In today’s world, it has become very common that the selling price of the goods are fixed arbitrarily by the manufacturers. Different products have different rates of taxes and it becomes very difficult for consumers to ensure that the retailers are actually charging the correct amount of taxes on goods they sell.
It is significant for the customers to know the distinction between maximum retail price and actual price of the products. Maximum retail price is the price which includes all taxes levied on products. While the retailer cannot charge more than the maximum retail price mentioned in the goods, a consumer can bargain with the retailer for selling the product at a price less than the MRP. Sometimes the MRP is so high that there is a difference of about 40 percent between the MRP printed on the goods and its actual price.
Guidelines under Consumer Goods Act
Under the Consumer Goods (Mandatory Printing of Cost of Production and Maximum Retail Price) Act, 2006, certain guidelines has been laid down so that the consumer is not made to pay more than the maximum price printed on the goods by the manufacturer. These guidelines are as follows:
1) Consumer goods means all goods brought in the market for sale and are meant to be purchased and consumed by the consumers;
2) Cost of production means the total cost incurred either directly or indirectly by the manufacturer in the manufacture of goods;
3) Printing means printing of the cost of production and retail price on the product where it can be easily seen in Hindi and English and the local language of the place it is sold.
4) Maximum retail price means the price at which the product shall be sold in retail to the customer and such price includes all taxes levied on the product.
The legislation mandates the manufacturers to print the cost of production and maximum retail price on packaging of consumer goods, so that the consumer could not get overcharged by the retailers.
At times the manufacturer increases the price of products and sells old stock of goods at the new rates. There may be an increase in prices due to the increase in cost of production or any other such factor. It is natural that the new price has no bearing with the old stock already with the retailer. The retailer may take advantage of the ignorance of the customers and charge according to the new price on the old stock, which is an unfair trade practice.
The Consumer Protection Act establishes a hierarchy of courts, with at least one District Forum at the district level, a State Commission at the State capitals and the National Commission at New Delhi.
Complaints can be made at consumer forum against unfair trade practices causing loss to the consumers, goods of inferior qualities or deficiency in services offered.
1) Right to protection against the sale of hazardous goods.
2) Right to information about the quality, quantity, and the price of goods or services they are purchasing to avoid being duped by unfair trade practices.
3) Right to choose and access to a variety of goods and services at a competitive price.
4) Right to be heard and be assured that their interest will receive proper consideration at appropriate forum.
5) Right to seek legal remedy against unfair or restrictive trade practices.
1) Obtaining full information regarding quality, weight and price before buying goods.
2) Not to fall for false or misleading advertisements.
3) Purchase goods having quality marks like ISI/Agmark etc. as and where available, for safety and authenticity.
4) Asking for proper receipt/cash memo for purchases made and guarantee/warranty card duly stamped and signed by the seller, wherever applicable.
5) Approach Consumer Forum for redressal of grievances against sale of shoddy goods or inferior services or adoption of unfair restrictive trade practices. The legislations and rules would become effective only if the consumers are aware of their rights and duties and make purchases accordingly to curb the unfair trade practices.