It refers to the welcome nod of Union Cabinet to new ‘Consumer Protection Bill 2017’ with stringent punishment and fines for misleading advertisements holding also celebrities promoting commodities accountable. But some more features can and should be added in the Bill to safeguard consumers’ interests. Bill should include ban on levying service-charge in bills by hotels and restaurants. Promotional added quantities publicised free with original pack should be within the main pack only to avoid shopkeepers keeping free packs themselves without benefitting the customer.
Bill should have provision to make it compulsory to pack all packaged commodities only in packs of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500 gms-mltrs-kgs-ltrs only, to avoid gimmick packaging to befool consumers by manufacturers. Goods packed by numbers should be only in packs of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500, 1000 and similar multiples of 1000. Presently soap-manufacturers pack 75 gms soap-cakes to look alike 100 gms packs and syrups in 750 mltrs packs to look alike 1 ltr pack. Even medicines should be packed in similar system unless exemption is sought for units other than specified ones for dose-wise administration. It is ridiculous that even commonly advertised medicines like cough-lozenges are packed in strips of eight rather than normally 10 because consumer judges price per strip rather than lozenges.
Subhash Chandra Agrawal
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)