in the customer company that Caterpillar delivers greater customer
value.17
3. The buyer enjoys a long-term friendship with te Komatsu salesperson. In this
case, caterpillars’ salesperson needs to show the buyer that the Komatsu tractor
will draw complaints from the tractor operators when they discover its high fuel
cost and need for frequent repairs.
The point of these examples is clear: Buyers operate under various constraints
and occasionally make choices that give more weight to their personal benefit than
to the company’s benefit. However, customer perceived value is a useful
framework that applies to many situations and yields rich insights. Here are its
implications:
First, the seller must assess the total customer value and total customer cost
associated with each competitor’s offer in order to know how his or her offer rates
in the buyer’s mind.18
Second, the seller who is at a customer perceived value disadvantage has two
alternatives: to increase total customer value or to decrease total customer cost.
The former calls for strengthening or augmenting the offer’s product,
services, personnel, and image benefits. The latter calls for reducing the buyer’s
product, services, personnel, and image benefits. The latter calls for reducing the
buyer’s costs by reducing the price, simplifying the ordering and delivery process,
or absorbing some buyer risk by offering a warranty.

17
A.K. M. Shamsul Huda, The Constitution of Bangladesh,1st ed., (New Delli: Rita Court,
1997), Volume-1, pp. 166 -176.

18
ibid., p. 126.

18
3.1.8 Concept of consumer rights protection Law
According to a leading European author on the subject, consumer law comprises
“the body of standards, rules and instruments representing the juridical fruit borne
by the various efforts that have been made to secure or improve the protection of
the consumer on the economic market and to promote the interests of the
consumerist” to establish a balance of power between consumers and their
economic partners or, probably more realistically, to define the means whereby
the existing imbalance can be reduced.
In a narrower sense, consumer law “focuses mainly on citizens entering
transactions to obtain products and services from commercial enterprises.
It is now accepted in Sweden and other Scandinavian countries that the “legal
consumer concept must be confined to private persons who are acquiring goods,
services or anything else of value mainly for their own use and not for resale or
use in business.

3.2 Importance of the protection of consumer rights


It is now universally acknowledges that the observance of basic human rights is
the cornerstone of peace and security for all nations. A consumer right is
considered as a basic human rights as part of right to life. Many European
countries have already inserted „consumer rights‟ in their constitution for giving
special preferences e.g. Spain.
The constitution of Bangladesh enshrines „right to life‟ as a fundamental
right that indirectly protects consumer rights. The constitution also states that it is
the fundamental responsibility of the State to ensure the basic necessities of life,
including food, clothing, shelter, education and medical care with special regard to
public health and morality.
In this digital era, the world is considered as a global village. So, concern for
consumer rights rarely begins or ends at any single nations boundaries, and
effective action to protect and promote consumer rights, whether at home or
abroad, can be furthered by the imaginative use of national, regional or
international techniques. In the European Countries a consume’s right is protected
through common directives applicable equally for all the EU nations. The World

19
Trade Organizations (WTO) has a great role in regulating trade affairs
through different agreements among various nations. The United Nations (UN)
has adopted guidelines for the protection of consumer rights.
It is widely accepted by the scholars that „trade and business relates to the
socio-economic and religious conditions of a particular community. Bangladesh, a
developing country with over population, is dependant upon the foreign countries
for its essential commodities and imports huge quantities of food, cosmetic and
essential products every year especially from India, Japan, China, the USA and
the EU countries. It has very good relations with the Middle East countries and
earns huge foreign exchanges by exporting goods, medicines and apparels.
The religious prohibition on consumption of some food and food items has a
great impact over consumer rights. It is the prime responsibility of the state to
ensure all those rights to its citizens.
So, the importance of the protection of consumer rights carries a great value
towards humanity. To ensure security and safety in life, the consumer rights
protection related Laws should be effectively enforced. The number of immature
and unnatural death will be reduced if the consumer rights are duly ensured.
effective enforcement of consumer rights shall impact widely on economic
progress in national.19

19
Humayun Kabir Chowdhury, et al, Consumer Perceived Value Formation in Bangladesh: A
latent Structure Approach, ASA University Review, vol.1, Issue No.01, pp-1-4, passim;

20
Chapter 4
DIFFERENT STATUS ON CONSUMER PROTECTION IN
BANGLADESH

4.1 Protection of Consumer Rights


In Bangladesh, the consumers’ rights are not well-protected due to some
procedural hindrances, lack of awareness, lack of proper and strict laws, lack of
accountability, lack of monitoring systems, shortage of experts in examining
goods and conditions of various mechanical services etc.
The various problems of the existing Laws of Bangladesh on consumer rights can
be summarized below:

