Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: History of Consumer Rights
Chapter 3: Present Condition of Consumer Protection in Bangladesh
Chapter 4: Legal Mechanisms to Protect Consumer Rights in Bangladesh
Chapter 5: Practical Approach to Protect Consumer Rights in Bangladesh
Chapter 6: General Conclusion
Bangladesh is a small country with a huge population. Most densely populated country with a large number of consumers. Consumer means the person who use or consume any product or goods in exchange of price .Though Bangladesh achieved independent 45 years back but it can’t reach in a mentionable level in protecting consumer right. Consumers are very much neglected here from their right. Though there are a lot of organization works here for monitoring human right s situations but none are eager for protecting consumer rights and that’s why consumer rights situation are not paid enough importance here. There is only one concerned organization namely Consumer Association of Bangladesh (CAB) which alone are not sufficient. Consumers are not aware of their own right as seen in the developed country. Recently govt. has passed The Consumer Rights Protection Act 2009 and Formalin Control Act 2015 in this regard but the situation is mostly the same as in the past for the apathy of the relevant authority.
Bangladesh as a third word’s country containing huge population comprising largest consumer in comparative with its land. Since the independence of 45 year have been lapsed but consumer rights are yet been formulated in a notable manner in Bangladesh. There is only one significant organization working for consumer rights in Bangladesh namely, Consumer Association of Bangladesh (CAB).Many developed countries in the world give significant emphasis on consumer rights, consequently they are evaluated the situation in the apex, where in Bangladesh it is exist at a infancy level. The world’s business environment is changing and growing very fast. Present moods of performing business have been reshaped by stakeholder through various negotiation and pact particularly from (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) to World Trade Organization (WTO) regime. The newly emerged global business environment not only changes the system and process but also the way of conducting business and transaction causing consumer deprivation and harassment.
Thus, in developed sense consumer is very much honored. But in Bangladesh we see that consumer is treated negligently. Consumer rights are abused almost every sector in Bangladesh.
1.2 Statement of Problem
After gaining independence from Pakistan, the new born Bangladesh had adopted several Pakistan enacted laws as well as British law, besides these a lots of statute have been passed by our great parliament throughout the time. However, the Bangladeshi lawmaker remained silent about the consumer protection law. Consequently, there was no specific law in Bangladesh for a long time on the protection of consumer’s rights. In 2008 the non-party care-taker Government passed an ordinance to formulate a strong legal framework concerning consumer protection in Bangladesh. The present Government has enacted a consumer rights protection Act 2009 on April 06, 2009 without giving approval to the previous ordinance.
Therefore we can see that, the consumer protection Act 2009 is not exhaustive at all. It provides that only competent Government officers are entitled to institute a case against the infringer for violation of consumer right laws. An individual personally aggrieved cannot initiate any legal sue against him except lodging a complaint to the department concerned. No court shall take cognizance if charge sheet is not submitted within 90 days from the date of complaint. Due to these legal drawback consumers are not duly protected. Therefore, these legal flaws are to be removed with a view to enabling the consumers to institute suit in a court of law identifying the violation of law.
Moreover, In Bangladesh there is huge lack of publishing and explaining this law to public in organized way. It is evident that the Bangladeshi people, even not aware enough about their rights due to inadequate seminar, symposium, leafleting, and others awareness programs.
The Government machineries from implementing point of view are very weak. As the Government machineries do not work smoothly, so non-Government organization should come forward with a program of helping the consumers.
Moreover, the Bangladeshi people witnessed that there is a few political endeavor and program as to the protection of consumers. Even in some cases political postulate the businessman, traders, and industrialists by taking undue subscription that in return create artificial crises in the market and earn unlimited profits at the costs of suffering of the general people.
The helpful news to us that, in our country some of Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) are working with regard to protection of consumers and they have been campaigning movement for the legal protection of consumers, for some cases giving help in the way of legal aids, advice, & direct movement in the street.
1.3 Objective of Research
I have observed the objects for my research as under the following:-
- To identify the legal problems related the protection of consumer rights.
- To evaluate the measure for enforcement of consumer rights.
- To clarify the concept of consumer and consumer protection.
- to examine the present situations in Bangladesh
- To examine how Consumer Rights are violated in Bangladesh
- To examine the present legal mechanism to protect consumer right in Bangladesh
- To examine the application of the mechanisms in Bangladesh
- To find out the shortcomings of the mechanisms in Bangladesh
- To make some recommendations to ensure Consumer rights in Bangladesh.
1.4 Research Methodology
Generally, the research would be conducted on exploratory method. It is a combination of both qualitative and quantitative research.. A logical frame work shall be developed on the basis of various way data analysis such as frequency distribution, causal relationship, factor analysis & others statistical tools of analysis. This study will examine and evaluate the present conditions of the laws and practices in this respect. In order to give complete shape to the study, a range of research methods would be used:
- review of secondary literature and instruments on Consumer Right Protection;
- examination of the constitutional guarantees regarding right to Protection of Law and other relevant provisions in the Constitution of Bangladesh;
Analysis of statutory law and case law relating to Consumer Right Protection in Bangladesh;
- review of relevant public records, available statistical data and annual reports of various NGOs;
- case studies of recent specific incidents relating to the Consumer Right Protection; and
- Collection and analysis of relevant data.
Discussion on the conceptual issues will be based on the secondary literature including books, journals, electronic materials, constitutional law, statutory law and case law.
1.5 Sources and Materials
The study will be based on both primary and secondary data. The secondary data will be collected from the literature on the topic, Annual Reports of major non-governmental organizations. Moreover, information will be collected from the website of various national and international organizations. The collected data will be classified, analyzed and tabulated according to the different objectives and variables of the study.
On the basis of evaluation some proposals by way of recommendations will be made in the conclusion of each chapter. An overall conclusion will be drawn in the last chapter.
