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Needed: Legal body to protect consumers

Indian consumers ko gussa kyon aata hai? The answer lies in the attitude of the trade and industry towards the consumers.

india Updated: Mar 14, 2010 00:16 IST
Pushpa Girimaji

Indian consumers ko gussa kyon aata hai? The answer lies in the attitude of the trade and industry towards the consumers.

From the mails that I receive from readers what is obvious is the absence of an effective system of consumer complaint redress within organisations.

The letters also reflect the scant respect for consumers and their rights.

In Canada and United States, the Better Business Bureaus (BBB) help consumers resolve their complaints with businesses through mediation and arbitration. They also help consumers identify bad companies by evaluating and rating them on the basis of a set of criteria — number of complaints, their response to efforts by the BBB to resolve the complaint and any government action relating to marketplace activities of the company.

A non-profit public service organisation financed by the private business sector, a total of 124 BBBs across the US and Canada evaluate and monitor over 3 million local and national businesses and charities, with the objective of setting standards for marketplace trust.

The Associations of Trade and Industry in India also needs to establish a similar organisation for resolution of consumer complaints quickly and amicably. Only that would restore consumer's faith and trust in the industry.

Every year on March 15, these associations celebrate World Consumer Rights Day and talk about ethical practices and responsive and responsible business. They should put into practice what they preach by establishing BBBs in India.

Praveen Kumar: I purchased a laptop from Nehru place on October 31, 2009. Following some problem with the operating system, I contacted the company's customer care and was told to re-install the OS with the recovery disk. I found that no such disk was supplied to me, even though the cost of the laptop was inclusive of original licensed OS software. I informed the company and was asked to contact the dealer, who referred me back to the company. I have now registered my complaint with the company but whenever I try to contact their customer care, my call is transferred from one department to another. Help.

Answer: Kindly lodge a complaint on the company’s website and escalate it if necessary. Keep all copies of complaints and responses (if any) and note all details of phone calls. I would also suggest that you go to the BBB US website and lodge a complaint there, it might just help.

Whenever one decides to buy a product from a multinational company, it might help to visit the BBB website and look for the reliability report (BBB's rating) about the company.

Do you have any problems? Send in your queries to pgirimaji@gmail.com