4.2 Procedural hindrances in filing Criminal case


The offences under the Consumer Rights Protection Act, 2009 shall be tried by a
Metropolitan Magistrate or a Judicial Magistrate of the 1st Class. No complaint
can be entertained by the Court without endorsement of the Director General of
the Consumer Rights Protection Department. The Magistrate will not take
cognizance of any offence if charge sheet is not submitted within 90 days of
lodging complaint under section 60. The Magistrate may conduct summary trial
following the provisions of the C P C which may raise questions of arbitrariness
and despotism. The Magistrate may also examine the product with the help of the
experts. The quality of the experts are not up to the marks. A question of fairness
may arise if samples are collected from any shop and sent it to the laboratory for
examination instead of instant test. A second trial is prohibited under the Law but
an appeal can be filed to the Court of Session with in 90 days from receiving the
judgment or order.

21
Therefore we can see that the Consumer Protection Act 2009 provides that
only competent government officers are entitled to institute a case against the
culprit for violation of such laws. A common consumer cannot initiate any legal
action against him except lodging a complaint to the department concerned. The
existing Consumer Rights Protection department is situated inside the Secretariat
that discourages people to lodge complaint because of the restriction on entrances
to the Secretariat. No court shall take cognizance if charge sheet is not submitted
within 90 days from the date of compliant. So, the Court is virtually ineffective
and the power is assumed by the department and they have a wide scope in
involving corruption. Traders know it well that the customers are not eligible to
institute a suit or take action against them except the Government officials and
they also know how to manage such officers. Due to these legal flaws consumers
are not duly protected. Therefore, these legal flaws are to be removed to allow the
consumers to institute a suit in the court of law. In case of exceptional
circumstances the Department may lodge complaint to the Special Tribunal
instead of going to the Magistrate Court (Section-75).20

4.3 Problems regarding Court-fees in filing Civil suit


A civil suit may be filed directly claiming compensation by the consumers to the
Joint-District Judges Court but advalorem court fees are to be paid that
discourages consumers to the access to justice.

4.4 Lack of Legal knowledge and Delay in Proceedings


The ignorance of consumers as to their legal protection is one of the reasons for
non-implementation of the legal provisions for their protection. Moreover, people
want to avoid legal action due to delay in proceedings and unnecessary expenses
and also mental harassment incurred in a court of law. Following the Indian
pattern, new law should be introduced for the creation of quasi-judicial

20
Monjur Kader and Md. Muajjem Hussain, Criminology, 2nd ed., (Dhaka: Eastern University,
2010), p.313.

22
machineries at the district and national levels- such as Disputes Redressal Forum
and National Consumers Disputes Redressal Forum.

4.5 Dysfunctional District, Upazilla and Union Committees


The existing District Committee under section-1 of the Consumer Rights
Protection Act, 2009 chaired by the DC’s are dysfunctional due to their heavy
load in other administrative functions. No Upazilla or Union Committee has yet
been established for the protection of the rights of the consumers under section-13
of the Act, 2009 or any Rules or Regulations has not yet been made under
sections, 13, 81 and 82 of the Act.
The other problems of the existing consumer rights protection mechanisms are-
Different Laws on the same subject/ topic;
Different types of punishment for the same offence under different
Laws; Court fees for filing a suit for compensation;
Delay in proceedings; Investigation/ inquiry procedure left to the police
instead of independent authorities; Restriction to the filing of individual complaint
to the Police Stations;
`Lack of monitoring systems; Laws are not effectively enforced; Punishments are
negligible;
Scope of corruption by the Department concerned; The Consumer Rights
Protection Act, 2009 is not applicable for Drug; The Sellers have been given
privilege to escape from legal actions in the name of selling in good faith; Lack of
accountability of the Department concerned; Lack of expertise in examining
products for safety and maintaining standards and quality; Lack of awareness; No
frequent testing or examination of food, food stuffs or drugs after giving license to
produce and sell; No power of the Director general to take action against private
health and medical service (sec.73); No political commitment ; No laws on
traceability; No laws directly on child food;
Lack of coordination between different organizations of the Government; No
action against the service providers for the violation of the existing law; Trade
unions;

