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Govt urged to protect consumer rights

Most of the consumers in the country are unaware where they should file a complaint if they are cheated by traders or service providers.

Director general at the Department of Commerce, Supply and Consumer Protection has the power to punish the offender with a fine ranging from Rs 200,000 to Rs 300,000 in accordance with the Consumer Protection Act-2019. There is also a provision of consumer court headed by the concerned district court judge to adjudicate cases other than those under the jurisdiction of the director general.

“Despite the clear provision of power to punish traders involved in fleecing consumers, many people don’t know how to file complaint against fraudulent traders,” read the annual report of Province 3 issued by the National Human Rights Commission.

It said that the victims did not file any case against such traders or service providers with the authorities concerned due to lack of knowledge about the legal process involved in filing such complaints. Most of the consumers don’t even know there is a provision of punishment for such traders and service providers.

The National Human Rights Commission today warned that general consumers were not able to enjoy the rights guaranteed by the constitution and prevailing laws. The report also stated that market monitoring was conducted only during the
festive season, which did no good to consumers.

“There is a provision for forming a local market monitoring team led by the chairperson or mayor of the local body concerned. Local market monitoring teams have to monitor markets on a regular basis,” the report said. The agencies concerned responsible for monitoring and regulating consumer rights have failed to carry out their duties and responsibilities in relation to controlling market anomalies, including sale and supply of substandard goods, food adulteration, overcharging, profiteering and black-marketing.

Consumers have the right not only to be safe, informed and to select, but also to be heard, compensated and to receive consumer education. Even the performance of monitoring and regulatory bodies was not up to the mark while checking quality and standard of food and maximum residue limits of pesticides for want of technicians and technology.

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