As a consumer, I often feel guilty whenever I have to tell myself to be responsible. These are times when I get cheated while buying something or making payment for the products and the services I buy. Despite having knowledge about the products and their price, I seldom get to pay the actual price for them.
Be it travelling on a public bus or paying for the parking of my motorbike, I am charged more than the actual rate most of the times. As I ask for a student discount on the bus or microbus, the conductor makes a random deduction. While doing so, definitely, many of us are charged higher; whereas a few ‘responsible consumers’, who raise questions about having to pay more, are embarrassed by the futile arguments (full of foul words) that they must engage with the helpers.
Similar is the case with the parking lots. Although the charge for parking a two-wheeler is Rs. 5 and for a four-wheeler Rs. 10 per hour, everyone is compelled to pay double the charge. Moreover, none of the organisations or clubs that manage the parking areas provide parking tickets or assure security of the vehicle.
Travelling by taxi is another nightmare. The taxis that agree to use the meter have tampered meters, while the ones that refuse to use the meter definitely charge illegally high fares.
There is also a stationery shop where the shopkeeper returns sweets instead of the change. As returning small amounts of change is troublesome for small transactions such as photocopying and printing, he uses the profitable technique of returning cheap sweets instead of the change.
Although I am very particular about the dates of manufacture and expiry while purchasing medicines, there are times when I have had to pay higher than the maximum retail price printed on the packs. You will come across such instances especially while medicines in the pharmacies located close to the hospital premises where the rents are exorbitantly high.
There are millions of consumers who get fooled by the producers or the service providers. Although they might have been charged slightly higher than the actual prices, they are definitely being duped. In these cases, it is the duty of all the consumers to act responsibly. However, as this problem has become a national concern in recent years, there is a need for the state authorities to be vigilant and introduce strict action.