Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Monday, May 26, 2003
Industry & Economy
Ombudsman for consumer durables in offing?
NEW DELHI, May 25
THE delay in redressal of consumer complaints has always been a sore issue between buyers and sellers of consumer durables and electronics.
But this may soon become a thing of past if the suggestion to appoint an ombudsman for the industry to look into such complaints is accepted.
Though there has been considerable improvement in after-sales service of products, there is still ample room for improvement in the area of consumer satisfaction.
"There is an urgent need for the industry and the trade to be more consumer-oriented. At a recent conference organised by the Consumer Electronics & TV Manufacturers' Association (CETMA) on consumers concern, it was proposed by a section of industry that an ombudsman representing industry players be created to look into consumer complaints," a CETMA official said.
"Earlier, it was a seller's market. Whatever was produced was sold, giving the consumer very little choice. For the last 10 years, it has become a buyers' market. The industry is more conscious about consumer satisfaction today as everyone knows that a business can be made or marred by the consumer," he said.
Normally, a consumer knocks at the door of a consumer court, where the matter takes quite sometime before it is resolved. There are said to be thousands of cases pending in such courts.
"To overcome such a situation, if the players come together to sort out consumer grievances, it will help in further uplifting the image of the industry," sources said.
Even as the idea is yet to find favour with a large section of industry players, especially the proposal that the decision of the ombudsman will be binding on all, Mr Rajeev Karwal, President, CETMA, told Business Line that, "We at CETMA have been advocating this but somehow the idea has not yet taken off. In fact, the four Vice-Presidents of CETMA (belonging to four regions) can form the ombudsman forum."
CETMA is seriously contemplating taking up the issue in the next executive meeting, Mr Karwal said. Most of the problem arises due to poor communication between consumer and the brand.
"This could be obviated only through a firm commitment and a bit of extra effort by the management," industry analysts said.
Commenting on the proposal, Mr Muder Chiba, Vice-President-South Operations (including Sri Lanka) for the global customised market research major, NFO MBL India, said, "Self-regulatory bodies are very good for the economy in the overall scheme of things. In an environment where the redressal mechanism available to consumers is overstretched, an ombudsman such as this, funded by the marketers, could probably speed up redressal."
"Such an intent also exhibits the willingness of the industry to take responsibility for their members and the consumer. It is a sign of maturity. Given the increased competitiveness in the consumer electronics industry, formation of an ombudsman consisting of CETMA peers would most likely result in stepped up customer service and enhance focus on quality issues," he said.
Stories in this Section
The Hindu Group: Home | About Us | Copyright | Archives | Contacts | Subscription
Group Sites: The Hindu | Business Line | The Sportstar | Frontline | The Hindu eBooks | Home |
Copyright © 2003, The
Hindu Business Line. Republication or redissemination of the contents of
this screen are expressly prohibited without the written consent of
The Hindu Business Line