If you believe you have been fleeced or over-charged by a shopkeeper or a manufacturer, you will now be able to do something about it, other than grumble.
In response to the increasing number of consumer complaints, the state government's civil supplies and consumer protection department has decided to start a well-equipped consumer grievance cell in the city.
Hindustan Times recently did a series of reports highlighting the problems consumers face because retailers charge more than the maximum retail price. In a month's time, issues like this can be taken up with this cell.
The grievance cell will attend to complaints from across the state, which can be registered through email, helpline or in person. "Our existing helpline service is not up to the mark. There is just one person attending to complaints from across the state on one phone, due to which many complaints go unnoticed. Now, we are setting up a consumer help centre with upgraded software, for which six trained people have already been recruited," said Anil Deshmukh, state minister for food, civil supplies and consumer protection.
The new consumer help centre, which is funded by the Union government, will attend to complaints in Marathi, Hindi and English.
The Consumer Guidance Society of India, Mumbai, will set up the cell for which Rs 27.6 lakh has already been granted.
"The cell is expected to start functioning within a month's time at the Consumer Guidance Society of India's office in Azad Maidan," said an officebearer from the Consumer Guidance Society of India, requesting anonymity as he is not allowed to speak to the media.
The cell will provide consumers with the contact details of various brands and manufacturers so that complainants can also take up the issue directly to the concerned companies.
"We have asked several manufacturers to share the details of the people they have appointed to redress consumer grievances. At the same time, we will also do follow-ups with the companies to resolve the issue," said Deshmukh.
"Our ultimate aim is to redress the consumer's complaint and spread awareness among the masses about their rights."
Mohammad Afzal, a consumer activist from Andheri, said: "The initiative is good but the state should ensure that this remains a one-window service, wherein consumers are provided a complaint number with the help of which they can track the status of the complaint online or by calling the helpline. Consumers should not be made to run from one official to another when they follow up."