Today is the World Consumer Rights Day. The day is celebrated every year on March 15 as a means of raising global awareness about the rights and needs of consumers. The theme of the World Consumer Rights Day this year is “Empowering consumers through clean energy transitions”.
The day also educates people against market abuses and social injustice with an aim to draw attention to market malpractices, which undermine the rights of consumers and what more can be done to empower buyers.
The World Consumer Rights Day was inspired by President John F Kennedy, who sent a special message to the US Congress on 15th March 1962, he was the first world leader who formally addressed the issue of consumer rights.
The consumer movement first marked March 15 as the date for the consumer rights day in 1983. Ever since, it’s being observed as the World Consumer Day every year to mobilise action on important issues and campaigns relating to consumer issues.
E-commerce has steadily emerged as one of the most preferred mediums of shopping for consumers. At the same time, there is a rise in the number of e-commerce grievances registered by consumers on the National Consumer Helpline (NCH). Thus, NCH is being strengthened technologically to ensure that it not only receives more complaints but also redresses common consumer grievances of refund, replacement and deficiency in service speedily.
NCH works as an alternate dispute redressal mechanism wherein consumers can easily register their grievances by calling ‘1915’ or through the mobile app. NCH is accessible in over 17 languages including recently added Maithili, Kashmiri and Santhali languages. It is available 24*7 through an Omni channel system which includes NCH app, email, SMS and call.
The Department of Consumer Affairs is also planning to organize a hackathon for designing charging solutions that work with wearable devices with an emphasis on reducing ‘electronic and electrical waste (e-waste)’ and promoting a more sustainable consumer ecosystem. Wireless charging methods are also being explored, which will help significantly in e-waste proliferation.