Caveat Emptor: Let the Buyer Beware

This article is written by Shilpa, a student of Banasthali Vidyapeeth.

A consumer is the user of any goods and services. Consumers are many a times exploited by manufacturer and shopkeepers for their profit, and the consumer faces two side loss of money extending to the loss of health, and second, in the form of defective goods. A consumer can be said to be cheated when he or she buys any goods or services but they do not get what was promised to them, and maybe there is some defect in goods and services as to the original one. To protect consumers from such frauds, many legislations have been enacted and campaigns are run by government, most famous and renowned ones being “Jago Grahak Jago”, magazine “Upbhokta Jagran” and “Sanrakshan Upbhokta ka” which is telecast on Doordarshan. These campaigns are to make the consumers aware of their rights, responsibilities, and the also how to tackle fraudulent manufacturers.

Caveat Emptor is a Latin legal maxim which means ‘let the buyer beware’. The concept of the maxim is that a buyer should be aware while buying goods or services, and that they are themselves responsible for their rights. Buyers should make selection of goods or services after properly examining them and should buy the products only when they are satisfied with the quality of the product.

There are certain points a person should keep in mind as a consumer:-
1) Clear mind-set: What to buy-
A person should go to buy goods or services with clear mind-set, without any confusion that what good or service he or she want and with what content.

2) Content of a commodity-
As a consumer, a person should always check for the content that a commodity contains, they should see that if that content will suit her or him.

3) MRP Check-A consumer should not pay to a shopkeeper more than MRP mentioned on the commodity even though shopkeeper demands for it.

4) Weight Check- A consumer should check weight of the commodity that he or she is buying, they should make sure that weighing machine is properly working or not and the commodity weighs the same as it is mentioned on the commodity.

5) Duplication Check-
The product that they are buying is of the original brand or not, or is there any duplication regarding the name, logo, packaging wrapper of a commodity.

6) Quality Check-
Whether the commodities they are buying are approved by the authorities, since such authorisation is a proof of the good quality and quantity of the commodity. Goods approved by assigned authorities contain marks like ISI, Agmark, Woolmark, FPO etc.

7) Supplementary Products- While buying a commodity a person should look for other brands also of the same commodity so that he or she can get more options and fully satisfied with the content or nature of the commodity.

8) Expiry date-
Before buying any commodity a buyer should check for its expiry date first.
In case of electronic gadgets a buyer should first check for its features, should go for demo, with this should make sure that a warranty card has been provided to them and free servicing is there for heavy electronics and machineries.

9) Ask for Bill- It is a right of a consumer and duty of a seller that they provide cash memo to a buyer without any extra charges and if they don’t it is buyers’ responsibility to ask for.

These are some basics that a person as a consumer or buyer should keep in mind while buying something. With these things a consumer have rights that a person should must be aware and exercise it. If a person who is not aware about his or her rights he or she is not only dangerous for themselves but for the society and country also.

Basic rights of a consumer are:-

Right to safety- consumer have a right to safety from those goods and services which can be prove hazardous to his health, life and property.
Right to be informed- it is right of a consumer that they should be informed in detail about the goods and services they are buying and with this it is duty of the seller to provide information about the good and services.
Right to choose- a consumer have a right that he or she can choose good and services according to their satisfaction, without any interference.
Right to redressal- it means that if any fraud has been occurred with the consumer so it is his right to be get compensate against the unfair trade practice of the seller. Redressal can be provided in the form of free repair of the product, exchange of the product, refund of money.
Right to consumer education and awareness- right to consumer education refers to continuously education provided to the consumers about their rights. Campaigns should be run by government which will provide awareness to the consumer about their rights, campaigns for example “Jago Grahak Jago”, magazine “Upbhokta Jagran” and “Sanrakshan Upbhokta ka” which is telecasts on Doordarshan. Every year on March 15 consumer day is celebrated to spread awareness about their rights.

These are a few points of discussion that justify the meaning of the maxim caveat emptor and things that a person should keep in his or her mind as a consumer.