Consumer courts should be effective | So Good News


The news which came three weeks before Diwali, the festival of lights and prosperity, adds to the excitement. In these difficult times, when the whole world, including the US, Europe, and China, is trembling with fear of recession, only seven countries have dodged the bullet. India is one of them. How did India get this unique position? Our consumer base, food confidence, and our growing number of professionals, and their interest in solutions.

We will talk later about farmers, who ensure that we have enough food. For now, let’s look at the pros and cons. How are things today? Before I answer this question, let me tell you about the problems that one of my brothers faced. He is a doctor by profession and this happened to him one fine morning a week ago.

His driver was on vacation, so he decided to use Ola or Uber as a young professional. He started by booking a cab through his mobile app and received an instant confirmation message, along with taxi details. He said: “Yeah, now I don’t need a driver.” However, he did not know the problems he would face in the next hour.

He ran to the top so the drivers wouldn’t have to wait. His apartment is on the 17th floor in one of the best neighborhoods of Noida. The lift had just started to descend when the lights went out. The builder, a multi-billion-dollar real estate developer, took no steps to ensure that the elevator would operate properly during power outages. The next few minutes were filled with darkness and fear.

When he got out, he was surprised to see in his taxi app that the cab remained where it was at the confirmed time. It hadn’t moved an inch. The doctor called the call center and after 10 minutes of great effort, the driver stopped the ride. The poor girl called a cab again, but the same thing happened. The third driver stopped his ride just before reaching the pickup point. Therefore, his account was deleted 40 He would have returned the money by complaining, but the issue is not about money. These seemingly small things had troubled the doctor and the patients who joined him.

Apart from poor drivers, criminals across the region included an online taxi service, an electricity distribution company, and a well-known builder. They all make billions of dollars, but what do they do to keep their customers happy? It is not just a young doctor’s problem. Many people face these challenges every day.

In India, there is a need to re-invigorate industries that are taking advantage of government policies. The outlook for other multinational companies is even worse. Consider car manufacturers. Their safety standards vary widely between developed countries and developing countries like India. Those in the developed world care about our hard-earned money, but don’t care about our lives, safety, or environment.

It is not uncommon to receive an SMS telling you that money has been withdrawn or deposited into your bank account, or that your phone number has been activated. The electricity company may send you messages asking you to pay your outstanding bill. I know a customer who told the bank they don’t have an account, but they still receive emails from the agency. They suspect that such activities are being done with anti-social or fraudulent activities. The person continued to send letters but did not receive an effective response. They filed a complaint with the banking ombudsman, but have not received a response even months later. Now he doesn’t know what to do. Is there any way for him to exercise his rights?

If we look at the architecture and statistics of complaints redressal and consumer rights, we are speechless. In the country, there are currently 629 district consumer courts and 35 consumer dispute resolution committees where a person can file compensation up to 20 lakh against consumer goods manufacturers, suppliers, and service providers of various types. The sad fact is that 4,029 of the 550,000 cases in these courts and committees are 22 years old.

It is time to increase the number and efficiency of the procurement courts in the country. The capacity of regulatory bodies and commissions also needs to be urgently strengthened. Protecting the rights of the large group of consumers we are protecting our economy is essential to the economy’s long-term survival and growth.

Shashi Shekhar is editor-in-chief, Hindustan. Views are personal.

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