Consumer rights advisers help consumers in safeguarding their interests and protecting their rights. In this premise, they render every bit of service required to achieve the objective, from raising a complaint to getting the due compensation.
To take on these challenges with upright positivity one need to be smart and caring while writing interrogating the minute details of the case and sharing them precisely and accurately with seniors, lawyer-in-charge, governing councils and media professionals. Even the slightest error can change the orientation of the course. It means that a consumer right adviser must be attentive and focused on performing his/her duties or responsibilities.
Although a career as consumer rights adviser/consultant is a hot profession in the developed countries of Europe and Americas for decades, it is still considered a rare career choice in India. It reflects that there is a vast scope in this field as the demand for qualified professionals is exceptionally larger than their availability. Moreover, with the high penetration of smartphones and a revolution in exchanging the information through social media channels, consumers are empowered to raise their issues.
Subsequently, numbers of complaints are also increasing rapidly with a sudden spurt in the e-commerce sector of India — a segment which is superfluously covered in the existing consumer protection law. Career opportunities in this rapidly growing sector are increasing exponentially after recent reforms in the fiscal and industrial policies, and the introduction of GST.
Now, openings for consumer rights adviser are not restricted to public departments, trading standards departments, accreditation agencies, government watchdog organisations, the establishment of many consumer grievances forums and consumer rights platforms in the private sector are creating enormous opportunities to young aspirants.
Various large sized business houses which have dedicated consumer complaint departments always seek smart and qualified professionals to save their brand image through zero dissonance policy.
With the changing dynamics in economic and legal frameworks of the country, the roles and responsibilities of consumer rights advisers and consultants are also changing respectively.
Regularly interacting with customers through phones or personal visits, reporting and assessing their problems, maintaining data/records, compiling statistics, studying the cases and exchanging the accurate information with lawyers, making dialogues with oppositions, and liaising with other relevant organisations are some of the core responsibilities of consumer rights advisers in a modern setup.
As one has to interact with a large number of people from diverse background and experience, the personality of a consumer right adviser matters a lot in this profession. One should be good at communication, confident in expressing views/opinions, bold in sharing the facts, and intelligent in making negotiations with the second party.
Although educational qualifications are important, they play the second lead in this industry. Preferably, law graduates and candidates from psychology, public administration, etc, are more sought-after than candidates from other streams. But, doors are open to anyone who has a good command over inter-personal skills besides having substantial knowledge of consumer protection law of the country. Also, a prior experience in the similar capacity always gives an extra edge.
The writer is chief executive officer, Consumer Sathi.