Consumers who are considered kings of the market are being exploited by the
producers or companies for their benefit. The producers or companies take undue
advantage of consumers by cheating or giving them false information about
products and services which can cause a consumer to suffer a severe loss. If the
consumer is the market's king, why and how are they exploited? This question
will be addressed further.
Before moving further, it is important to understand who consumers are. Not all
those who buy or avail themselves of goods and services can be considered as
consumers but those who consume are consumers.
Consumers under the Consumer Protection Act of 2019
According to Section 2(7) of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019, "CONSUMER" means
any person who:
buys any goods for a consideration which has been paid or promised or partly
paid and partly promised, or under any system of deferred payment and includes
any user of such goods other than the person who buys such goods for
consideration paid or promised or partly paid or partly promised or under any
system of deferred payment when such use is made with the approval of such
person but does not include a person who obtains such goods for resale or for
any commercial purpose; or
hires or avails of any services for a consideration which has been paid or
promised or partly paid and partly promised or under any system of deferred
payment and includes any beneficiary of such services other than the person who
hires the services for consideration paid or promised, or partly paid and partly
promised, or under any system of deferred payment, when such services are
availed of with the approval of the first-mentioned person.
Thus, if any person either:
Consumer V. Customers
- buys any goods for consideration, or
- hires or avails of any services for a consideration is a consumer.
The consumer is the user of the goods it is commonly misconstrued with the term
customer, a person who buys the goods/services and pays the price for it.
Consumer and customer are two words often used interchangeably because most of
the time, the customer will be the consumer. Consumers are not always the people
who buy a product. For a better description, parents frequently buy toys for
The parent is the customer in this case, and the child is the
consumer. Another example is if a dog owner buys dog food or a dog toy, the
person is the customer, and the dog is the consumer. The customer is the person
who buys the product, and the consumer is the person who uses it for personal
satisfaction. So, it can be concluded that not all customers who buy goods and
services are consumers, sometimes they can be different people while sometimes
Consumer a king
The consumer is king; this phrase reflects the importance of consumers in every
business. A "king" does not want to be commanded. It is who commands. The same
goes for the consumers; the marketers cannot command the consumers to buy their
goods and services. It was Mahatma Gandhi who once said, 'A consumer is the most
important visitor to our premises. He is not dependent on us; we are on him.
is not an interruption to our work; he is the purpose of it. We are not doing a
favor to a consumer by giving him an opportunity. He is doing us a favor by
allowing us to serve him.' The consumer behaves like a king or queen in choosing
out of those goods with his given money income. It means that the consumer
decides to buy a product based on their beliefs of the quality, features,
usefulness, and price of the product.
Based on consumer behavior, the marketing
and production people design the product with the necessary features. But the
consumer is the king of the market just to say. The real or true thing is the
companies are incredibly good at influencing consumers. The products that exist
in the market or the product they manufacture are not required by the customer,
but the companies sell those products through attractive advertisements, and
they influence the customers which make the consumer.
Truly the king of the
market is the marketer as they sell the products and even after knowing the
consumer that the marketer is cheating they ignore the fact that they are being
cheated some are indifferent to going to consumer courts and consumer forums as
in India there are political, social and many problems which can make a problem
to the consumer if the consumer complaints against the company. The consumer is
the king of the market, nevertheless, he is exploited.
Nowadays the market has become consumer oriented. Consumers have become
increasingly significant. With the increase in production, many manufacturers
have started using unfair means to sell their products. They victimize consumers
in a certain way. We see many incidences where consumers are offered goods of
poor quality, are charged more for a good or service, or the goods or services
are not delivered to consumers, or businesses are making tall claims to the
consumer about a product or service.
All of these cases are nothing more than
businesses trying to exploit consumers in order to sell their goods or services
and thus increase their profits. Consumers are rational human beings, but
deception is something that they cannot control.
Consumer exploitation refers to
situations where businesses or individuals take advantage of consumers in unfair
or unethical ways, often for their financial gain. This can encompass a wide
range of practices that may harm consumers, violate their rights, or deceive
them. Consumers should spend a certain amount of money to get the best value,
which involves good quality, quantity, costs, and product details.
