Northeast consumers an easy target for scammers
World Consumer Rights Day observed across state
Dimapur, March 15 (EMN): Reports suggest people from the north-east region are specifically targeted by scammers online. Normally, the objective is to extract bank details, with promises of offering delivery after payments online have been made.
The innate trust people have in fellowmen coupled with the massive use of technology can often be a dangerous combination that can result in massive financial loss unless discretion and caution are exercised, said Dr. KPA Ilyas, deputy commissioner of Dimapur police.
Dr. Ilyas was addressing the World Consumer Rights Day program in the city that was organised by the department of Legal Metrology and Consumer Protection, and the Consumers Society of Dimapur at the Lotha Hoho Ki on Wednesday, March 15, at Dimapur.
Addressing on the event’s theme “Consumer Rights in the Digital Age”, the deputy commissioner of Police spoke about some vital issues that consumers face in this digital era and data-based services. They are ‘access services,’ he said.
There is a need for people to use e-commerce with discretion as its nature–a wide range of choices and quality that increases daily, it was informed. E-commerce is difficult to ascertain especially for non-branded products, Dr. Ilyas said, which makes it difficult for consumer redress; jurisdiction and accessibility are a setback.
With increase in e-commerce fraud, the officer said, it is difficult for authorities to identify reliable firms or spot fake websites. Every individual is a consumer of multiple agencies; this fact can pose complexities when seeking redress in disputes amid lack of awareness and lacunae in current laws, the speaker reminded.
Defining digital trends which he said impinge on the rights of the customer, Dr. Ilyas spoke about the difficulty in protecting the digital identity of the consumer: placing the burden on individuals through intricate, super sized terms and agreements, accelerated pace of technology, challenges for the customer on his right to information are some of the disadvantages for the consumer.
Nonetheless, the police official called technology an enabler for the consumer through which there has been an increase range of choice, an increased sense of ‘Right Be Heard’–say, on Twitter or Facebook–technology also offers an excellent platform for customer education.
‘What can practically be done is to take a cautious approach towards E Commerce and E Payment Platforms, careful about Identity Theft (securing passwords, using genuine SIM cards, and employing safe browsing protocols); be aware about redress institutions in place for telecom services and Banking and to use them more often (such as Banking Ombudsman, Telecom Enforcement Resource and Monitoring (TERM) Cell of Department of Telecom),’ Dr. Ilyas said.
The police chief also suggested forming local online communities to sharing details of frauds or to mobilize reports to the police regarding e-commerce frauds; forming community groups to discuss advances in technology and how it can be used profitably and without being cheated.
Addressing the event was also Kesonyu Yhome, deputy commissioner of Dimapur, the chief guest of the programme. ‘We will retire from service but not from being a consumer and every sphere of our life we will continue to be consumers,’ Kesonyu Yhome said.
Yhome said that a United Nations survey in 2012 showed that India alone recorded 14 billion dollars ecommerce transaction. This, he remarked, is a vital aspect to discussing and knowing our rights as consumers.
‘As a consumer we fail to check prices and impulsively overlook our rights as a consumer. Consumerism and protection of consumer will have to intermingle and not only depend on laws,’ Yhome said. The lack of education of consumers is also one of the major problems, he said.
‘Consumer protections needs consumers’ participation’
To safeguard the interests of consumers, there is a need for active participation of the public to push for implementation of proper mechanisms to ensure safe and productive consumerism. This was stated during the World Consumer Rights Day programme in Kohima town by advocate Kezhokhoto Savi, who is also the president of Nagaland Voluntary Consumers’ Organisation (NVCO).
The programme was conducted at the State College of Teacher Education. Trainees and members of the faculty of the college attended the event.
Speaking during the occasion, Kezhokhoto Savi urged the Naga public to ‘wake up and make a habit’ to express their interests and seek upkeep of their welfare in keeping with the provisions as assured by the Consumer Protection Act of 1986.
The consumer rights activist observed that “many a times, the consumers become the victims to unscrupulous traders. This is happening quite a lot almost, everyday. Yet, we (consumers) are unaware of our rights,” Savi said maintaining that there was an urgent need to spread awareness among citizens.
“There must be a proper redressal system. As consumers, we have the right to fight for implementation of a proper mechanism in the state,” he said. He went on to say that majority of the citizens in the state were ignorant about their consumers’ rights which have been given by the Consumer Protection Act of 1986.
