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Threat trick to fix unfair trade

A staggering 70 per cent increase in consumer complaints over the past 18 months doesn’t necessarily reflect a sudden rise in unfair trade practices but mirrors a growing awareness level among the buyers.

Speakers at a daylong seminar held recently at the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management (IISWBM) on consumer protection and welfare, in association with The Telegraph, highlighted how consumers who felt cheated were increasingly taking unscrupulous traders or service providers to court.

They said the threat to drag a dishonest trader to the consumer court worked in many cases as a huge deterrent to unfair practices.

“There are instances of traders and promoters adhering to fair practices when consumers threaten to move court. This is what we call a corresponding outcome of the move to prevent corrupt practices,” said Debi Prasad Jana, former registrar of the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission.

An official of the commission said the number of complaints over the past one-and-a-half years have jumped 70 per cent, indicating a healthy trend of growing awareness among consumers.

Consumer affairs minister Sadhan Pande, who inaugurated the session, said: “Proliferation of service sectors has widened the range of consumer rights. Negligence in medical and insurance sectors and irregularities in banking and non-banking financial sectors come under the scanner of the consumer affairs department,” he said.

Complaints can be registered online on website www.wbconsumers.gov.in. “We have also introduced a toll-free helpline (1800-345-2808),” Pande added.