On the other
hand, many market behemoths take advantage of consumers through various forms of
deceptive claims about their capabilities. The promise that a certain frying oil
is cholesterol-free or that a certain product will cure baldness in days are two
common instances. Some manufacturers develop low-quality products and do not
fulfill the warranties that come with them if something goes wrong.
exploitation happens more commonly in rural areas, where consumers are less
aware of their rights. In India, the exploitation of consumers has assumed
serious proportions. The ever-increasing population and the widespread demand
for goods and services, combined with a lack of matching supply, have resulted
in a near seller's market. Consumers have very little bargaining power and thus
cannot enforce their rights. Consumers invariably are very vulnerable to
exploitation, more so with the prevalence of mass poverty and illiteracy in a
India too is not an exception to it. Instances like black
marketing, adulteration, and overcharging are very rampant, and talking about
them seems to be platitudinous. Why is a consumer cheated? Why is he exploited?
The above questions are worrisome. Consumer exploitation exists due to various
economic, social, and psychological factors that can lead businesses or
individuals to take advantage of consumers.
Some key reasons include:
- Information asymmetry: In many transactions, sellers own more information than buyers leading to an unequal balance of power. This can result in consumers making uninformed decisions, allowing sellers to manipulate prices, quality, or terms.
- Profit maximization: Some businesses prioritize profits above ethical considerations, driving them to cut corners, use subpar materials, or engage in deceptive advertising to save costs and maximize their gains.
- Psychological manipulation: Businesses often use psychological tactics such as marketing, advertising, and production presentation, to manipulate consumer beliefs, needs, and desires, encouraging them to make purchases they might not need or want.
- Cultural and social influences: Societal pressures and cultural norms can contribute to consumer exploitation. For example, the desire to keep up with trends or support a certain image may lead consumers to overspend on products or services they cannot afford.
- Digital exploitation: In the digital age, personal data is a valuable commodity. Companies may exploit consumer data without their knowledge or consent leading to privacy concerns and potential manipulation.
- Complex pricing and contracts: Businesses can exploit consumers through complex pricing strategies, hidden fees, and convoluted terms and conditions that make it difficult for consumers to fully understand the cost or implications of the purchase.
- Lack of alternatives: In some cases, consumers may not have many alternative options, allowing businesses to exploit their limited choices by charging higher prices or supplying lower-quality products or services.
- Duplicate items: Many merchants pass off their wares as branded goods. They alter the quality and material and add the names and logos of various brands. In business, this involves misinformation and unethical behavior.
- Adulteration: It is one of the most heinous examples of consumer exploitation. It results in monetary loss and harms a person's health. Unwanted ingredients are combined into meals, causing damage to the person and the growth of various diseases.
- Inadequate after-sales service: A vendor handles supplying after-sales service to their customers. Manufacturing and selling are not the only activities that must be accomplished; if a consumer experiences a problem with a product after using it, the problem must be heard and settled.
Adulteration, inferior quality, variations in the contents of the pack, use of
deceptive or fractional weights, misleading and dishonest advertisements, and
unfair monopolistic and restrictive trade practices are the methods and means by
which the consumer is taken advantage of to the maximum extent possible. We are
all consumers. It is important to understand the causes of exploitation in an
effort to stop being exploited.
It is only after knowing the reasons by which we
can find out the ways to save ourselves from exploitation. Efforts to combat
consumer exploitation involve stronger consumer protection laws, regulatory
oversight, transparency in business practices, public awareness campaigns,
consumer advocacy groups, improved financial literacy, and ethical business
Negative Impact on the Marketers after Consumer Exploitation
Exploiting consumers will also negatively affect the marketers or the companies.
- Fines and Penalties:
When a consumer complains about any exploitation that the
brand has done to them and they submit proof, the consumer forum imposes a fine
on the company. Generally, these fines are heavy, and they are even asked to
write letters of public apology.
- Legal action against the owner:
The penalty that a business can receive is not
limited to fines and penalties, but it can also lead to imprisonment or the
shutdown of a business. It depends on the intensity of the crime being
- Goodwill is directly affected:
When a company is doing something to exploit its
consumers, the consumers and the community end up losing faith in the company.
The company has had no goodwill or a good name, and it has received a lot of
- Consumers boycott the brand altogether:
If one branch of the umbrella brand does
something wrong that the company holds. Consumers are boycotting the brand and
all of its goods.
