People frequently overlook when they are charged extra for products, or provided with low quality goods or services at markets, fearing the hassle and embarrassment that comes with a confrontation, or simply because they are ignorant of their rights as consumers.
Fear no more, because now there is an effective solution.
If you are charged extra for a product, deceived by a seller or a service provider in any form - be it lower quality/ adulterated products/ prohibited products in food, food or medicine past their expiry date - you can complain to the National Consumers Rights Protection authority.
Ambarin Zaman Khan, intern at the National Credit & Commerce Back Ltd, was at a reputed restaurant. When she ordered a 500 ml bottle of water with her food, she found that she had been charge Tk5 extra for the bottle.
When Ambarin asked why she had been charged extra, she received a dismissive reply from the management. She told the Dhaka Tribune: “I felt bad and I left that restaurant with a copy of the bill and filed a complaint against them at the Directorate of National Consumers Rights Protection (DNCRP). Ten days later, I received a reply from the authorities asking me to come to a hearing.”
She went to the directorate where both parties gave statements on July 31.
The restaurant owner was fined Tk50,000 at first. “He asked me to withdraw my complaint, but I did not. Later, on his request, the matter was reconsidered and the fine was changed to Tk5,000,” she said.
Ambarin Zaman Khan, the plaintiff received Taka 1,250, which is 25% of the compensation, as stipulated by the Consumers’ Right Protection Act 2009, on July 31.
According to the Consumers’ Right Protection Act 2009, in Section 40, if any person sells or offers to sell any goods, medicine or service at a price higher than the price set under any Act or law, they shall be punished with imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year, or with fines not exceeding Tk50,000, or with both.
Director General of the Directorate of National Consumers Rights Protection, Md Shafiqul Islam Laskar told the Dhaka Tribune: “We receive around 30-40 complaints every day. People are now more aware about their consumer rights and we are willing to receive complaints from them.”
According to DNCRP, in 2015 the complaint wing received 225 complaints, in 2016 they received 1622 complaints, and in 2017 they received more than 6,000 complaints till today.
Md Shafiqul Islam Laskar said: “We receive about 1,000 complaints in a month, which is a positive sign, and the number of complaints is increasing each day as people are becoming more aware of their consumer rights and about the complaint center now.”
How to file a complaint
A complaint form has been uploaded in the website of the DNCRP. If anyone wants to complain, they will need to have a copy of the bill and other related documents, such as photographs of the actual price of the good which was purchased by the consumer.
The form is available at this link
Consumers can also make phone calls to the National Consumers Complaint Center by dialing 8801777-753668, or email them at [email protected]