23
Less interest of the NGO’s in this
sector; Lack of expertise in the
BSTI;
No law to check price hike of essential commodities, if the rate/ price
is not fixed; No Law to maintain/ check halal and haram for the interest of
the consumers;
The above are the basic problems of the existing consumer Rights that should
be addressed with proper attention and due care. Even no law ensures proper legal
action against the fraudulent and unfair trade practices except the ‘Monopolies
and Restrictive trade practices (Control & Prevention) Ordinance, 1970 in a
limited scale. There should have been some directives for unlawful trade practices
like in European Countries.21

21
Badrul Haider Chowdhury, The Long Ecoes, 1st ed., (Dhaka: Naima Haider, 1990) p.26.

24
Chapter 5
LEGAL PROVISION RELATING TO CONSUMER RIGHTS

5.1 Introduction
The legal basis of consumer protection is found in part III in the constitution of
Bangladesh, which deals with fundamental principles of the state policy. Article
18 of the constitution provides that “the state shall regard the raising of the level
of nutrition and the improvement of the public health as among its primary duties,
and in particular shall adopt effective measures to prevent the consumption,
except for medical purpose or for such other purposes as may be prescribed by
law if alcoholic and other intoxication drinks and of drugs which are injurious for
health.” This article obligates upon the state to take measures for protecting
consumers from products, processes and services, which can endanger their health
and safety. Apart from the constitutional safeguard there are some specific laws
regarding consumer protection, but these laws are so outdated that little or no
protection is provided to the consumers. These laws are also inadequate,
ineffective and do not meet the present needs as most of the laws are based on
contemporary issues. An idea can be obtained about these conventional laws from
the following elaboration.

5.2 Penal Code 1860


Makes some acts of offences, which are injurious to public health and also make
provisions for punishments. It declares the adulteration of food and drinks, selling
of noxious food and drinks, adulteration of drugs or medical preparation and
selling of such adulterated drugs or medical preparations are punishable offences.

25
Moreover, using false trademark and counterfeiting trademark or property mark
are described as punishable offences.22

5.3 The sale of goods Act 1930


It is a comprehensive law of consumer’s rights and defines some conception of
consumer rights e.g. contract, condition and warranties, transfer of property title
of property, rights & duties of buyers and sellers, right of unpaid sellers against
the goods stoppage in transit etc. The most important principal enunciated in the
act is Caveat Emptor principle (Let the buyer beware). The rule is as much a
cornerstone of the law of consumer protection in the subcontinent for a long time
that of England.

5.4 The Trademark Act 1940


It provides that every manufactured commodity should have trademark so that
consumers may choose and differentiate one commodity from other commodities.

5.4 The control of Essential Commodity Act 1956


It empowers the government to declare some commodities to be essential from
time to time and to control production, distribution, preservation, use and business
of these commodities. It also lays down provision for license and permit system
for the control of certain commodities, for compelling the hoarders of essential
commodities.

5.5 The price and distribution of Essential Commodities Ordinance 1970


It was enacted for ensuring correct price and distribution of essential commodities
so that the importers, producers and business may not earned illegal profits.
According to this law the price of commodities should be attached to them and the
legal list of price should be hanged in an open place and receipt of sale of goods
must be delivered to the purchaser.

22
Ibid., p.170.

26
5.6 The drug (control) ordinance 1982
It was promulgated with a view to controlling manufacture, import and
distribution of 1707 medicines were prohibited and registration or license with
regard to them stood cancelled. It made provisions for punishment for drugs, for
sale of medicine or import or sale of pharmaceutical material at a higher price for
illegal advertisement and claims.
The Breast-Milk Substitute (Regulation of Marketing) ordinance 1984: It was
enacted with a view to promoting breast Legal Provisions for Protection of
Consumers’ Rights and Control of Deception in Bangladesh- Reasons for Concern
feeding by regulating the marketing of breast-milk substitute through following
the general principles of the international code of marketing 1981.

5.8 The Tobacco Goods Marketing (Control) Act 1988


It was passed in order to control and discourage the use of tobacco. It always
down provision that advertisement displaying tobacco gods must contain the
warning notes of “Smoking is injurious to heath”. 23

5.9 The Bangladesh Pure Food Ordinance, 1959


This is an ordinance to provide better control of the manufacture and sale of food
for human consumption. Now, this Ordinance is under revision as ‘The
Bangladesh Pure Food (Amendment) Act, 2004.Under this Act, it has been
proposed to constitute a National Food Safety Council ‘headed by the Ministry of
Health and Family Welfare as well as to establish Food Courts.

5.10 The Bangladesh Pure Food Rules, 1967


In this Rule, there are generic standards for 107 food products. Now, this ‘Rules'
is under revision.