- Long-term survival is in shambles:
Companies can exploit consumers once and make
more profit and sales, but the bitter experience that they create will lead to
the consumer never going back to the brand and spreading negative word of mouth
about the company. Because of a zero or weak consumer base, the company will not
be able to survive in the market.
Consumer happiness is the most important role of any organization. There is no
point in having a business if you don't have it. All marketing and business
actions are carried out solely to benefit consumers. If consumers are
dissatisfied with the company's goods and services, it will be unable to
progress and grow. As a result, in order to prevent consumer exploitation,
end-user rights and opinions must be respected.
There are times when the competitive market scenario leads to companies engaging
in what we call "malpractices", or practices that help the business at the
consumer's cost. These could be misleading advertisements - for example, the
brand's promotion calling it a sugar-free snack when it's not sugar-free � or
even manufacturing a product that has life-threatening ingredients - for
example, excessive amounts of lead were detected in Nestle's Maggi noodles, an
international noodles and seasoning brand. Consumers must've been aware of their
rights in need to shield themselves from said misconduct. This would allow them
to protect themselves from any misconduct in the role of the producer or seller.
Consumer awareness is the act of taking appropriate action against marketplace
exploitation by getting to know enough about the goods and services one uses up
and exercising one's consumer rights. The process of customer awareness requires
government intervention as a matter of public welfare. This essential
requirement successfully educates a consumer about their rights and
responsibilities for the sole purpose of protecting them from possible
The emphasis is on making information and redressal
options available. It is critical to be open and honest with consumers because
they are the measurement tool of a marketing campaign's success or failure.
Increasing consumer awareness will help prevent consumers from falling prey to
unscrupulous acts like shady marketing schemes.
The following are a few points
that emphasize the essence of consumer awareness. consumer awareness:
- Allows a consumer to gain maximum satisfaction at the lowest cost possible.
- Protects consumers in a marketplace from different kinds of exploitation committed by producers and sellers.
- Protects a consumer from consuming massive quantities of harmful products.
- Encourages a consumer to save rather than spend a bit.
- It helps consumers to solve problems regarding their purchases as they grow more aware of redressal mechanisms.
- Consumer awareness is essential as it can help the buyer make the right decision and the right choice. It also implies that the consumers have the right to information, and the right to choose.
According to the Government of India, the following pointers encourage consumer awareness and safeguard their rights in India:
It's important to note that while consumers play a vital role in the market, the
metaphor of "kings" also implies a certain level of responsibility which is
- Right to Safety
- Right to be Informed
- Right to Choose
- Right to be Heard
- Right to Seek Redressal
- Right to Consumer Education
- Obligation to be conscious: Before purchasing goods or services, a consumer must take into account the product's safety and quality.
- Responsibility to think independently: Consumers should be concerned about what they want and need and make their own decisions.
- Responsibility to speak out: Buyers must not be hesitant to voice their displeasure and tell sellers exactly what they want. But it shouldn't be out of spite, and they should use their free speech conscientiously.
- Responsibility to complain: The consumer's responsibility is to voice and file complaints about goods or services truthfully and fairly.
- Responsibility to be an ethical consumer: They should be honest and not indulge in dishonest behavior.
- Responsibility to ask for cash memo: To return the product or file a complaint, you need an invoice. It proves that the consumer purchased and paid for the good or service. A seller is usually responsible for providing a cash memo at the time of purchase, but if he does not, you can ask one and secure your purchases.
- Responsibility to carefully read and follow the instructions: Every product comes with manuals, instructions, and a how-to-use guide. A consumer must read such instructions carefully before using the product or service. Often consumer negligence and irresponsible behavior lead to injury, and product breakage.
To conclude, Consumers are rational human beings, but deception is something
that they cannot control. These days, it looks like everyone is out to make a
fast buck. The consumer is often the one who must shoulder the burden until they
realize what's happening and take measures to protect themselves. This can be
done by providing them with complete information about the good or service that
is being sold as well as consumer rights and responsibilities.
This paper is an enumeration of the consumers who are being exploited by
marketers for maximizing profits. It is the time that exploiting their consumers
is not a point of differentiation that they can create for the brand's survival.
Exploiting consumers will also have negative impacts on the marketers or the
Good consumer relationships can only ensure long-term business and long-term
survival for the company. Consumer exploitation will only create a negative
experience for consumers while negatively impacting the country's economic