Consumer rights

09 May 2014

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PAKISTANI consumers barely get a worthwhile warranty or a solid money-back guarantee from the manufacturer or importer of the commodities they purchase.

Although there are consumer courts in Punjab, people are not aware of their existence or of the process of getting redressal through these courts.

An association of consumers is a vital arm in a modern society which can be instituted to monitor the implementation and execution of laws facilitating the interests of consumers.

An association can run parallel to government departments and serves as the watchdog of consumer interests and voices their complaints.

Strengthening the rights of consumers will help improve the standards of quality and durability of goods and services as well.

While goods exported from Pakistan have warranty tags, most of the locally marketed goods are without reliable warranties.

Providing articles at a cheap price at the cost of quality is not an appropriate strategy for marketing products and services.

Consumers face a lack of price information at most of the medium and small outlets. Display of prices is a legal requirement for vendors but they do not follow this as a rule. Consumers are left with no other choice but to haggle and bargain.

The Punjab Consumer Protection Act and Islamabad Consumer Protection Act 1995 recommend the formation of a council to protect the consumer rights for quality, quantity, potency, standard and price of goods and services but there is a big lack of awareness by the consumers of their rights and protection.

According to an estimate, about more than 500 cases were decided in consumer courts in favour of consumers in 2012, which is a very small number compared to the huge number of complaints that may have been lodged by the buyers with the point of sale.

It is time protection of consumers’ rights was taken up at all levels, and the relevant government departments implemented laws which bring the goods and services selling companies and trade in the ambit of accountability.

Almaee Jafri
Lahore