Why are rules and regulations required in the marketplace? Illustrate with a few examples.
Rules and regulations are required in the marketplace to protect consumers. Sellers often abdicate responsibility for a low-quality product, cheat in weighing out goods, add extra charges over the retail price, and sell adulterated/ defective goods. Hence, rules and regulations are needed to protect the scattered buyers from powerful and fewer producers who monopolise markets. For example, a grocery shop owner might sell expired products, and then blame the customer for not checking the date of expiry before buying the items.
The factors that gave birth to the consumer movement in India are manifold. It started as a "social force" with the need to protect and promote consumer interests against unfair and unethical trade practices. Extreme food shortages, hoarding, black marketing and adulteration of food led to the consumer movement becoming an organised arena in the 1960s. Till the 1970s, consumer organisations were mostly busy writing articles and holding exhibitions. More recently, there has been an upsurge in the number of consumer groups who have shown concern towards ration shop malpractices and overcrowding of public transport vehicles. In 1986, the Indian government enacted the Consumer Protection Act, also known as COPRA. This was a major step in the consumer movement in India.
Consumer consciousness is being aware of your right as a consumer while buying any goods or services. Example :
→ It is common to see consumers bargaining with sellers for additional discounts below the MRP.
→ Because of conscious consumers, most of the sweet shops do not include the weight of the container when they weigh sweets.
Factors which cause exploitation of consumers are :
→ Lack of awareness of consumer rights among buyers.
→ Improper and inadequate monitoring of rules and regulations.
→ Individual purchase quantity is quite small.
→ Consumers are scattered over large areas.
The rationale behind the enactment of COPRA 1986 was to set up a separate department of consumer affairs in Central and State governments and it has enabled us as consumers to have the right to represent in a consumer court.