1.6 Scope and Limitation
The scope of the study relates to Consumer Rights Protection in Bangladesh and ranges for a period of ten years i.e., from 2006 to 2016. This study will not go beyond the said period but it may discuss an issue beyond this period if it seems to be very important or notorious. The study area is within Bangladesh as because Bangladesh will be convenient for the researcher in collecting information and data, as it is his workplace. It may be noted that this study will specifically focus on consumer, businessman, manufacturer, victims and offenders if there is any prominent or important case. The study will continue for one month. Due to constraint of time and financial support the study is limited in respect of time and place as mentioned above.
Although the term ‘Consumer Rights Protection’ is not frequently discussed but now it is a necessary part of the daily life. As the abuse of Consumer Rights has grown, and consumer rights are infringing daily due to the absence of robust legal regime on it. “The existing laws alone are not enough to face the growing challenges in consumer rights protection. So, it is essential to amend the existing laws.”
1.7 Importance of Research
The discussion regarding consumer rights is indispensable in the present decade, as a not widely application and untouched set of rules new law. The customers are not conscious about their rights. And they has little knowledge and awareness or idea about consumer rights.
So it must be very useful and helpful for consumers, to research the protection of consumer rights. Though there were few study on this topic but to know deeply about this subject this study will help much more. Further it will help to draw the attention of the policymaker about this issue and to reduce the present loopholes. When the consumers or customers will be known with their rights they never suffer a loss but they will may overcome any loss or injury of purchasing products.
1.8 Review of Literature
This study is expected to find out the major loopholes in case of protecting consumer rights. As there is no comprehensive research done by any person, institute concerning this topic .So this topic of elaborate study of consumer rights can be a standard way for conducting a study therein. For sake of completing this research work A lot of books, journals, articles, newspaper, booklets, periodicals, will be reviewed shown under bellow:-
- Dr. Nasrin Lubna, Consumer Rights in Bangladesh: Legal Status and Protection modalities (Institution Of Bangladesh Studies ,343,071,Luc)
- Ahamuduzzaman and Syeda Shamsia Husain, Consumer Protection Law, Law Book Company, Dhaka, 2011.
- The Protection of Consumer Rights Act, 2009. Published by the Government on April 06, 2009.
- Constitution of Bangladesh, the ministry of law, published by the parliament.
- Mr. L. Kabir, the Penal Code, 1860. Ain prokashani , Dhaka, 2009.
1.9 Chapter Outline:
This study has been divided into six chapters and the chapter scheme of the study is given below
Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: History of Consumer Rights
Chapter 3: Present Conditions of Consumer Rights in Bangladesh
Chapter 4: Legal Mechanisms to Protect Consumer Rights in Bangladesh
Chapter 5: Practical Approach to Protect Consumer Rights in Bangladesh
Chapter 6: Conclusion
The discussion regarding consumers rights are not hot topics or usually not captured the front pages of daily prominent newspaper like controversial political issues or others social incidents, but the importance of preservation of consumer interest is not neglectful at all.
The general public health is indispensable for a nation to continue the advancement and development.
 F.D.C Wijesinghe, Consumer Rights In Comparison With other countries UK, Australia, India. (Economic Review vol,27 No,10&11) P.8-11
 Dr. Nasrin Lubna, Consumer Rights in Bangladesh: Legal Status and Protection modalities (Institution Of Bangladesh Studies ,343,071,Luc)
 Consumer International: The Rights and Responsibility of Consumer (UK: Crescent London)
 Diane Mc Crea: Codex Alimentations for consumer (Oct 2000) P.8
CHAPTER TWO: HISTORY OF CONSUMER RIGHTS
Consumer Protection, which is a genre within the overarching legal specialty of Consumer Law, is classified as a legal field that focuses on the protection of consumers engaging in commercial activity within the commercial market.
Consumer Protection Laws not only ensure that the consumers engaging in commercial activity rooted within purchase and consumerism will be regulated in accordance to Consumer Rights legality, as well as provide for the regulation of all commercial activity undertaken by vendor-based commercial operations in order to ensure Consumer Protection.
2.2 Consumer Protection Laws in Ancient Times
The earliest incarnation of Consumer Protection has been recorded as the implementation of the ‘Lex Julia Annona’ statute, which was passed by the Roman Government in or around 50 B.C; the ‘Lex Julia de Annona’ statute was enforced not only to provide commercial operations with legal protection, but also to provide Consumer Protection for Roman Citizens:
This Consumer Protection Law expressed that any individual attempting to destroy incoming vessels carrying cargo with the attempt to sabotage competing commercial endeavors would be prosecuted for this crime Not only did this Consumer Law serve to protect the interests of commercial operation, but it served as a form of Consumer Protection, which prevented the institution of a commercial monopoly; as was the trend within a monopoly, the consumer populace was oftentimes subject to predatory and discriminatory pricing resulting from a monopolization of the commercial market.
2.3 Consumer Protection Laws of 19th and 20th Century
The antitrust and anti-monopoly laws passed both at the close of the 19th century, as well as the early years of the 20th century disallowed for the commercial monopolization of the commercial market for the first time in conjunction with recorded and mandated legislature within the United States; these Consumer Protection Laws prevented consumers from victimization with regard to unethical pricing, the exploitation of the commercial market, and violation of constitutionality – the Consumer Protection Laws banning monopolies continue to provide for Consumer Protection within modernity: Predatory Pricing is the drastic and unethical, exploitative control of pricing for goods and services due to commercial monopolization Market control violates consumer rights upon instating unauthorized limitation with regard to consumer purchases.
