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A consumer is defined as someone who acquires goods or services for direct use or ownership rather than for resale or use in production and manufacturing.
Consumer protection consists of laws and
organizations designed to ensure the rights of consumers as well as fair trade
competition and the free flow of truthful information in the marketplace. The
laws are designed to prevent businesses that engage in fraud or specified unfair
practices from gaining an advantage over competitors and may provide additional
protection for the weak and those unable to take care of themselves. Consumer
protection laws are a form of government regulation which aim to protect the
rights of consumers. For example, a government may require businesses to
disclose detailed information about products—particularly in areas where safety
or public health is an issue, such as food. Consumer protection is linked to the
idea of "consumer rights" (that consumers have various rights as consumers), and
to the formation of consumer organizations, which help consumers make better
choices in the marketplace and get help with consumer complaints.
In India, the relevant agency is the National Consumer Disputes Commission and the Ministry of Consumer Affairs . Also organisations like Akosha.com and Mouthshut.com play a vital role in helping consumers articulate their concerns and resolves their problems as well. In India the major law governing the consumer protection is Consumer Protection Act of 1986 -- Under this law Separate Consumer tribunals have been set up throughout India in each and every district in which a consumer [complaint can be filed by both the consumer of a goods as well as of the services] can file his complaint on a simple paper without paying any court-fees and his complaint will be decided by the Presiding Officer of the District Level. Appeal could be filed to the State Consumer Forum and after that to the national Consumer Forum. The procedures in these tribunals are relatively less formal and more people friendly and they also take less time to decide upon a legal [consumer] dispute when compared to the years long time taken by the traditional Indian judicial courts. In recent years many effective judgement have been passed by some state and National Consumer Forums.