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Empowering Indian Consumers

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Manav Bajaj is a young and dynamic social entrepreneur who wants to lift and empower the consumers of India. After devoting 12 years in the Media and Advertising Industry, he decided to deploy his experience in making the consumers aware of their rights and bringing justice to them. Two years back, in a battle with an international bag brand, the experience that Manav had, was quite frustrating, but his familiarity with media and incredible negotiation skills helped him to turn things in his favour. Despite getting success in his own case, Manav didn’t stop there, he took a vow to change the system and wagged a decisive war against the unscrupulous traders of products and services. His determination and efforts were strengthened further when he teamed-up with Rahul Sanal an IITian who shared the same passion for the cause.

In conversation with Dominic Rebello, Manav says that he wants Consumer Sathi to be a powerful tool that can be used by anyone, any time

What is the idea behind Consumer Sathi?
As the name suggests, Consumer Sathi is an online portal designed for the consumers of India. It not only helps the aggrieved, cheated consumers but also guides and educates them about their consumer rights. It is an empowering platform for Indian consumers.

Tell us about your prospects and challenges
First, I’d like to talk about the challenges we are facing. Our country has a history of being looted! Earlier the invasions looted us badly and now producers, MNCs and big brands are doing it. Consumers are cheated so easily that an acceptance has come. They no longer want to fight or raise their voice against injustice.

Very few will take that road but the pocket pinching fees of the lawyers will kill their enthusiasm. So it is a little difficult for us to make them value their money. They feel that rather than wasting further time, accepting is the best way out. But because of this negligent attitude, more cases are coming to light. Companies have started taking consumers for a ride. So we feel there is a lot of prospect for us because we are giving timely service with affordable price. We are doing all the documentation for them.

How often have you heard a consumer complaint being resolved in one call? It is mandatory for a consumer to make endless calls, run from pillar to post, fill endless documents. Even then there is hardly anybody to give a proper assistance to him/her.

Consumer Sathi is the only platform where they’re heard and issues are resolved. Our experience has clearly shown that consumer calls are not taken seriously. A consumer who is already troubled is put on hold for zillion seconds, asked to explain his sorry state so many times.

Calls made through Consumer Sathi are not just heard but companies give them preference too. 80% calls are answered and complaints are resolved too. This empowers consumers and gives them confidence.

Your vision for Consumer Sathi...
I want Consumer Sathi to be a powerful tool that can be used by anyone, any time. For years the consumers here have been facing injustice without anybody paying heed to them. They are so hopeless that they have stopped complaining. They have simply accepted the flawed system. I really want this to change. I want Consumer Sathi to be a household name.

Tell us about the importance of Consumer laws...
Without laws we would be living an animalistic life. Fortunately our country has also made uncountable laws in the favour of consumers but do you know that only 20% people know about it. A law loses all its importance if people are unaware or deliberately flouting it. We have some basic consumer rights guaranteed by our government, yet look at the mounting cases of cheating, fraud, undelivered promises. Do you know that you can complain against misleading advertisements? The ads promising to magically transform you in colour, shape and size can be challenged.  
I feel the fire needs to be ignited, else these laws will only remain written in books and consumers will be cheated like this.

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