2.4 Consumer Protection Laws of Modernity
Electronic Commerce, which is commonly referred to as ‘E-Commerce’ relies on Consumer Protection Law focuses ensuring the regulation of legislation, ethics, legality, and stipulations that exist with regard to the operation and facilitation of commercial activity through the use of digital vending, computer networks, virtual marketplaces, online businesses, and Internet-based consumer activity: Consumer Protection within the computer age prevents from the defrauding of consumers engaging within the commercial marketplace upon regulating the methods and activities of electronic commerce and transactions Consumer Protection Laws specific to virtual commerce provide the regulation and oversight of the integrity of products and services offered within a virtual marketplace.
2.5 Consumer Protection in Indian Subcontinent
Consumer Protection has its deep roots in the rich soil of Indian civilization, which dates back to 3200 B.C. In ancient India, human values were cherished and ethical practices were considered of great importance. However, the rulers felt that the welfare of their subjects was the primary area of concern. They showed keen interest in regulating not only the social conditions but also the economic life of the people, establishing many trade restrictions to protect the interests of buyers.
In the medieval period, consumer protection continued to be of prime concern of the rulers. During Muslim rule, a large number of units of weights were used in India.35 During the Sultanate period, the prices used were determined by local conditions.36 During the rule of Alauddin Khalji, 37 strict controls were established in the market place.38 In those days, there was unending supply of grain to the city and grain-carriers sold at prices fixed by the Sultan39. There was a mechanism for price enforcement in the market. Similarly, shop-keepers were punished for under weighing their goods.
In the modern period, the British system replaced the age old traditional legal system of India. However, one of the outstanding achievements of British rule in India was “the formation of a unified nationwide modern legal system. “During the British period, the Indian legal system was totally revolutionized and the English legal system was introduced to administer justice.
Though the history of consumer protection law goes back hundreds years back but, in fact, the implementation of such laws was out of seen. With the advent of globalization and others revolutionary change in human life pattern mankind now more sincere about their rights and demand to the society.
 David L: Loudon & Albert J. Della Bitta,Consumer Behaviour: Concept and Application 4th ed. (New York,McGraw-Hill Inc,1993)P.628
 John c. Mowen, Consumer Behaviour , 3rd ed. (New York, Macmillan publishing company1993) P.766
 http://dept.econ.yorku.cal/basher/consumerism/ti.pdf (16 Feb 2016)
CHAPTER THREE: PRESENT CONDITION OF CONSUMER RIGHTS IN BANGLADESH
The current system of legal protection to the consumers in Bangladesh is inadequate and outdated. Further whatever little laws are available; they are not strictly enforced for the protection of the rights of the general consumers. The consumers in Bangladesh are thus deprived of their rights at every sphere of their lives.
The Constitution of Bangladesh, under its ‘fundamental principles of state policy’ part, recognizes the rights of consumers to a limited extent. The provisions of consumer protection can be found at Articles 15 and 18 of the Constitution. However, these provisions are mainly focused on the vital issues of ‘health’ and ‘food’ than on other consumer rights. Moreover, the said provisions are mentioned under the ‘fundamental principles of state policy’ part and not under the ‘fundamental rights’ part of the Constitution. Hence, they remain mostly non-enforceable in the courts of law. Ahmed and Rahman comments that the current regime of legislative protection to the consumers in Bangladesh is ‘so outdated that little or no protection is provided to the consumers’ they further criticize the current legal regime for consumer protection on the following grounds:
(a) The current laws are faulty and do not meet the present needs;
(b) Under the existing legal regime, the aggrieved consumers themselves cannot go to the court to sue against the violators. It is only the designated government officials empowered under these laws, who can initiate and sue against the violators.
(c) The provisions of penalty or punishment under the current laws are so negligible that nobody cares to abide by such laws; and
(d) Finally, the laws are not effectively enforced.
Turin Afroz too claims that, under the current legal regime, the general consumers in Bangladesh cannot take proper legal action against the fraudulent and unfair trade practices of the unscrupulous businessmen and traders [Tureen Afroz, ‘Protecting the Rights of the Consumers in Bangladesh’ (17 March 2002) The Daily Star]. She further states that the current statutory protections to the consumers in Bangladesh are not comprehensive and thus, fail to meet the contemporary requirements of the consumers.
3.2 Formulation of Consumer Law
In 2004, a draft law on protection of consumer rights was approved in the Cabinet of the Government of Bangladesh. The Consumer Rights Protection Act was passed by Parliament in April 2009. The Act establishes the Consumer Rights Protection Council (the Council) as the body charged with lead carriage of the Act. This law emphasizes the consumers’ right to obtain goods and services at competitive prices. It also highlights consumers’ right to information regarding quality, quantity, standard and value of the goods and s mutational structure is a hindrance to the promotion of consumer protection in Bangladesh. 
The ability of consumers to verify the product information given to them is extremely limited and, in most cases, impossible to achieve. Therefore, in the absence of an effective market mechanism, the protection of consumer interests will necessitate more than the enactment of laws. Needed are mechanisms which enable and encourage consumers to act in their own interests where they can, and to provide effective and timely intervention on their behalf when they cannot.
In Bangladesh, in common with many other developing countries, governments play a critical role in the economy not only as regulators and protectors of the public interest, but also as owners of major assets and business enterprises. Sectors such as railways, telephones, and other public utility services, have established anti-competitive structures which may inhibit the modernization of these services and hinder private investment into these sectors. Whilst, in recent times, the private sector has entered into the business of cellular/mobile telephones, competition has been restricted to only a few firms. This structure severely limits the ability of consumer choice to shake markets or discipline monopoly providers.
Despite certain reforms in the domestic economy such as sectorial regulators, Bangladesh still possesses a rather weak competition regime. This impedes the efficiency gains in the domestic economy. Moreover, a weak competition regime implies that the interest of the consumers may be partially overlooked. Setting up an effective regime, in this regard, will remain a challenging task for Bangladesh, as it would require, amongst other things, legal and regulatory reforms, implementation of rule of law and development of civil society group protecting the consumers’ interest.
