When we launched Money Today three years ago, it was with the aim of tackling personal finance as an informed learner. Over the past three years, we have done just that, covering the gamut of personal finance issues from hardcore investment strategies to basic money-saving tips. Even as we discussed reasons to buy stocks or what insurance policies to avoid, we always did so from the point of view of the ordinary, small investor. As we spoke to more such investors, we realised that there was one aspect of personal finance that was all-important but little discussed — that of the rights of a consumer of financial and other products.
The small investor has always been the ‘ordinary man’, last on the priority list of companies, even those ostensibly set up to provide him with services. But isn’t fighting for consumer rights an issue for another magazine altogether? The fact is that every time you pull out your wallet, you are making a conscious value judgement — you are willing to pay the asking price of a product or service because you think it’s worth it, be it in monetary terms or in terms of the satisfaction quotient. A faulty product or a deficiency in service, then, is not just a violation of your rights as a consumer. It has wider personal finance implications. Even if you decide not to fight for compensation, you may need to repeat the purchase or, at least, pay extra to repair the product, all of which throws your budget out of the window.
The man approaching a consumer court is neither rich nor powerful. And he has little time to spend in idealistic pursuits. He usually is an average middle-class Indian who has been cheated, and who wants his money’s worth. He is the average Money Today reader. This is why it is fitting that the third anniversary issue of the magazine puts the spotlight on the phenomenon of consumer activism. Knowing the redressal mechanism available to you is one part of the story. It’s equally crucial to know exactly how to avoid getting into such a situation. Hopefully, this issue will, once again, make you richer on both scores.
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