Consumerism in India

The past decade has witnessed a dramatic growth in consumerism in India. With the economic liberation implemented by the Government of India, as well as the emergence of India on the global trade stage, followed by a change in not only disposable incomes but also the attitude of the Indian consumer, the floodgates have opened for a deluge of products and services in every possible sector.

As a consumer, it is an overwhelming situation to be in. To make the right choices, you must be adequately armed with enough information to handle this deluge.

The average consumer in India has access to absolutely no information on the safety of the products he uses. Shockingly, this is particularly true of household electrical appliances, health products, food products, cosmetics and toiletries. Hence he is totally reliant on the manufacturer’s claims. He has no guidelines to decide whether the product matches his needs.

Manufacturers and distributors do not necessarily disseminate enough information to the user to enable him to make an informed choice. As a result, the user may find the product unsatisfactory or he may pay for unnecessary features.

The products may not be safe to use even if they are certified and approved.. This may be because the standards themselves may be defective or because the manufacturers compromise on standards during manufacture.

With two decades of experience in the consumer movement, the founders of CAI felt keenly the need to build an effective and meaningful lobby to represent the consumer. This led to the registration of the Consumers Association of India (CAI) as a voluntary charitable trust on 15th March 2001, World Consumer Rights Day.

The objectives of the Consumers Association of India are

1. To educate you, the consumer, about the various products and services available.

2. To help you make the right choice for you.

3. To empower you by providing you information on your responsibilities and rights as a consumer

Consumer’s Digest, the CAI’s bi-monthly publication, offers a wealth of useful information on the safety and other standards that products in different sectors must comply with and how products must be used

CAI takes up complaints received from consumers about the deficiencies in products and services with the concerned organizations for redress of their grievances

CAI conducts seminars that provide opportunities for consumers to air their grievances and an opportunity for government and regulatory agencies to become aware of the consumer’s problems

CAI has the necessary expertise and experience in brand marketing, publishing, editing and legal counseling. CAI achieved a membership base of 6000 within its first two years of operation, reflecting the timeliness and appropriateness of its mission..

Over the past ten years, CAI has filed several petitions before the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum and State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission. Over the same period, CAI has handled more than 15,000 complaints (based on an average of enquiries and complaints received per day); of these 95% have been settled by arbitration. Two percent decided to take legal action after receiving advice from CAI and were represented by lawyers in the Consumer Forum

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