 [Borhan Ahmed and Khalilur Rahman, ‘Consumer Rights: Bangladesh Perspective’ CAB publication].
 The Daily Star (Dhaka). 13 August 2005
 Tureen Afroz: Protecting The Right of The Consumers in Bangladesh (17March 2002) P.364
 Haripada Bhattacharjee and Samir Kumar Sheel, Consumers In Bangladesh: Rights and Seatbacks
CHAPTER FOUR: LEGAL MECHANISMS TO PROTECT CONSUMER RIGHTS IN BANGLADESH
The existing mechanism of legal safeguard to the consumers in Bangladesh is feeble and obsolete. Further whatever little enactments are available; they are not strictly enforced for the protection of the rights of the general consumers. The consumers in Bangladesh are thus deprived of their rights daily at every sphere of their lives. Consumer is a person who just enjoys the outcome of industrialization by way of disbursement not directly involved in a trade, but receives goods and services from businessmen. Business either be legal or illegal or the businessmen can argue for reasonable profit from the customer, here government is come into play vital role To keep the business profitable and legal, some policies have been established by the government to create a balance between profit and quality. Such policies are largely about goods and services, supplied to the consumers or customers, who wish to purchase or hire goods and/or services from the sellers or manufacturers. The concept of consumers or customer and the very notion consumer protection have been depicted in this chapter.
4.2 Definition of Consumer
A consumer or “Buyer” is defined as “individual’’ who buys, exhausts, maintains and disposes of products or services” and although, many may still be familiar with the doctrine of “Let the Buyer Beware” (Caveat emptor) this is no longer the case with the advent of Consumer Protection law.
“Consumer” means any individual who in relation to a commercial practice is acting for purposes which are outside his business.
Section-2 (19) of the Consumer Protection Act, 2009 in Bangladesh states the definition of consumer.
“Consumer” means such type of person:
- a) Who except for the purpose of resale and commercial intention.
- i) Purchases or agrees to purchase any product by payment of a price.
- ii) Purchases or agrees to purchases by part payment of price.
iii) Purchases with the promise of paying price in extended term or by installments.
- b) Who uses the product purchased under clause (a) with the consent of the purchaser
- c) Who, after purchasing a product, uses it commercially for the purpose of making a living self –employed
- d) Who,
- i) Hires or receives otherwise any service by payment or promises to pay the price.
- ii) Hires or receives otherwise any service by part payment or promises to pay partly the price.
iii) Hires or receives otherwise any service by paying the price in an extended term or by installments.
- e) Who consumers the service received under clause (d) with the consent of the service consumer.
4.3 Who is a Consumer?
Generally, the term “consumer” indicates everyone of a society including a baby today born to the most aged person; from the head of the state to the rickshaw puller on the street. In simple words, the persons who use or consume products or services are consumers. In the eyes of law, a person is required to fulfill certain conditions to be regarded as a consumer. Consumers are those persons who, for one or for the dependants, buy or use or obtain a permission to use any products or service by offering a price, prompt or due or in installments. In addition, any person using such products with the consent of the buyer will also be treated as a consumer. But if someone buys something for the purpose of resale or for any other commercial purposes, he or she shall not be a consumer as such. Personal consumption is the main test for defining oneself as a consumer. Under CRPA 2009, a person who buys goods to earn a livelihood by ‘self-employment’ also falls within the definition of a consumer.
Although, to identify the real consumer is tough for a seller because of due intention of a consumer. whether a purchaser is a consumer or not it depends on the purchaser’s intention in buying the goods for him. It is said that consumer protection is the achieved or intended result of consumer policy.
4.4 Consumer Protection and Consumer Law
It is now admitted that the law as it stands does not give sufficient protection to the consumer. As a matter of fact, the term consumer is by origin an economic concept and until quite recently, it was simply foreign to legal usage and conceptualization. However, with the growing realization of the need for special legislation for the protection of consumers and only consumers, it become important to give the term ‘consumer’ a fixed legal meaning.
Consumer protection consists of laws and organizations designed to ensure the rights of consumers as well as fair trade competition and the free flow of truthful information in the marketplace. The laws are designed to prevent businesses that engage in fraud or specified unfair practices from gaining an advantage over competitors and may provide additional protection for the weak and those unable to take care of themselves. Consumer protection laws are a form of government regulation which aims to protect the rights of consumers. For example, a government may require businesses to disclose detailed information about products—particularly in areas where safety or public health is an issue, such as food. Consumer protection is linked to the idea of “consumer rights” (that consumers have various rights as consumers), and to the formation of consumer organizations, which help consumers make better choices in the marketplace and get help with consumer.
Other organizations that promote consumer protection include government organizations and self-regulating business organizations such as consumer protection agencies and organizations, the Federal Trade Commission, ombudsmen, Better Business Bureaus, etc.
A consumer is defined as someone who acquires goods or services for direct use or ownership rather than for resale or use in production and manufacturing.
Consumer interests can also be protected by promoting competition in the markets which directly and indirectly serve consumers, consistent with economic efficiency, but this topic is treated in competition law.
4.5 What is Consumer Rights Law?
This legal area encompasses a large body of laws enacted by the government to protect consumers by regulating many of the following business transactions and practices: advertising, sales and business practices; product branding; mail fraud; sound banking and truth in lending; quality produce and meats; housing material and other product standards; and all manner of other types of consumer transactions. Some states also regulate door-to-door sales, abusive collection practices and referral and promotional sales.
Consumer protection law or consumer law is considered an area of law that regulates private law relationships between individual consumers and the businesses that sell those goods and services. Consumer protection covers a wide range of topics, including but not necessarily limited to product liability, privacy rights, unfair business practices, fraud, misrepresentation, and other consumer/business interactions.
