EconomyFinance

How Does Inflation Affects Your Consumer Right?

When inflation rises, it can have an impact on consumers’ purchasing power and capacity to pay for products and services. They will notice that their money is not worth that much and have to sit back and watch prices increase dramatically. In the worst case, they may need to spend more on their daily necessities, which can have an impact on their own savings and debt.

Consumers may face unfair practices made by businesses, such as misleading advertising from their side. An example of misleading advertising is shown by McDonald’s, in which they advertised their hamburgers with really amazing visuals on the ads, but in reality, the food does not appear as advertised. However, this practice is very common in the fast food industry. To give an example that is related to inflation, the rice crisis in Malaysia is one example. Due to inflation, locally produced rice is disappearing from the shelves of supermarkets.

Ameer Ali Mydin, managing director of Mydin, said on this issue “The shortages are happening because people are also panicked when they see the disparity. With panic buying and hoarding, because everybody buys an extra one or two, if a few hundred thousand people buy an extra pack of rice, then a lot of tons of that go out,” he said.

The only rice that has been left on display is imported rice, instead of locally produced rice. This means the consumer has no right to choose but has to buy the pricey imported rice. Keep in mind that this does not mean consumer rights are being violated. However, the absence of locally produced rice is due to Malaysians panic buying the rice. The Malaysian government is working on the issue and has begun implementing programs to increase local production.

Hence, inflation causes consumers to reduce their purchasing power, raising prices, which affect savings and debt and also various aspects of the marketplace. Hence, consumers need to be educated to ensure that they are not taken advantage of during inflationary periods.

What are your consumer rights?

Usually, consumers know right away when their rights are being violated. For example, when consumers are not satisfied with the price or quality of the products, whether online or offline, they can complain to the Ministry of Domestic Trade, Co-operatives and Consumerism. Malaysian consumers are protected under the Consumer Protection Act 1999.

Four basic consumer rights were declared by US President John F. Kennedy in 1962. Observe and note that if these basic rights are violated, then you need to take further action. They are:

  • the right to safety
  • the right to be informed
  • the right to choose
  • the right to be heard

Other additional rights include:

  • the right to get basic needs
  • the right to get safe goods and services
  • the right to voice opinions
  • the right to receive compensation
  • the right to receive consumer education
  • the right to live in a healthy and safe environment

Where to complain?

While they have their own rights, they also need to have responsibilities to avoid potentially being harmed by the businesses. Consumers need to stay informed, always read the terms and conditions of any contract or agreement before signing it, check the product and keep receipts. One of the ways is to file a complaint. You may make a complaint through these three methods:

Through the National Consumer Complaints Centre (NCCC)

To complain through NCCC, this can be done over the phone, e-mail or an online form.

Through KPDNKK

Make a complaint through the eAduan system, toll-free number (1-800-886-800) or WhatsApp to the Aduan KPDN.

Through Tribunal for Consumer Complaints

Consumers may file claims using the methods below:

i) Through Tribunal counter throughout Malaysia, including Federal Territories of Putrajaya, Kuala Lumpur, and Labuan, or

ii) Through online forms at https://ttpm.kpdn.gov.my/portal/home

Filling out a form to file a claim is free of charge, provided by the TCCM office. However, there is a filing fee charge of RM5.00 to be paid. For more questions, go through the FAQ about the Tribunal for Consumer Claims Malaysia (TCCM). For more information on consumer protection in Malaysia, visit the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs.

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