Consumers may be classified into two categories. However, there may be a third category of consumers, which is decided on the basis of legal cases. In the following article, you will know the types of consumers.
Types of Consumers
- Personal Consumers
- Organizational Consumers
1. Personal Consumers
Personal consumers are those individuals who purchase goods and services for their use or household consumption. Purchasing shaving cream or lipsticks for their use, a shirt for the use of one of the members of the family, or something else for the purpose of making a gift by an individual may be examples of personal consumers. We can say that the goods are bought by an individual for final use. These consumers may be said as “end consumers” or ultimate consumers.
2. Organizational Consumers
This category includes business organizations, government agencies (local, state, and national), and institutions like schools, colleges, churches, hospitals, and religious and political organizations. All of these purchase goods and services in order to run their organizations, whether for profit or not. Manufacturing companies buy raw materials and other components to manufacture and sell their end products. Service organizations buy different equipment necessary to render the services. Government agencies buy the variety of products they need to operate the agencies and offices.
Understanding the Types of Consumers
In order to understand the various types of consumers, we should study the following decided cases regarding consumers:
1. Passengers traveling by trains
Passengers traveling by trains on payment on the stipulated fare charged for the ticket are ‘consumers,’ and the facility provided by the railway administration for transportation by rail is a service rendered for consideration.
[General Manager vs. Anand Prasad Sinha FA3/1988 decided on 28-7-1989]
2. Telephone Subscribers
The telephone department/MTNL fell within the provisions of the Consumer Protection Act 1986, and the subscribers, as consumers of telephone services, were entitled to seek relief from Forums wherever necessary. Telephone subscribers can be one of the types of consumers. [District Manager, Telephones, Patna vs. Lalit Kumar Bajla F.A. No. 18/1989 decided on 31.1.1990].
3. Persons Registered for a Gas Connection
The National Commission in Mohindra Gas Enterprises vs. Jagdish Poswal (1992) held that registering for a gas connection amounts to hiring services. Reference was made to the Manual of the Indian Oil Corporation, which states that an LPG customer gets recurring services like the loan of the Corporation’s equipment, delivery of refill cylinders, technical service for appliances or leakage of equipment, and so on. But, can a person be upheld as a consumer at the stage of registration or only when he signs subscription vouchers and makes a deposit for an LPG connection?
4. The User of Electricity is a Consumer
The National Commission in Y.N. Gupta vs. DESU (1992) considered criticism regarding the inflated electricity bills served by DESU. DESU did not improve the bills in step with the cycle generally adopted. It did not replace the faulty meter. However, it issued an invoice for 1,06,000 for 15 months. The energy connection became additionally disconnected but was restored after a grievance with the General Manager.
The Commission ruled that the bills had been casually prepared as an awful lot because the payments reflected intake inside the five digits in preference to four digits. Moreover, DESU had no energy to raise payments upon a faulty meter beyond 6 months, below the Electricity Act 1910. Hence, service was deficient, and the Commission offered a repayment of 30,000 and charges of 5,000.
5. Hospital Patients
In Consumer Unity and Trust Society vs. State of Rajasthan (1989)
The National Commission held that court cases against Government hospitals can not be entertained under the Act on the ground that someone receiving remedy in such a hospital is not a ‘consumer’ as he no longer hires the offerings of the clinic. Moreover, the treatment furnished is free from fee, and therefore, it does not quantity to “service.”
6. Winner of a Lottery
Byford Motors vs. S.S. Srivastava (1993)
In this case, Byford Motors inserted an advertisement in the newspaper mentioning that a person reserving a Premier Padmini Car would enter into a contest in a lottery conducted through them. Under it, someone who became successful in the draw would be entitled to 2 free tickets from New Delhi to New York and back. Mr. Srivastava changed into one of the folks who became a success within the draw.
He asked the dealers, M/s Byford Motors, to provide him with the value of tickets. Which was refused, and he was requested to produce two passports to enable them to e-book the tickets. The complainant produced one passport right now; however, the second after the end of the financial year. The Company refused the tickets on the floor that the bills of the economic year were closed, and they could not carry ahead the liability to the subsequent year according to Income Tax Rules.
It held that “the Complaint became no longer a customer with the meaning of Section 2(1)(d) of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986. He had acquired the car for which he had paid, and there was no criticism as to its condition.”
7. Warranty of free service
Vishwa Jyoti Printers vs. Molisis of India (1992)
An assurance of free service for one year was given at the time of the sale of a printing device. The dealer of the machine contended that on the grounds that he became a rendering free service provider for the maintenance of the equipment for 12 months underneath the warranty, the buyer was now not a ‘consumer’ under the Act. However, the Commission held that the assurance was part of the composite contract for delivery of the printing gadget and its renovation for 12 months. Hence, the buyer became a ‘consumer’ beneath the Act.
8. Buyer of Shares or Debentures in a Company
An individual can buy shares or debentures in a company for the following:
(i) Investment purpose
(ii) Commercial purpose or for resale.
If a person buys shares for investment purposes, he is a consumer. Because he is buying shares for consideration, and shares are goods as defined in Section 2(7) of the Sale of Goods Act 1930. If a person buys shares for commercial purposes or resale, he is not a consumer. He cannot seek remedy under the Consumer Protection Act 1986. However, in case of dispute, he can seek remedy under other Acts, such as the Companies Act, 2013.
9. Self-employed Person
A self-employed person is a consumer. He can seek remedy under the Consumer Protection (Amendment) Act 1993. However, prior to this amendment, goods purchased by the self-employed to earn a living were taken for commercial purposes. Self employed persons are the types of consumers.
10. A Buyer of House
A buyer of a house or flat is a consumer. Agencies like Delhi Development Authority, Haryana Urban Development Authority, Housing Boards, Government Agencies, and private agencies are rendering services to the public by providing houses. Because they are doing so far a consideration, hence allottes are consumers.
11. A Person Hiring Services of the Postal Department
A person hiring services of the postal or telegraph department is not a consumer. Because charges paid for the postal charges cannot be called “consideration” but are only fees for the facilities provided. He cannot remedy this under the Consumer Protection Act. A person hiring services of any department can be the types of consumers. However, he can seek redressal, if required, under the Indian Post Office Act.
12. Depositor of Money with a Company
A person depositing money in its recent judgment in the case of Ms. Neela Vasant Raje from Pune, has held that companies taking deposits from the public can be called up before Consumer Forums if they default in repaying deposits with interest. Such companies render a “service,” and the depositor is a consumer under the Consumer Protection Act 1986.
Consumers play an important role in the market. There can be different types of consumers in society. One is a personal consumer, and the other one is an organizational consumer. Personal consumers purchase goods and services for their personal use. The organizational consumers purchase goods for the organization.