23
Ibid., p.171.

27
5.11 The Special Power Act, 1974 (Act No XIV of 1974-as modified up to the
31st July, 1978)
An Act to provide special measures for the prevention of certain prejudicial
activities, for more speedy trial and effective punishment of certain grave
offences.

5.12 The Food Grain Supply (Prevention of Prejudicial activity) Ordinance,


1956 (Ord. xxvi of 1979)
This ordinance provides special measures for prevention of prejudicial activity
relating to the storage, movement, transshipment, supply and distribution of food
grains. It provides basis for the protection of false statement or information.

5.13 The Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institution Ordinance, 1985


This ordinance seeks to establish an Institution for standardization, testing,
metrology, quality control, grading and marking of goods. Within the framework
of this ordinance, Government has established the Bangladesh Standards and
Testing Institution (BSTI). One important task is to certify the quality of
commodities, materials, whether for local consumption, exports and import. The
Ordinance has been amended as The Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institution
(Amendment) Act, 2003. Currently, BSTI is developing a ‘Policy on Labeling'.
BSTI is the Codex Focal Point for Bangladesh.24

5.14 The Iodine Deficiency Disorders Prevention Act, 1989


Under this Act, the Institute of Food and Radiation Biology (IFRB) of Bangladesh
Atomic Energy Commission is primarily involved in food radiation research and
development in the country.

24
Adilur Rahman Khan, ‘Court Division in a recent judgment ordered all the medical service
providers to pay the VAT by themselves not to charge the consumers, The Daily Star, (30
January 2000.)

28
The Government has enacted “The Iodine Deficiency Disorders Prevention
Act, 1989 for universal salt iodization & banned non-iodized salt from market,
aimed at virtual elimination of IDD from the country.

5.16 The Essential Commodity Act, 1990


The purpose of administering this act is to stable, maintain or increase supply of
essential commodities including foodstuffs. The mandate of Essential Commodity
Act also includes broad spectrum of activities like storage, transport, distribution,
disposal, acquisition, use or consumption of any essential commodity.

5.17 Fish and Fish product (Inspection and Quality Control) Rules, 1997
This section of the Fish and Fish products (Inspection and Control) Ordinance
1983 (Ord. xx of 1983) and in conjunction with fish and fish products Inspection
and Quality Rules 1989, and other related provisions made there under, the
Government has made the Rules: Fish and Fish product (Inspection and Quality
Control) Rules, 1997. These Rules are basically meant to develop quality
improvement to promote export of trade. The quality control of fish and fish
products in the country has earned good reputation of the importing countries.25

5.18 Other Laws and Regulations


In addition, a number of other Laws and Regulations are existed in the country to
ensure the safe and quality food viz. The Animal Slaughter (Restriction) and Meat
Control (Amendment) Ordinance, 1983 (it is under revision); The Pesticide
Ordinance, 1971 & the Pesticides Rules, 1985; Destructive Insects and Pests
Rules (Plant Quarantine), 1966, amended up to 1989; Agricultural Products
Market Act, 1950 (revised in 1985); Fish Protection and Conservation Act, 1950
(amended in 1995); Marine Fisheries Ordinance 1983 and Rules, 1983;
Procurement Specifications, Ministry of Food, Rice Mill Control Order etc. To
protect the consumers rights and privileges a new Act i.e. Consumers' Protection
Act, 2004 is to be passed soon. There are also a number of policies i.e.

25
Fish and Fish Product Rules , 1997

29
Bangladesh Food and Nutrition Policy, 1997 and National Plan of Action on
Nutrition, National Agricultural Policy, 1999; Integrated Pest Management Policy,
2002 etc are linked with the country's food safety and quality control.
The most interesting features of these laws are that aggrieved consumers
cannot sue the violators themselves. It is only the designated government officials
empowered under these laws, who can initiate and sue the violators. Besides,
provision of penalty or punishment is so negligible that nobody cares to abide by
the rules under these laws and as such there is no effective implementation of the
laws. As a result the consumers in Bangladesh are completely dependent upon the
mercy of the business houses, the professionals and the vested interest group.26
Considering these issues a research gap has been observed by the researchers
regarding consumer deception and consumer protection laws in our country,
which has driven the researcher’s motive to conduct a study on the subjected field.

26
Lord Templeman Michael T Molan, Constitutional Law the Machinery of Government, 2nd
ed., (New York :Old Bailey Press, 1997), pp. 212.

