NCERT Notes Class 10 Social Science Economics Chapter 5 Consumer Rights

NCERT Notes Class 10 Social Science Economics Chapter 5 Consumer Rights

Chapter 5 Consumer Rights NCERT Notes

Chapter Name

Consumer Rights Notes


CBSE Class 10

Textbook Name

Understanding Development Class 10

Related Readings

  • Notes for Class 10
  • Notes for Class 10 Economics
  • Revision Notes for Consumer Rights  


This chapter deals with consumer rights established to account for the improper situations in a market place. It recounts real stories of unfairness and the corresponding assistance given by the legal entities to guarantee compensation. These case studies help the readers comprehend the consumer movement going in their country and aware them of their rights. Lastly, it lists the firms assisting consumers in various ways and hurdles in the consumer movement of “India” are also briefly but succinctly deliberated.


Consumers are a pivotal part of a market place. In cases of mistreatment or unfairness from sellers or large companies, rules and regulations have been established, referred to as consumer rights.

  1. What methods of exploitation persists in our society?
  2. How can consumers exercise their rights?

The Consumer in the Marketplace

People engage in the market as both producers and consumers. Laws are required to maintain harmony, promote smooth operation and development and prevent exploitation of buyers. Sellers can abuse their power in various ways putting consumers in weak positions.

  • Sellers shifts all the responsibility to the buyers. For example, in dissatisfaction with the purchased product or service, the producer falsely makes excuses of dismissal- Go elsewhere-.
  • Indulgence in malpractices is a common phenomenon. Some of them are as follows: defective or tampered goods or services sold; additional charges added for services not known by the consumers before purchase; theft in terms of product weight performed.
  • Large companies abuse their power to dupe or silence the consumers in cases of malpractice. A recurrent technique to gain new consumers is by spreading false information through the media. Examples of these malpractices include cigarette selling companies withholding information about health problems like cancer from their product labels or milk-power companies claiming, with unfounded scientific evidence, to have developed milk better than milk by mother.
  1. Discuss other methods of exploitation of consumers?
  2. How can the government and other authorities help reduce this problem?

Consumer Movement

  • The movement, termed as a social force, originated to protect the best interest of consumers against the rampant unethical trade practices done by companies because of in availability of legal entities to provide for justice and prevent exploitation.

Consumers had to either make-do with the product or stay more agile and vigilante when buying products and services. Therefore, awareness and reformation unleashed around the world. United Nations, in 1985, instituted the UN Guidelines for Consumer Protection which prompted people to advocate and press for their rights and nations to protect consumers and regulate business activities.

Likewise, in India, myriads of trade hurdles- black marketing, adulteration of food- led people to write articles and raise their voices. Hence, an organised form of consumer groups formed to inspect the companies. Thanks to these relentless efforts of people enforced by the UN Guidelines, companies mended their ways and the government, on the other hand, devised new laws in favour of consumers. COPRA or Consumer Protection Act came in effect in 1986.

  1. Research about some consumer groups and actions adopted by them and how they prompted the change?
  2. Discuss the rules and regulation of the UN Consumer Protection Guidelines and COPRA in detail and decipher the reasons as to why they are not still not followed?

Consumer Rights

Enumerated are the trade laws which every company needs to adhere to when selling a product or a service.

Right to Safety

  • Consumers have to be protected against goods and services and made aware of safety measures to prevent risking their life. Like, the use of safety valves in pressure cookers. Government intervention is also required to ensure that safety standards meet. However, improper supervisions (corruption) or weak consumer movement equates to bad-quality products and services can be hazardous to life sold in the market.

An example can be of a girl, Reif Matthew, facing life-long brain problems due to negligence in administering anaesthesia by doctors and staff during her tonsilitis removal treatment. Thus the father evoked their consumer rights and garner compensation from the hospital for its malpractice.

Right to be Informed: Information About Goods and Services: 

  • Consumers have the right to be informed thoroughly about the product or service that they are purchasing. Precise details of necessary fact and figures like ingredients, price, expiry date, manufacturing date, batch number, directions for proper use, info of plausible side effects and other necessary instructions need to be mentioned by the seller. It ensures consumers that the product has met all requirements and is not defective and enables them to be cautious from being sold expired products. It also disrupts sellers from overcharging as they cannot sell more than MRP (maximum retail price).

