A common complaint heard from consumers is that they are being exploited. This happens as not many consumers are aware of the ingenious ways adopted by unscrupulous traders and manufacturers to cheat consumers. Moreover, not many consumers are aware of their rights under the CPA. Though industrial revolution has provided consumers with the advantage of multiple choices for products and services, they are still hampered by lack of quality goods and unsatisfactory services. Therefore, consumers need to be aware of the various ways through which they are cheated by traders and manufacturers. This will help them understand how they need to file a complaint under the CPA.
The responsibility of the producers & service providers
Producers should compulsorily label their products. This label must display details like – information on how the product can be used safely, precautions needed with appropriate health warnings, manufacturing and expiry date, the raw materials used and a certification stating the compliance of the laid standards. Producers must also manufacture goods using the right kind of raw materials, in the right quantity, right quality and in the right manner. They should also sell it at the right price. Service providers should inform their customers about the good and bad of their service. Withholding information is a violation of the right of the consumer to know such information. They should not threaten to discontinue the production of the good or the service. The producer or the service provider should not indulge in misleading advertisements to lure customers. This is cheating and makes the producer or the service provider liable for punishment.
Some unfair trade practices adopted by producers & service providers
Producers and traders adopt many ways to hoodwink the consumer and violate his/her rights. Here are some of the ingenious practices they adopt.
Selling substandard products – Producers manufacture and sell substandard products without a regard for the safety of the consumers. Service providers promise but don’t deliver products of standard.
Selling products/services at a higher price than warranted – Often the products sold are below par and the price consumers are forced to pay is not proportionate to the quality of the product. High prices of food and medicines are sometimes unreasonable.
Misleading claims and advertisements – Often cosmetic product manufacturers make tall claims about the capabilities of their products. In reality not all of these are true. Funds management companies too adopt similar tactics. Even vehicles manufacturers do the same. This practice prevails across industries. Often advertisements about certain foods items and medicine belie the truth.
Adulteration – Food and medicine are the prime products that belong to this category. Products are adulterated with the aim of making a quick profit.
Withholding information about risks – Several products sold in the market contain defects and pose risks to the customers. Since traders and manufacturers withhold this vital information, the unaware consumer experiences serious risks to his/her life, limb and property.
Reneging on warranty/guarantee promises – Often producers and service providers claim that they will provide after sales service for a certain time frame with free replacement of defective parts. But contrarily they often ask consumers to pay for the replaced parts. This is a breach of promise to the consumers which greatly inconveniences them.
Running misleading advertisements with the aim of increasing sales – It has been noticed that several manufacturers and service providers make tall claims about their products and services through advertisements. This is cheating. Often consumers fall victim to such grandiose advertisements and lose large sums of money. There are umpteen examples. Vehicles not standing up to the promise is one of the examples. There are also several other products that fall under this category.
Selling duplicate articles as original – This happens commonly as many people are not able to afford original products which are priced exorbitantly high. Duplicate parts are often sold as original spare parts with similar packaging and this is a common complaint.
Denial of service as promised during purchase – Several service centres refuse to repair defects or delay repairs on some pretext or the other causing extreme inconvenience to consumers. Beside many service centres force customers to shell out money for unnecessary repairs. This is a common occurrence in electrical, electronical and vehicle service centres.
Imposing unnecessary conditions & terms on consumers – Several producers force their consumers to seek repairs and spare parts from them against the choice of consumers. This causes a lot of inconvenience.
Rough behaviour after sales – Often when a consumer wants defective goods replaced or the cost reimbursed, the trader and manufacturers adopt a hostile attitude to discourage the consumer. This not only causes a lot of inconvenience it also disturbs the customer and he/she is thus caused great discomfort.
Creating scarcity artificially – Traders often refuse to sell even as they hoard goods to create a scarcity in the market. They aim to sell later at a higher price. This is a violation of the rights of the consumer to a reasonable price and choices of goods.