Consumer protection laws deal with a wide range of issues including credit repair, debt repair, product safety, service and sales contracts, bill collector regulation, pricing, utility turnoffs, consolidation, personal loans that may lead to bankruptcy.
4.6 Concept of Consumer Rights Protection Law
According to a leading European author on the subject, consumer law comprises “the body of standards, rules and instruments representing the juridical fruit borne by the various efforts that have been made to secure or improve the protection of the consumer on the economic market and to promote the interests of the consumerist” to establish a balance of power between consumers and their economic partners or, probably more realistically, to define the means whereby the existing imbalance can be reduced.
In a narrower sense, consumer law “focuses mainly on citizens entering transactions to obtain products and services from commercial enterprises.
It is now accepted in Sweden and other Scandinavian countries that the “legal consumer concept must be confined to private persons who are acquiring goods, services or anything else of value mainly for their own use and not for resale or use in business.
4.7 Importance of the Protection of Consumer Rights
It is now universally acknowledges that the observance of basic human rights is the cornerstone of peace and security for all nations. A consumer right is considered as a basic human rights as part of right to life. Many European countries have already inserted „consumer rights‟ in their constitution for giving special preferences e.g. Spain.
The constitution of Bangladesh enshrines „right to life‟ as a fundamental right that indirectly protects consumer rights. The constitution also states that it is the fundamental responsibility of the State to ensure the basic necessities of life, including food, clothing, shelter, education and medical care with special regard to public health and morality.
In this digital era, the world is considered as a global village. So, concern for consumer rights rarely begins or ends at any single nations boundaries, and effective action to protect and promote consumer rights, whether at home or abroad, can be furthered by the imaginative use of national, regional or international techniques. In the European Countries a consumer’s right is protected through common directives applicable equally for all the EU nations. The World Trade Organizations (WTO) has a great role in regulating trade affairs through different agreements among various nations. The United Nations (UN) has adopted guidelines for the protection of consumer rights.
It is widely accepted by the scholars that „trade and business‟ relates to the socio-economic and religious conditions of a particular community. Bangladesh, a developing country with over population, is dependent upon the foreign countries for its essential commodities and imports huge quantities of food, cosmetic and essential products every year especially from India, Japan, China, the USA and the EU countries. It has very good relations with the Middle East countries and earns huge foreign exchanges by exporting goods, medicines and apparels.
The religious prohibition on consumption of some food and food items has a great impact over consumer rights. It is the prime responsibility of the state to ensure all those rights to its citizens.
So, the importance of the protection of consumer rights carries a great value towards humanity. To ensure security and safety in life, the consumer rights protection related Laws should be effectively enforced. The number of immature and unnatural death will be reduced if the consumer rights are duly ensured. Effective enforcement of consumer rights shall impact widely on economic progress in national and international level. The consumer related laws should be enforced equally for all the citizens irrespective of their nationalism or race, sex, color, language, religion etc.
4.8 Rights of a Consumer
The declaration made by former US President John F. Kennedy in 1962 outlined only four basic consumer rights:
(1) the right to safety;
(2) the right to be informed;
(3) the right to choose; and
(4) the right to be heard.
Worldwide consumer movement led by Consumers International (CI), a global federation of over 250 consumer organizations, added four more rights:
(5) the right to satisfaction of basic needs;
(6) the right to redress;
(7) the right to education;
(8) the right to a healthy environment.
Together these eight rights form the basis for current consumers’ movement worldwide.” Now-a-days, consumer rights include more sectors like banking, telecommunication etc. In Bangladesh a lot of laws (around 61 laws, list given below) are prevailing on consumer rights that aim to ensure safety products and security in service.
Section 2 (20) of the Consumer Rights Protection Act, 2009 states that “Acts against consumer rights” mean:
- a) Selling or offering to sale at a price higher than the price prescribed by any law or Rule for any product, medicine or service;
- b) Knowingly selling or offering to sale any adulterer product or medicine;
- c) Selling or offering to sale any product which has mixture of any object that is dangerously harmful for human health and mixture of such object with food is prohibited by any Act or Rule;
- d) Deceiving people in general by false and untrue advertisement with the purpose of selling any product or service.
- e) Not to supply properly the product or service as promised in exchange price;
- f) To sale or supply in a weight lesser than that has been promised at the time of such sale or supply;
- g) The scale or instruments of weighing using for sale or supply of any product of a business establishment showing over weight that in actual weight;
- h) Using less than in promised weight in time of sale or supply of a product;
- i) The using ribbon for measuring length in any business establishment showing more length than in actual size;
- j) To make or manufacture any counterfeit product or medicine;
- k) To sale or offer to sale any date expire product or medicine;
Commission of any act which is dangerous to the life or safety of the service consumer that is prohibited under any Act or Rule;
We, therefore, may come to a conclusion that the prevention of the above „acts against consumer rights‟ means to ensure consumer rights.
4.9 Aspects of Consumer Protection
There are three aspects of consumer rights protection, which every country must consider.
First, the aspect of ‘voluntary protection’ which means that consumer’s themselves would voluntarily set up associations or organizations to safeguard their own rights and interests. These associations/organizations generally work as pressure groups on the government for consumer rights issues. There are many such voluntary organizations in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and other countries of the world. In Bangladesh, the Consumers’ Association of Bangladesh (CAB) was established in 1978.
Second, the aspect of ‘Institutional Protection’. By establishing national institutions to safeguard and promote consumer rights of citizens this aspect of consumers’ protection can be ensured. For example, in 1914 the Federal Trade Commission, in 1927 the Food and Drug Administration and in 1970 the National High Traffic Administration were set up in the USA; the United Kingdom established the office of Director-General of Fair Trading; Sweden set up the Consumer Agency KOV and Consumer Ombudsman KO; India established National Consumer Protection Council, various State Consumer Protection Councils, National Consumer Disputes Redressed Commission with State Commissions and District Forums; Pakistan set up the Islamabad Consumer Protection Council; Sri Lanka and Nepal set up the office of the Commissioner of Internal Trade and the Consumer Protection Council respectively.