30
Chapter 6
CONCLUSION
6.1 Recommendation

The suggestion of my legal research is how to increase the consumer’s rights and
how to protect the consumer’s rights in Bangladesh. That’s discussed in the
research now here stated the key point there as follows. This enumeration of the
types of action needed to promote consumers interests provides an accurate
indication of the fields in which consumer law should come to play, foremost
among which are:

 Protection against risks of physical injury to persons or property and


against useless products.
 Protection against improper marketing measures and inadequate
information.
 Protection against one-sided contract terms and risks of economic damage,
 Provision of effective and impulsive dispute resolution procedures for the
consumer.
 Monitoring of the mechanism whereby prices and rates are fixed on the
consumer goods and services market,
 Surveillance of practices or agreements jeopardizing the competitive
structure of a market sector,
 Planning of a consumer education programmed.
Consumer rights gained importance in the world, particularly in western countries
in the last country. Subsequently it gained some ground in the developing
countries as well. Almost all the countries now have consumer protection laws.
The rights of consumers got international recognition when in 1985 the UN

31
adopted the basic guidelines for consumer rights protection. The guidelines
stipulate that ‘all citizens, regardless of their incomes or social standing, have
basic rights as consumers.

6.2 Concluding
In conclusion, the naive consumers of Bangladesh are in critical need of having the
fortification of broad consumer protection legislation. So, the government of Bangladesh
is required to enact a widespread Consumer Protection Act as quickly as possible and
advance strictly ensures the efficient execution of such legislation. We should always
remember that an efficient consumer protection legislation of a inhabitants not only
protects and promotes the privileges and happiness of its consumers, but it also enhance
definite socio-economic targets of its macro economy, such as scarcity alleviation,
competent, fair and translucent market method, good governance and beyond all, socio-
economic impartiality for its citizens. Many declare as, our current law is old-fashioned,
not capable to look after the consumers, defective and doesn’t meet the current
necessities. Therefore, endorsement of new law is a must. Yet, one may query, how far
the endorsement of new law will in some real sense explain the current consumer hitch? If
the already obtainable law is not completely imposed then how come we can look
forward that the new law will protect our customers and their privileges properly
improved than today.27

27
M. Faiz Uddin and M.A. Hannan, ‘Protection of Human Rights in Criminal Justice
Bangladesh Perspective’, Research Project 1998), Rajshahi Universit; p.418.

32
REFERENCES

Books
1. Ahamuduzzaman et al, Consumer Protection Law, 1st ed, (New Delli:
Rita Court, 1997).

2. G. Borrie and A. L. Diamond. The Consumer, Society and the Law 2nd ed.,
(New York, 1983).

3. Mizanur Rahman, Consumer Protection in Bangladesh 2nd ed, (New


York: University of Chicago Press, 1993).

4. Turin Afroz, “Consumer Rights Day: What do we want”, “Law & our
Rights”, 2nd ed, (Dhaka: Mullick Brothers, 2010).

5. Justice Latifur Rahman, The Constitution of the People’s Republic of


Bangladesh, 2nd ed, (Dhaka: Mullick Brothers, 2004).
6. A.K. M. Shamsul Huda, The Constitution of Bangladesh,1st ed, (New
Delli :Rita Court, 1997),

7. Monjur Kader and Md. Muajjem Hussain, Criminology, 2nd ed. (Dhaka:
Eastern University, 2010), p.313.

8. Badrul Haider Chowdhury, The Long Ecoes 1st ed., (Dhaka: Naima Haider,
1990).

9. A. L. Borrie and Diamond. The Consumer, Society and the Law, 1st ed,
(New York, 1983).

10. M. Faiz Uddin and M.A. Hannan, ‘Protection of Human Rights in


Criminal Justice Bangladesh Perspective’, Research Project 1998).

33
Website :
Bangladesh research Publications Journal ISSN: 1998-2003 Volume: 1, Issue: 2, Page:
166 -176, 20th February- August, 2018, www.bdresearchpublications.com, last visited on
December 18, 2017.
Bangladesh research Publications Journal ISSN: 1998-2003 Volume: 1, Issue: 2,
Page: 166 - 176, July - August, 2008,
Mizanur Rahman, ‘Consumer Protection in Bangladesh: Law and Practice’ (1994)
17(3) Journal of Consumer Policy 349.
The relevant Verses Of Al Qura’n on consumer’s rights are - (83:1, 6:152, 17:35,
83:1-6, 2:172-173, 6:145, 2:168)

www.bdresearchpublications.com.
www.bdresearchpublications.com

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