A little over a week ago, 9th grader R Amrutha went to a shop near Ice House to buy a large bar of chocolate. The shopkeeper charged her `10 more than the MRP. Being told about consumer rights, Amrutha asked him if he knew anything about the Consumer Protection Act, 1986. “Sir, I could complain against you at the district consumer disputes redressal forum,” she said. The shopkeeper understood the seriousness of the issue and said he would not charge anything above the MRP.
On Tuesday, over 200 school children gathered at Museum Theatre, Egmore, for ‘World Consumer Day’, which falls on March 15. Organised by the Consumer Association of India (CAI), the event also marked the valedictory function of the student consumer club, setup by CAI at 20 city schools. “I have to thank the consumer club for giving me awareness,” Amrutha said.
While online shopping has found acceptance, shoppers are yet to be given legal protection. P Keshav (13) looked up a magnetic LED band watch online. “On leading websites, the watch was priced at `1,200. At a gift shop near my house, they sell a similar-looking watch for `50!” Keshav, posed a question, “Where’s the guarantee that people won’t be duped or sent hazardous products?” The Consumer Protection Bill (2015), includes safeguarding provisions on e-commerce, but is awaiting clearance from the parliamentary panel on consumer affairs.