Third, the aspect of ‘Statutory Protection’, which can be guaranteed by enacting relevant laws for protecting the rights and interests of the consumers. Many countries of the world, including those in Asia, have already enacted comprehensive laws in this regard. For example, the Consumer Protection Fundamental Act 1968 in Japan, Consumer Protection Act 1979 in both Thailand and Sri Lanka, Consumer Protection Act 1986 in India, Consumer Act of the Philippines 1990 in the Philippines, Islamabad Consumers Protection Act 1995 in Pakistan, Consumer Protection Act 1998 in Nepal, The Law on Consumer Protection 1999 in Indonesia and Consumer Protection Act 1999 in Malaysia were enacted.
4.10 Consumer Perceived Value
Perceived value is consumer’s estimate of the product’s overall capacity to satisfy his or her needs. It is the consumer’s overall assessment of the utility of a product based on perceptions of what is received and what is given or what might be given.
Customer perceived value (CPV) is the difference between the prospective customer’s evaluation of all the benefits and all the costs of an offering and the perceived alternatives.
Total customer value is the perceived monetary value of the bundle or economic, functional, and psychological benefits customers expect from a given market offering.
Total customer cost is the bundle of costs customers expect to incur in evaluating, obtaining, using, and disposing of the given marketing offering.
4.11 Constitutional Measure
The Constitution of Bangladesh, nearly dormant about the consumer protection rights. Though it recognizes some rights relating to consumer protection under its ‘fundamental principles of state policy’ but it is so inactive that hardly can turn out the good environment for Bangladeshi people. The provisions of consumer protection can be found at Articles 15 and 18 of the Constitution. However, these provisions are mainly focused on the vital issues of ‘health’ and ‘food’ than on other consumer rights. Moreover, the Bangladeshi government had never paid any attention to include consumer related rights under the ‘fundamental rights’ [part-(iii)] of the Constitution. Besides these no others government was sincere enough to implement the rights of consumers, consequently, the consumer rights protection issues in Bangladesh remain mostly non-enforceable in the administration of justice.
4.12 Legal Arrangement on Consumer Protection
Furthermore, there are sets of legal arrangement in respect of consumer protection which has got direct bearings on this topic. Several statutes have contain the direction regarding consumer protection throughout the era. For example,
(i) the Bangladesh Penal Code 1860.
(ii) the Poison Act 1919,
(iii) the Dangerous Drug Act 1930,
(iv) the Trade Mark Act 1940,
(v) Sale of Goods Act 1930
(vi) the Special Powers Act 1974,
(vii) the Standards of Weights and Measures Ordinance 1982,
(viii) the Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institute Ordinance 1985,
(ix) the Narcotics (Control) Act 1990,
(x) the Safe Blood Transfusion Act 2002, etc. Present needs;
(xi) Animal Slaughter (Restriction) and Meat Control (amend.) Ordinance 1983
The above mentioned laws are enacted for meet up the various purpose in different times, the Bangladesh Penal Code1860, merely a substantive law, is of purpose to fixing definition of offence and punishment thereof. Sections 264-267, 272-276, 478-483 just describe the act which constitute the infringement of individuals consume related rights and punishments thereof.
The Poison Act,1919 discuss about the illegal amalgamation of poisonous chemical with the fruits,beverage,or any kinds of foods or material which is drinkable or edible seriously or somehow injurious to public heath.
The Dangerous Drug Act 1930, mainly focus on the drugs consumption by sick persons. The purpose of Drugs consumption is totally different from the others edible thing. Where the others food are taken for fulfilling the stomach or in demand of appetite, then drugs are taken in case of emergency sickness only. Most of the people including high educated and illiterate are not known enough about the authentication of drugs. This statute has been enacted for prevention of manufacturing the frugal drugs.
The Trade Mark Act 1940, not directly discuss about the consumer rights but the provisions contained are very much read with consumer benefit. Generally, trade mark indicates about the good will of a company. People can easily get desired product by indicating trade mark in this way trade mark protect consumer benefit or rights.
The Special Powers Act 1974, specifically not discuss on consumer rights but slightly give emphasis on prevention of adulteration of food. the Standards of Weights and Measures Ordinance 1982,deliberate about the accurate weight and measurement. It is also a big deprivation for consumers to get improper measurement.
The Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institute Ordinance 1985, actually empowered government to have a authority for the testing of standardization of a product(BSTI).The office of Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institute is situated at Karowan Bazr,Dhaka the main function of this institution are; to cheek the quality of product and certify the institution to carry out the business.
Under the existing legal regime, the aggrieved consumers themselves cannot go to the court to sue against the violators. It is only the designated government officials empowered under these laws, who can initiate and sue against the violators. The provisions of penalty or punishment under the current laws are so negligible that nobody cares to abide by such laws; and finally, the laws are not effectively enforced.
4.13 The Consumer Rights Protection Act, 2009:
- Liability of seller to third party
The third party, who again buy or use the products with the consent of the former buyer, along with the seller or the service provider will be liable to the purchaser. Since the definition of consumer covers such person, it means that the seller is liable to a third party.
- Establishment of the Council (parishad)
Under the Consumer Rights Protection Act, 2009, there are Councils at two levels:
- National level (National Consumer Rights Protection Council)
- District level (District Consumer Rights Protection Committee) The National Consumer Rights Protection Council may, for purpose of preservation and protection of consumer rights, make appropriate regulations, undertake research, create awareness, and advise the government on policy relating to consumer protection, as well as monitor the activities of the Directorate of Consumer Protection. On the other hand, the District Committees are to implement the rules and regulations adopted by the National Council.
