In earlier years, some consumer problems were purchasing goods’ transactions- their quality, price, and weight. But now, with the advancement of science and technology, lifestyles are fast changing, and so are consumption habits. In the following article, you will know the challenges to consumers. In the first four decades of the independent era, Indian consumers face scarcity of many essential commodities, resulting in black marketing, hoarding, and adulteration.
Those days are gone. Now, there is no scarcity. The seller’s market has given place to the buyer’s market. With the onset of Liberalization, Privatization, and Globalization, the invasion of foreign goods and services into Indian markets started. Unlike their predecessors, the present generation spends considerable amounts on hiring services. As a result, the service markets are growing in size and strength. The service sector brought new challenges to the consumers. Let us now discuss various challenges to consumers.
Consistent Challenges to Consumers in New Millennium
1. Population Explosion
The first and prime of these challenges is population explosion. The Indian population has crossed the 1,000 million mark and the pressure on the population while planning to distribute limited resources. The pressure is more on the amenities provided by the government to the citizen-consumers in food, transport, education, health care, power, etc. These are the consumer problem examples.
If the population growth is allowed to continue like this, the consumers will compete with each other for the limited resources to get their essential requirements of life. It is one of the challenges to a consumer. As the present consumer protection legislation needs to address this problem, the responsibility heavily lies on consumers to contain population growth. The only penance for most consumer miseries is controlling population growth.
2. Use and Throw Products
In the present-day busy world, intelligent business people have developed products without considering the environment to suit consumer convenience. Plastic water bottles, carry bags, soft drink disposable cans, and many other products designs for one-time use.
Every time the consumers purchase these disposable products, they pay money; on one side, the limited resources are spent for making such products, and on the other, these products are disposed of carelessly after use by the consumers, causing damage to the environment. Production and utilization of such articles are on the increase. Unless consumers stop using such products, there would be an imminent danger to their physical and economic welfare. It is one of the challenges to consumers.
3. Electronic Transactions
In this age of computers, man has become an enslaved person, and the computer is the boss. Many consumer transactions route through computers. E-business, ATM, billing, demat name any marketing we find invariably the computerised operations. These machines help consumers get quick service, but many problems are associated with these transactions. For instance, if an ATM delivers a counterfeit currency note, there is no current remedy to the consumers. Even E-business transactions may only consider legally valid contracts if a particular law prepares for this purpose. These are the issues and challenges in consumer protection.
4. Collapse of Financial Institutions
The major financial institutions that were enjoying the highest CRISIL rating till last year are under Company Law Board shelter or liquidation this year. Some of the Urban Co-operative banks in Andhra Pradesh closed their shutters because of the financial crisis. Global Trust Bank’s collapse shattered consumers’ confidence in the banking sector. Every day, at least one large financial company is on the verge of closure in India. Thus, the consumers are losing crores of rupees every year.
5. Environmental Degradation
The lifestyles are changing, and along with the lifestyles, the consumption patterns are changing. Unmindful of the disastrous effects of our lifestyles, producers are simply allowing themselves to influence consumers. For example, the use of chlorofluorocarbons is damaging the Ozone layer. Besides, consumers are using plastics, polypropylene, and several other non-biodegradable materials, threatening the very existence of mother planet Earth. It is one of the challenges to consumers. Instead of public transport, the consumers prefer private vehicles, resulting in heavy automobile emissions, causing the greenhouse effect and global warming.
6. Health Care
Medical science is advancing daily with new inventions, diseases, medicines, and testing apparatus. Medical education is not accessible to the intelligent but made accessible to those who can invest money. Human organs are now available for sale, defying all ethical codes. The Hippocratic oath has no relevance in the present day. Currently, health care is virtually controllable through sizable corporate business houses. Medical treatment costs have become highly prohibitive, and lakhs of people are dying due to a lack of proper medical facilities.
7. Cell Phones
We are in the era of information technology. Communication systems significantly improved it, and because of information technology, the world has become a global village. The cellular phone, once considered a decadent man affair, has become necessary even for people of lower economic strata. More than 1 percent of the Indian population is using cell phones. It is one of the challenges to consumers. A recent study in Sweden found that cell phone radiation may damage blood cells. The findings could prove that mobile phones can cause cancer and other ailments.