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September 19, 2019

Consumer rights

  • When we speak of consumer rights, we must also consider the interests of producers, apart from the legal protection provided to users. Normally, a consumer pays for what he wants, be it a service or a product. Manufacturers, distributers, and service providers sell their products or services at a price fixed by them, depending on the quality they claim or guarantee.
    A business will run smooth, if the consumer feels that the good or service he receives is worth paying for. He would buy more or come again, if he is satisfied with the product or service he gets for the price he has paid.
    However, the parameters of ‘satisfactory quality’ are harder to define. Legally, we can define ‘satisfactory’ as what an ordinary person would be happy with, given the price and condition, and all the information that is easily available. There are regulations and a legal framework that protect consumers when they buy goods and services. This means they have rights by law, which a seller or service provider cannot amend.
    First of all comes safety since consumers should be able to assume that the products they buy are reasonably safe for their intended purpose, when used as directed.
    Next is correct information. A consumer has the right to be informed properly, as he needs to have sufficient information to weigh alternatives and to guard against false and misleading claims of the advertising industry.
    Then, there is the right to choose, which means selecting from competing goods and services that offer alternatives in terms of price, quality, and service. Additionally, consumers must be free from market monopolization and have the right to express and share their experiences.
    Next comes the right to be heard. Consumer voices must be heard, especially by the government. In this regard, Myanmar has already enacted the Consumer Protection Law on 15 March this year to ensure that all these rights are under the protection of a legal framework.
    A product must have a noticeable label providing required information, including the ingredients it contains, its weight or other measurements, shelf life, manufacturing date, expiry date, side effects, scope of benefits, and guarantees.
    If a consumer believes that one of these “rights” has been violated and he has been harmed as a result, he can file a complaint against the manufacturer or the seller. Here, swift and effective response from the authorities concerned is of vital importance. In addition, the authorities must undertake field tours and conduct surprise checks on manufacturers and service organizations and their products, and initiate legal action, if they find any violation of the law, fraud, false claim or presentation, or guarantee. In this way, a safer and more responsible business environment will emerge in the country.

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