- Establishment of Directorate on Consumer Rights
Under the Consumer Rights Protection Act, 2009, a Directorate of consumer rights is established in Dhaka. In fact, the principal responsibility to implement this Act rests on this Directorate. The Directorate is headed by a Director General (DG) and to assist him, there will be such staffs as may be necessary. A person may submit complaint of any activity violating consumer rights to the DG or any person authorized by him. To make a complaint to Magistrate or to file a criminal case requires the permission of the DG or of person authorized by him on this behalf. The DG holds power to investigate, to search or to issue summons and warrant. Besides this, he may also issue directives to close any shop or business enterprise engaged in activities that violate consumer rights.
- Filing of Complaint
Under the CRPA 2009, no person can file a complaint directly at the Magistrate’s court. A person can file a complaint based on the anti-consumer activities to the Director General of the National Consumer Rights Protection Directorate or any other person authorized by him within 30 days of the complained cause of action. Then, within 90 days of the complaint received, the charge has to be filed to the Magistrate court with the approval of the DG.
- Concurrent Remedy
Apart from filing a criminal case with the Magistrate court, civil remedy can be sought at the civil courts. The civil court is endowed with the jurisdiction to grant proper compensation which would not go beyond the fivefold amount of the actual damage.
- Act not in derogation of any other law
The provisions of the CRPA shall be in addition to and not in derogation of the provisions of any other law for the time being in force. It would be operative as an additional apparatus with the other laws having consumer implications. This law does not supersede other laws, rather it is said to be applied as a complementary law on the same point. If an anti-consumer activity falls within the ambit of some other rigorous law (for example: Special Powers Act 1974), the complainant would have the option to resort to that law.
- Mobile Court
The mobile court has jurisdiction to try offences relating to activities that violate consumer rights. An executive Magistrate runs the mobile court. Besides, the DG has also the same power as an Executive Magistrate to run the mobile court. He has jurisdiction all over Bangladesh. A Magistrate may at once recognize an offence under this Act, if committed in front of him and punish him, on the basis of his confession, with an imprisonment for a period of maximum two years. However, if the offence is serious in nature; he will take steps to file a criminal case in the criminal court.
Consumer Protection Law in the Bangladesh should be the national special law which specifically protects the interests and safety of end-user using the products or services provided by business operators. Everybody may use or buy any goods peacefully. Our Government should take an action for the consumer rights. In a word, consumer means a individual who buys service from market for solely his personal use or family use. Consumer rights indicate the duty and responsibility of both manufacturing company and government authority to provide the standard and healthy service to the public.
 Dr. Nasrin Lubna, Consumer Rights in Bangladesh: Legal Status and Protection modalities (Institution Of Bangladesh Studies ,343,071,Luc)
 Md Sahidur Rahman,AabdallaH Al Faruque & Shameema Ferdausy , Consumer Protection Movement In Bangladesh;
 Mizanur Rahman consumer protection law & Swedish approach (Dhaka; Prudential Publications 2000) P.1
 Avtar Singh, Law of Consumers Protection Principle & Practice 3rd (Lucknow, Eastan Book Company)
 Section 06: The Merchandise Act 1889
 A.B.M mofijul Islam Patwari , Protection of Consumers In Bangladesh :Law and Practice
 Import & Export Act 1950
 The Daily Star (Dhaka) Oct 31, 2004
 Articles 18-25 of Bangladsh Constitution
 Article 15 ,18 of Bangladesh Constitution
 [ sections 264-267, 272-276, 478-483]
 Section 5(a), 5(b), 5(c)
 Zahirul Haque ; The Bangladesh Penal Code ,1860 4th ed. (Dhaka ;2001)
 Caveat emptor…section 16, Sale of Goods Act 1930
 Shamikshon (Dhaka) a weekly Magazine in Bengali, 7th april 1992
 Mohiuddin Farooque and S. Rizwana Hasan, Laws Regulatory Environment In Bangladesh. (Dhaka,Dec 1996) P.108
 Consumer Rights Protection Act 2009
 Daily Ittefaq (Dhaka) 12 july 2005
 ‘’Heart and Kidney disease result of adulterated food” Prof, A.B.H. Faroque, Chairman of Pharmaceutical Technology Department ,Dhaka University, 2005 in daily star publication ,25 july 2004
CHAPTER FIVE: PRACTICAL APPROACH TO PROTECT CONSUMER RIGHTS IN BANGLADESH
The Bangladeshi laws provides for the establishments of different organizations to protect the rights of the consumers including various Courts or Tribunals such as-
- Consumer Rights Protection Department;
- National Consumer Rights Protection Council;
- Special Tribunal;
(iv) Mobile Court (can work/ function under various Laws; It may be constituted by a special executive order);
- Drug Court;
- Food Special Court;
- Ordinary Criminal Courts;
- Ordinary Civil Courts;
- Marine Courts;
5.2 Consumer Association of Bangladesh (CAB)
Consumers Association of Bangladesh (CAB), is a nongovernment, non-political and non-profit voluntary organization. It was established in February 1978. The association plays a vital role in promoting and protecting consumer rights in Bangladesh. Its main goal is to protect the rights and interests of consumers as well as to educate them on about their rights and responsibilities in order to be a wise consumer. CAB provides legal assistance and advice to consumers whose rights have been violated. In essence, CAB is working towards ensuring consumers and businessmen will have a safe, fair and competitive marketplace.
5.3 The Aims and Objectives of CAB:
- To generate awareness amongst the consumers on their internationally recognized rights and responsibilities as consumers.
- Encourage and help develop consumer associations and consumer activist groups at the district and rural levels.
- Provide mediation and legal support to aggrieved consumers.
- Undertake research and studies on consumer issues, challenges and problems.
