Every market runs on the basis of a balance between demand and supply. At the end of the supply is always consumers, who benefit from the goods and services or bear the brunt of the lack thereof. Though consumers have the last say, in the case of Nepal, the consumers are the least informed and this reflects on the many consumer rights issues that go unnoticed and unreported.
But have you wondered what causes these abnormalities in the market? If you have, you might know why consumer rights issues should receive more attention in Nepal than they are receiving today.
Here are some key issues to begin with.
1. Rampant market prices
Rampant pricing in the market has been a longstanding problem in many countries, particularly in developing nations like Nepal. It is a problem that has far-reaching implications, affecting not only the economy but also the livelihoods of millions of people. Rampant pricing in the market is a complex problem that requires a multifaceted approach to address and hence better attention to consumer rights issues.
2. Lack of standardisation in quality and quantity
One of the main reasons why rampant pricing persists is the lack of standardisation in quality and quantity. Many products in the market are not properly regulated, and this creates an environment where sellers can charge exorbitant prices for substandard goods. The prices of goods in this market are set by sellers with little to no oversight, and this often results in arbitrary and exorbitant pricing.
This issue is further compounded by the lack of competition in the market, a major problem for consumer rights activists, as many sellers are in a position to charge whatever they please, with no fear of losing business to competitors. This lack of standardisation also makes it difficult for consumers to compare prices and make informed purchasing decisions, which is one of their major consumer rights.
3. Poor monitoring and evaluation
Another reason why issues around consumer rights persist and deserve more attention is poor monitoring and evaluation. In many countries like Nepal, regulatory agencies responsible for monitoring prices are often understaffed, underfunded, or both. Regulatory agencies need to be adequately staffed and funded to carry out their duties effectively, but the lack thereof makes it difficult for them to do so. Without proper monitoring and evaluation, unscrupulous sellers can quickly inflate prices without the fear of being caught.
4. Lack of awareness about rights
Many consumers are also not aware of consumer rights, for example, when it comes to pricing. This lack of awareness makes it easier for sellers to take advantage of them. Consumers who are not aware of their rights are less likely to report cases of rampant pricing or seek redress when they are overcharged. But that part is heavily lacking in the Nepali market.
5. Lack of reporting and accountability
Even when consumers are aware of their rights, the lack of reporting and accountability often means that rampant pricing and other market problems go unpunished. This is because regulatory agencies may not receive enough complaints to take action against the perpetrators. In some cases, regulatory agencies may also lack the teeth to take action against the offenders.
6. Lack of implementation of the law
Finally, the implementation of consumer rights law is often weak in Nepal. Even when laws exist to protect consumers from rampant pricing and other market problems, they may not be enforced effectively. Only effective implementation can deter sellers from inflating prices unfairly. This is often due to a lack of political will or corruption in the regulatory agencies responsible for enforcing the law.