BD Post Report
Due to increasing awareness among the consumers in recent times, the number of complaints with the Directorate of National Consumer Rights Protection (DNCRP) against consumer rights violations has marked a sharp rise.
According to directorate officials, the data available with DNCRP denote that complaints in written rose by 46 per cent in 2017-18 fiscal year (FY).
Consumers launched a total of 9,019 complaints against businesses like restaurants, retail chain shops, as well as e-commerce and telecom service providers in the last FY. In FY17, the number was 6,140, said the official sources.
Official data revealed that the directorate has so far received 3,157 complaints against various business entities till the last week of October of current fiscal (FY19).
“This doesn’t necessarily mean that consumer rights situation in the country has worsened. Rather the awareness level among the consumers has increased,” said Md Shafiqul Islam Laskar, director general of DNCRP.
Mr Shafiqul Islam claimed it usually means that consumers now depend more on DNCRP to seek protection of their rights.
According to the data available, consumers previously had had little or no scope to file any complaints before the directorate saw the light.
Since 2014, people have been filing complaints with the agency after the Consumer Rights Protection Act 2009 was passed.
According to the directorate officials, the government agency was known to very few people, and those who knew were initially indifferent to lodge complaints over ‘uncertainty’ about the results.
The directorate then held numerous programmes to create awareness among the people about consumer rights, they said.
Syed Moshiur Rahman, a student of East West University in the capital, said he first came to know about DNCRP in 2016 through social media platform Facebook.
He said he launched a complaint against a certain restaurant in the capital’s Madhya Badda where he had to pay more for a unit of bottle water than that of the maximum retail price written in the label.
He also said many of his friends have also launched complaints against different business entities and have got their cases settled.
Many other consumers, like Moshiur, said they know about DNCRP and are now more aware than ever against any customer harassment by the service providers.
According to DNCRP, a customer, if cheated by business by any means, can avail of the service providing required evidence.
Once a case is positively settled, the complainant gets one fourth of the amount fined against an entity.
Some 1,934 complainants received Tk 3.97 million in compensation in FY ’18, up from Tk 1.55 million in the corresponding period of last fiscal.
According to the data, the number of DNCRP drives against the breach of consumer rights has also risen sharply.
The DNCRP fined 13,652 businesses in FY ’18, against 10,729 in the previous fiscal year.
The accumulated amount of penalty fixed during the drives almost doubled in the last fiscal to Tk 141.47 million from Tk 68.7 million in the preceding FY.
The most common complaints include overpricing, sale of adulterated or expired goods, information gap between adverts and real products, and poor delivery of goods.
However, the growing number of complaints was hailed by the consumer rights activists.
They welcomed the rate of response from the general consumers and urged to make more publicity regarding DNCRP so that every citizen becomes aware of it and of their rights while receiving services on money.