The Consumer Rights Protection Court in Charsadda district, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, witnessed a surge in complaints in 2023 compared to the previous year. However, judicial authorities maintain that most consumer grievances were effectively addressed despite the uptick in cases.

World Consumer Rights Day, observed annually on March 15th, focuses on advocating for consumer protection globally. In 2024, the United Nations has designated the theme to emphasize consumer rights and non-discrimination.

To foster consumer rights awareness, the Consumer Protection Court staff organized a walk, urging the public to safeguard their rights against potential abuses by government entities or wholesalers.

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Sundas Hameed, an inspector at the consumer rights protection department, stressed the importance of a legal and ethical contract between businesses and consumers. She emphasized the obligation of companies and shopkeepers to provide accurate information regarding goods and services, including pricing, quality, and other essential details.

Hameed also highlighted the necessity of displaying price lists and issuing receipts upon buyers’ requests, while condemning false advertising and misrepresentation.

Warning against malpractice, Hameed stated that any deceptive practices, such as selling goods above official price lists or misleading advertising, would face severe legal consequences, including imprisonment and fines.

In 2023, the Consumer/Customer Rights Protection Court resolved 1176 out of 1197 cases and complaints, compared to 1150 cases in 2022 due to fewer complaints. The rise in case registrations indicates a growing public awareness of consumer rights, aligning with the department’s goal of safeguarding consumer interests.

Hameed noted the appointment of a District and Sessions Judge by the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government to preside over the Consumer Protection Court in Charsadda District, ensuring judgments based on factual evidence.

Despite zero female participation in pending cases, the department encourages women who have experienced injustice in service provision or product purchases to seek redressal.

Niaz Bahadur Afridi, Assistant Director of the Consumer Protection Department, clarified that victims do not require legal representation, as the department provides a lawyer. However, the accused party must hire their legal counsel.

Afridi outlined the complaint submission process, encouraging consumers to provide necessary details on plain paper before engaging in conciliation efforts. If disputes remain unresolved, the case proceeds to court.