More than half of Indian consumers own defective products, says survey

  • Despite laws aimed at protecting consumers, ineffective redressal mechanisms hinder recourse

Suneera Tandon
First Published15 Mar 2024
The amended Consumer Protection Act of 2019, mandates that manufacturers, suppliers, and sellers are responsible for any defective product sold. (File Photo: Mint)
The amended Consumer Protection Act of 2019, mandates that manufacturers, suppliers, and sellers are responsible for any defective product sold. (File Photo: Mint)

More than half of Indian households possess defective products for which they have been unable to obtain a replacement or compensation from the manufacturer or seller. Another 29% own three or more high-value products, still under warranty, that are inherently defective.

These are the findings of a survey conducted by LocalCircles. The survey underscored the difficulties Indian consumers face with faulty electronics and other durable goods, citing a lack of effective redressal mechanisms as a major obstacle to securing exchanges or refunds.

The amended Consumer Protection Act of 2019, mandates that manufacturers, suppliers, and sellers are responsible for any defective product sold. The law, effective since 20 July 2020, also holds endorsers or promoters liable for advocating faulty or substandard products. Despite these provisions, consumers often find themselves without resolution unless they resort to legal action.

Another, 55% of respondents disclosed having at least one high-value product that proved inherently defective within its warranty period.

“The data shows that 10% of the respondents have 4-5 such products; 19% have 2-3 such products and 26% have one such product. The fact that 55% of respondents have had an inherently defective product for five years and they have not been able to get a replacement speaks of their helplessness to get the problem resolved,” LocalCircles said. 

LocalCircles is a community social media platform, which aims to amplify citizen and small business concerns for policy and enforcement intervention.

The survey received over 32,000 responses from households located in 311 districts of India, with 65% survey respondents men and 35% women.

An estimated 74% of those surveyed had sought recourse from manufacturers, sellers, or service providers, but yet only 21% were successful in obtaining a product replacement or refund in the past five years. Notably, 53% of households with one or more high-value defective products were unable to secure a replacement or refund within the warranty period.

An overwhelming 86% of those surveyed expressed a desire for the government, through the Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA), to establish a streamlined mechanism for reporting inherently defective and unsafe products to facilitate prompt resolution or recall by manufacturers.

LocalCircles emphasized the critical need for the CCPA to implement a mandatory standard procedure for product recalls applicable to all brands, particularly for automobiles, gadgets, and white goods. This should be coupled with heightened vigilance towards consumer complaints to swiftly identify and act upon defective products and brands. 

Recognizing the long-term brand damage caused by inherently defective products, LocalCircles stressed the importance of quick identification and corrective action for maintaining consumer trust and retention.

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