“An alert consumer is an asset to the nation. If we are silent or complacent, the business community will take advantage of our ignorance,” he said. “Any society with alert consumers will make the business community more careful and dutiful.”
Savi educated the gathering about the six rights mentioned in the Consumer Protection Act. They are the Right to Safety, Right to Information, Right to Choose, Right to be heard, Right to Redress and the Right to Consumer Education.
“We are entitled to all information before we buy any commodities, even on the standard acts and its safety,” he said. In case of any violation, any aggrieved consumer can directly approach the District & Sessions Judge of the district, who is the district forum president or either the assistant controller of Legal Metrology & Consumer Protection (LMCP).
The activist urged the teachers to take keen initiative in educating the public about consumers’ protection and their rights. “The amount (of knowledge and information) one teacher can spread in educating the public will be enormous,” he added.
The Wokha District Voluntary Consumer Association and the department of Legal Metrology & Consumer Protection jointly organised a World Consumer Rights Day programme on the 15th at the Don Bosco Youth Center. SDO (C) Asalie Lese was the resource person for the event.
Speaking during the occasion Asalie Lese said that the people should be aware of their basic rights as consumers. This is to ensure that their rights are not denied, he said.
Lese also spoke about digital management ‘techniques’ and how to ‘get our rights redressed.’ Besides, he spoke about security tips for customers when doing online transactions or shopping.
A World Consumer Rights Day programme was held in Phek town with the theme ‘Consumer Right in the Digital Age’ on March 15. The event was conducted at the Christian Home High School, with Shepalu Venuh, assistant professor at Phek Government College.
Addressing the gathering, Shepalu Venuh said that ‘all of us are living in a civilized society and we consume in one way or the other. Everyone depends on one another for our sustenance.’ She said that the issue of consumer rights protection covers a wide range of areas that deal with control of policies, public distribution systems, and sales, quality control, and maintenance of standards, among others.
The Kohima District Legal Services Authority (KDLSA) conducted a legal awareness programme at Model Christian College in Kohima town on March 15. The KDLSA gave updates about the event in a press release on Wednesday.
March 15 being observed in the country as World Consumer Rights Day a member of the KDLSA, panel lawyer Hisinlo Himb spoke to the gathering about the Consumer Protection Act, 1986. Consumer Protection Act of 1986 is an Act of the Parliament of India enacted in 1986 to protect the interests of consumers in India. It makes provision for the establishment of consumer councils and other authorities for the settlement of consumers’ disputes and for matters connected therewith.
The statute led to the establishment of a widespread network of consumer forums and appellate courts all over India. It has significantly impacted how businesses approach consumer complaints and empowered consumers to a great extent.
In his presentation, Hisinlo Himb highlighted the duties and rights of the consumer and also where to seek redress for grievances from various forums under the Act.
Also, Panel Lawyer Wapangienla Kichu took spoke about the NALSA Scheme of 2015. She emphasized on victims of trafficking and commercial exploitation and the plight of the affected. She stated that it was alarming that a child goes missing in the country every eight minutes; and India is being tagged as one of the hotspots in Asia in trafficking and sexual exploitation, she said.
The presentation was followed by a short documentary ‘One Life No Price’. About 200 students besides members of the college’s authority and faculty participated in the programme, the organisers stated.
The principal of the institution, Dr. Luke, was appreciative of the programme being conducted in the college. He expressed the need to set up a legal clinic for the institution.
About World Consumer Rights Day
March 15 is World Consumer Rights Day, an annual occasion for celebration and solidarity within the international consumer movement. It marks the date in 1962 President John F Kennedy first outlined the definition of Consumer Rights.
World Consumer Rights Day is an opportunity to promote the basic rights of all consumers, for demanding that those rights are respected and protected, and for protesting the market abuses and social injustices which undermine them.
World Consumer Rights Day was first observed on 15 March 1983, and has since become an important occasion for mobilising citizen action.
How is World Consumer Rights Day observed?
Consumer organisations around the world, big and small, use materials produced by CI to generate local initiatives and media coverage for their work over the coming year.
Initiatives can take the shape of special campaigns, press conferences, public exhibitions, workshops, street events or new publications, to name only a few possibilities.
Consumer groups may adapt CI’s materials to have the greatest local impact. Whatever the objectives, they share the same underlying aim of bringing about important and needed benefits for consumers. (consumersinternational.org)