Forms of Consumer Exploitation


If someone has the right then they should have the remedies too because there are many people who may cheat or deceive other people. When a person has to buy a product or avail of the services, then he or she needs to be very careful. ‘Caveat Emptor’ means let the buyer beware. There are different ways to exploit people like convincing the consumers, building trust, showing the fake products as real, charging high prices, etc.

The Consumer Protection Act, 1986 is formulated for the consumers and the law protects the consumers from swindlers. Rights, duties, and responsibilities are to be performed by all the people to stop the swindlers from committing fraud again in the future. Both parties have responsibilities to fulfill.


Consumer A person who purchases the goods or avail of the services provided by the supplier by paying them in return for goods and services.

ExploitationA person who has been deceived in any way (like fraud, misrepresentation, coercion, fake information)or by any person, is said to be exploited.

Forms of Consumer Exploitation

1. Fake Advertisement

Whatever is shown and disclosed through advertisements about the product and service, is not completely true. The quality of the product and its durability is not always perfect and long-lasting. The way it is shown only attracts the customers and compels the people to buy it. Non-disclosure of reality is a disadvantage.

2. Substandard Products

Every business aims to earn profit and in order to gain profit, they tend to sell inferior quality products which may cause harm. This practice is also unethical.

3. High Price

Sellers those who have a monopoly of the products and have the control to change the price, take unfair advantage of charging the high prices of the products, and people are left with no choice.

4. Adulteration

This is the worst forms of consumer exploitation. It not only causes monetary loss but also affects the health of a person. The unwanted materials are mixed in the food items which harms the body and may result in different types of diseases.

5. Under Measurement

The quantity printed in the packet is not always accurate. Also, the material which is measured while purchasing is not correct. Sometimes, sellers sell under measured goods and ask for the original quantity price.

6. Black Marketing

When there is a high demand for a certain product, sellers start stocking the product and they will pretend that there is a scarcity of the product due to which the price will be increased and people will buy it because they need it. This happens especially for essential commodities.

For instance, the increase in the price of tomatoes in the market but in reality, they were stored in the warehouse. This is an essential commodity and people have to buy it. Earlier, tomatoes were sold at Rs. 20/- per kg but later on the price was increased to Rs. 80/-. This is hoarding and black marketing.

7. Duplicate Goods

Many sellers sell the goods in the name of branded goods. They change the quality and material and puts the name and logo of different brands. This is misrepresentation and unethical to practice in business.

8. Lack of after Sale Service

A seller has the duty and responsibility towards customer providing after-sale service. Manufacturing and selling are not the only activity to be performed, if any customer faces any kind of problem after using the product, then the problems must be heard and shall be solved.

9. Lack of Information

The ingredients used, manufacturing date, harm, and consequence of the product, etc. are the information that should be disclosed to the customers otherwise they might face problems that will leave a negative impact on the market.

Consumer Awareness

The most important and key objective of an Act is to create awareness among consumers. Consumers shall be aware of rights, products, detailed information, rules, etc. there are incidents where people face problems whether it is online shopping or in physical form. Consumer Protection Act makes sure that people are aware of all the particulars and details.

Importance of Consumer Awareness

1. Every consumer must be satisfied after buying any product or availing of services. People work hard to earn money and the money they spend on goods must be worth it. Therefore, they must not be cheated in any way.

2. Sellers usually charge more than expected or prescribed, just to earn profit. Those who do not have knowledge regarding underweighting, fake articles, etc., are in the trap of suppliers, and in this way, the manufacturers and sellers exploit the end-users.

3. There is a variety of products in the market which are for benefit of the people or may harm the health of a person. For instance, tobacco, liquor, etc. may harm health due to which awareness should be spread regarding products that are not good for health.

4. Many consumers spend a lot of money on expensive products and they are not even aware of the actual price and raw materials used to make it. If consumers are aware of the product then they would save money and buy a substitute good and will make the right decisions while buying the goods.

5. When a consumer or customer is deceived by any retailer, producer, manufacturer, etc., he should be aware of the solutions to solve the issue as many people are innocent, illiterate due to which they do not have proper knowledge regarding laws prevailing in the country. Consumer awareness helps people to make understand that they can approach consumer court if they face any kind of problem.

6. To maintain a healthy relationship between consumers and producers, the first step should be building trust and not deceiving anyone. This will develop a healthy society.

Rights of Consumers

1. Right to Choose

A customer has full right to select the goods from different shops. No seller can force any customer to buy or avail of the service from that particular seller. If in case, any seller forces the customer to buy or does any act or compels him to buy then the consumer can take legal actions against him.

2. Right to be Informed

Every small detail must be mentioned on the packet, especially any unique information to be given while using or consuming it. Like date of manufacturing, expiry date, ingredients, directions to use, where to store, etc., these are the information that must be circulated. For instance, we buy winter clothes, directions to wash must be mentioned so that the quality of the product must retain for a long time.

3. Right to Safety

Safety is a very important step to be taken by manufacturers. Business is not to only earn profit but to provide safety. They shall make sure that every product must be safe to use. Many products are there in the market which may cause risk to the customer if not properly used. For example, gas cylinders, food coloring, etc.

4. Right to be Heard

If any risk or problem is faced by the consumer, then the grievance must be heard. Selling the product does not end the duty and responsibility of seller after-sale service is also important. Without being heard, the problem will remain unsolved, and this is against business ethics.

5. Right to be Educated

Every person must be educated. They may have at least basic knowledge regarding their rights and laws framed for them. This will help in the reduction of forms of consumer exploitation.

6. Right to be Compensated

When an incident takes place and causes great loss, then in terms of money, a consumer must be compensated. This will reduce malpractices, exploitation, and many more evil activities. Compensation is a mode of remedy given to the consumer and punishment to the seller.

Consumer Courts

Three courts are formed for consumers where they can file the complaint and get compensation. Courts are divided on basis of compensation.

1. District Forum

District Consumer Dispute Redressal Forum takes cases on the district level and the compensation shall not exceed more than 20 lakh rupees. If any consumer is not satisfied with the decision of the district forum, then they can appeal to the state forum.

2. State Forum

State Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission works on the state level and the compensation must be more than 20 lakh rupees and less than 1 crore rupees. If any consumer is not satisfied with the decision of the state forum, then they can appeal to the apex court, i.e., the national forum.

3. National Forum

National Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission is the apex court and the compensation amount must be more than 1 crore rupees. If consumers are not satisfied with the decision of the national forum, then, at last, they can appeal to Supreme Court and their decision will be final.


The main function of any business is customer satisfaction. Without it, there is no use in the business. All the activities involved in marketing and business are done only for customers. If customers are not happy with the goods and services then the business will not be able to progress and grow. Therefore, the rights and thoughts of the end-users must be respected, and taking them into consideration, they should not be exploited in any way.

This article has been written by Vaishnavi Gupta, 3rd Year, BBA LL.B Student at Bharati Vidyapeeth University, New Law College, Pune.

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