- Developing understanding and partnerships with different groups, associations, institutions, NGOs and government departments and services in furtherance to the welfare of the general consumers in the country.
- To develop and foster contacts and liaison with the national and international organizations having similar objectives.
- Testing products and services regularly to ensure market place is safe and consumer friendly.
5.4 How CAB Helps Consumers
- CAB has its own complaint cell. An aggrieved consumer, whose right has been violated, may submit a complaint via post, email or in person. After receiving the complaint, CAB investigates the matter and provides redress in the form of settlement through negotiation and mediations between the parties. Legal assistance is sometimes provided to the aggrieved consumers.
- CAB monitors prices of essential goods in the market on regular basis and publishes the price list through media for convenience and knowledge of the consumers.
The rights consumer is now recognized all over the world. The protection of these rights is gained reasonableness. if the authority abide by the suggestion given here, the scenario of protection of consumers rights will be changed rapidly in Bangladesh.
 Consumer Association of Bangladesh (CAB)
 CAB ..CV..Vol,24,Issue 2 (July-Agust 2005) P.2
 Skimmed milk sold as cow milk ..Mthura Dass vs State (1975,2f.A.C.198) P-2000
 New Age (Dhaka) 9 June 2004
CHAPTER SIX: GENERAL CONCLUSION
In this part we are going to discuss the outcome of study. After the vigilant observation we find some drawbacks and loophole in the field of consumer protection law. Subsequently, we provide some recommendation so that the concern authority can get guideline to manage the issue in future.
The Consumer Rights Protection Department; National Consumer Rights Protection Council; Special Tribunal;
Mobile Court; Drug Court; Food Special Court; Ordinary Criminal Courts; Ordinary Civil Courts; Marine Courts; BSTI; Claims Tribunal etc. along with different private organizations are working in the consumer rights protection movement. Unfortunately it is true that only Mobile Court (run by executive) among the above mention intuitions is invoice to protect the consumer rights. Besides these BSTI just carrying out its office duty to protect consumer rights in little extent.
6.2 Findings of the Study
The major finding of the study is known more and more about the consumer rights in Bangladesh and which consumer’s rights are violated in Bangladesh. That is verifying important for me as a law student. I also learn about the definitions of consumer rights and other important which is related with this topic. I also fined the various laws of the consumer’s rights in Bangladesh and it has many drawbacks. That is lack of enforcement and the laws are not sufficient for protect the consumer’s rights. The lack of education and lack of Security for consumer is the main problem and also the outcome for consumer’s rights. We also find this topic about the various concept of consumer’s rights and sources of law, & elements. I also recommended some significant steps for the problem of my research topic.
Thus, we may conclude that consumer protection is a wide field, covering a diverse range of laws and policies. It includes such topics as the regulation of market-place relations (contract terms, advertising, selling, buying), the establishment of health and safety standards for products sold to consumers, and regulation of the provision of certain services (credit, professions, public services etc.). In short, consumer protection law is designed to protect citizens/consumers against injuries though to occur in unregulated markets.
The suggestion of my legal research focus on increase the consumer’s rights, how to protect the consumer’s rights,& and what should be proper legal approach in perspective of Bangladesh. That’s discussed in the research now here stated the key point there as follows. This enumeration of the types of action needed to promote consumers interests provides an accurate direction of the fields in which consumer law should come to vividly play, foremost among which are:
- The government body as a vital catalyst of social maintenance has to be come forward by formulate effective policies on which consumers can really protect.
- The law which would be formulated in future on consumer rights must be in the lights of present needs and demands of society.
- Protection against risks of physical injury to persons or property and against useless products.
- Protection against improper marketing measures and inadequate information.
- Protection against one-sided contract terms and risks of economic damage,
- Provision of effective and impulsive dispute resolution procedures for the consumer.
- Monitoring of the mechanism whereby prices and rates are fixed on the consumer goods and services market,
- Surveillance of practices or agreements jeopardizing the competitive structure of a market sector,
- Planning of a consumer education programmed.
- Making awareness within people through different program arranged by the NG0,s
- Establishing a legal framework for the achievement and maintenance of a consumer market that is fair, accessible, efficient, sustainable and responsible for the benefit of consumers generally;
- Reducing and ameliorating any disadvantages experienced in accessing any supply of goods or services by specified categories of consumers;
- Provide for improved standards of customer information, harmonization of consumer laws, and the establishment of the National Consumer Commission
Subsequently it draw positive attention in the developing countries as well. Almost all the countries now have consumer protection laws. The rights of consumers got international recognition when in 1985 the UN adopted the basic guidelines for consumer rights protection. The guidelines declare that ‘all citizens, regardless of their incomes or social standing, have basic rights as consumers.
In conclusion, we are in opinion that, the consumers of Bangladesh are mostly honest & simple and they critically need a broad of consumer protection legislation. So, the government of Bangladesh is required to enact a widespread Consumer Protection Act as quickly as possible and advance strictly ensures the efficient execution of such legislation. The execution of consumer related law is urgently required than the others field of law because the consumer related incidents are happening, even in a every second We should always remember that an efficient consumer protection legislation for people not only protects and elevate the immunities and happiness of its consumers, but it also enhance definite socio-economic scrutiny of its macro economy, such as scarcity alleviation, adequate, transparent and fair market policy, good governance and beyond all, socio-economic impartiality for its citizens. Many declare as, our current law is out of dated, not capable to take care of the consumers, defective and doesn’t meet the current necessities. Therefore, enactment of new legal structure is a must. Yet, one may query, how far the endorsement of new law will in some real sense explain the current consumer shake? If the already obtainable law is not completely imposed then how come we can look forward that the new law will protect our customers and their privileges properly improved than today. Modernized consumer rights protection law and proper execution of such law only the way to uphold the dignity and safety of Bangladeshi consumers.