Consumer Protection can mean 2 things: the protection provided by the law and the protection provided to the consumer by his own knowledge. Over the past 50 years scientific and technological advances have led to the manufacture of more and more complete consumer goods and services, but the introduction of modern sales methods such as advertising, pre-packaging and self-service, make it increasingly difficult for the consumer to know from his own experience about the goods on sale. Also the consumer may need protection from artificial price fixing by monopolies and from fraud.
History Of Consumer Protection Bills
These difficulties led consumers to try to aid themselves by forming their own organisations to provide information to help them choose goods. One of these organisations, the Consumers’ Association, set up in 1957, is an independent, non-profit-making body which carried out comparative tests on consumer goods and services and pubs. its findings in its monthly magazine ‘Which?’. ‘Shoppers’ Guide’, now defunct, provided a similar service.There are many associations that have the task of safeguarding and defending consumer interests .
Largely as a result of pressure from consumer organisations and a general awareness of people as ‘consumers’ the Molony Committee on Consumer Protection was set up by the gov. in 1959. Among its 200 recommendations was that a Consumer Council should be set up. This was done in 1963. The gov.-sponsored Consumer Council aims to ascertain and review the problems experienced by the consumer and to devise and advance the means of resolving them’.
The main legislative measures to protect consumers are the Weights and Measures Acts, 1878-1963, the Sale of Goods Act, 1893, the Monopolies and Restrictive Practices Acts, 1948-56, and the Food and Drugs Acts, 1955-1958. The Consumer Protection (Trades Descriptions) Bill 1966, is designed to prevent misleading descriptions of goods in in shops, labelling and advertising.This bill control of unfair terms and makes it possible to re-establish the balance of rights and obligations arising from the conclusion of a contract between the consumer and seller.
Consumers who are looking for protection can also consult the websites of the various consumer associations in advance.Usually all the websites of the various organizations have a search engine within them that allows the user to find information about a particular theme in a simple way.
In fact, consumer associations also play an informative role: the consumer can then contact them in case of questions and doubts related, for example, to the purchase of a product. In this regard, there are branches that provide assistance and information to the user.