A further amendment in 2005 to this right by adding RTI or Right to Information Act clause carried out. It helps citizens know about the functions of government departments which avoid misuse of power by government authorities. A specimen who invoked her RTI right was Amritha after a long wait for her government job results to find the outcome of her application and reason for delay.

Right to Choose: The choice denied

  • Disregarding gender, age, colour, religion and nature of service, a consumer holds the authority to choose the products of their liking. Furthermore, a dealer cannot deny information or refund by using frivolous excuses as cover. For instance, a consumer has the right to buy just the toothpaste and ignore the shopkeeper’s claim of having to buy a toothbrush along with the paste as well.

A vivid example is Abirami whose refund was denied, of remaining one-year tuition fees, by an institute after she deciphered that the teaching standard was substandard. She had paid for her two-year course entirely in advance and invoked her rights to obtain the remaining amount. As a result of this appeal, the Supreme Court of India restrained all educational institutes for charging students fees for the entire course in advance and at one go.

Right to Seek Addressal: Where should consumers go to get justice

  • In malpractice cases, the consumer has the right to obtain justice and compensation as shown in the previous examples. They have to file a complaint and then fight the case in a consumer court after visiting either the consumer forum or consumer council for advice. These government-funded bodies help consumers attain their reasonable justice by providing them guidance and sometimes even representing them in courts.

An astute example to understand the entire process seen via Prakash’s case. After the post office failed to transfer money in his daughter’s account, he travelled to the nearby Consumer Forum for advice. He filed the complaint and filled the form in the consumer court to plead for his case. The case was tired and, after hearing the claims of both the parties, the judge reached a final verdict.

Right to Represent

  • The right is an extension to the previous one. It also allows the consumer to have their cases heard at least once because they have the authority to appeal to higher courts if involuntary hurdles created. Additionally, its induction has enabled to divide the consumer courts to make the process efficient and effective. The three-tier quasi-judicial machinery installed at three levels- district, state and national- to fight cases apropos of their monetary value. District court deals with claims of up to Rs 20 Lakhs, state courts can take inquiries amounting between Rs 20 Lakhs – Rs1 crore and national courts have to authority to deal with claims having a monetary value of more than Rs 1 Crore.

Learning to become well-informed consumers

To make informed choices when buying products or services, consumers have to be aware of their rights. They need to attain the required knowledge and skills. Thanks to the COPRA act, the formation of Consumer Affairs has allowed this awareness to take place.

  • Posters, advertisements on TV or radio platforms help make people more conscious.
  • Additionally, the trademarks stamped on labels of products or services enable people to get assured of the quality of the purchased good or services. These certifications like ISI, Hallmark, Agmark monitor the producers and inspect their products and warrant them with the labels when safety standards and quality are maintained.

Taking the Consumer Movement Forward

  • Consumer’s Day, December 24, as celebrated on the day when COPRA act came about is a critical element in taking this initiative, which commenced in the 1960s, forward. Despite living in a country with 700 active consumer groups, only 20-25 are well-organised and lauded for their work. The consumers are still not empowered because of the abundant problems faced even today in the 21st century.
  • The process of consumer redressal is complicated, expensive and time-consuming
  • The requirement of lawyers to file cases aggravates the entire process making it tedious, lengthy and costlier.
  • Difficulty in proving cases is also an obstacle as cash memos not allotted.
  • The small scale of the purchase makes it frivolous and tiny as a standalone case may times.
  • The obscurity of laws makes it difficult for consumers to recompensate in cases of defective products.
  • Awareness of consumer rights even after so many years of establishment of COPRA is minimal and slow.
  • Quite often, marketplace rules and regulations not followed.

Hence, voluntary and active participation of every citizen is an efficacious solution to improve consumer movement. They need to resolutely fight for their rights to uplift the movement and its importance. It will also help empower consumers against firms and large conglomerates.

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