Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Fleecing the consumer on false promises A criminal act by all counts

Fleecing the consumer on false promises
A criminal act by all counts

by Amba Charan Vashishth

Every producer of consumer goods has a right to promote his/her goods. But can that be on the basis of false claims and promises?

Every other day we come across advertisements in the print and the electronic media with a particular company coming out with very enticing promotion programmes. Buy a particular good and, the advertisement announces, scratch on the item and be "lucky" by grabbing fabulous goods as 'gifts' –one of  your numerous dream cars, hundreds of laptops, scooters/motorcycles, refrigerators, coolers, watches, cookers and what not, worth crores of rupees.

The consumer gets allured. He purchases goods which, at times, he didn't need at once or even at all, but only to grab the lucky chance. It is a gamble for him. But an overwhelming majority of the buyers scratch only to discover dismay. If anybody gets, it is only a petty gift which one could afford to live without.

It is true that companies are not legally bound to pack every good with a costly gift. But, at the same time, they have the responsibility to  honour their commitment to distribute these costly gifts worth crores of rupees. If not A, or B, or C the Z must have got it. Companies never come out with an announcement as to who exactly were the lucky winners of 10 lucury cars, 50 scooters/motor cycles, 30 laptops, and a number of refrigerators and the like.
Some companies are smart enough to announce in print or electronic media that A from Mumbai, B from Kolkata, C from Delhi and so on has won it. But who exactly is this A or B or C? It is very easy to befool the consumer with such announcements because you cannot locate A in Mumbai or B in Kolkata and the like. Since the purchaser is made to give his full name, address with phone numbers and e-mail address, the same should be displayed so that others can be sure that the so-called promised 'gifts' have actually been distributed.
Otherwise, it all amounts to cheating a consumer to part with his money on false promises – a criminal offence.

Why should the Ministry of Company Affairs, Ministry of Consumer Affairs and those concerned with protecting the consumer rights and preventing unhealthy practices and allurements, not rise to the occasion and make it mandatory for the companies announcing such alluring 'gifts' to publish the complete list with full address? They should not be allowed to get away with because of the laxity of the government agencies.

It is time the Government stumbled out of its slumber to protect the rights of the consumers not to allow unscrupulous manufacturing companies to get away with duping the customers.   

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