An analysis of consumer rights law and reality in Nepal

Published On: June 11, 2024 08:35 AM NPT By: Swekshya Karki

Swekshya Karki

Swekshya Karki

The author is a fourth-year B.A.LL.B. student at Kathmandu School of Law.

Despite the rights guaranteed under the law, the reality of the enforcement of consumer rights at ground level in Nepal is totally different.

Consumer rights are the rights granted to the consumer. According to Section 2(d) of ‘The Consumer Protection Act, 2075’, a consumer means a person or institution that consumes or uses any good or service. Every human being is a consumer, as our daily lives are tied to consuming various goods or services, be it the vegetables we buy in the markets or the dental services we render in the clinic. Consumer rights are crucial for ensuring that consumers receive quality foods and services at fair pricing.

Present laws governing consumer rights

The foundational legal framework for Consumer Rights is the Constitution of Nepal. Article 44 of the constitution mentions consumer rights as a fundamental right and guarantees the right to obtain quality goods and services, as well as the right of compensation if such rights are violated. The government of Nepal has also enacted the Consumer Protection Act, 2075, which further ensures the various rights of consumers and states the liability of the seller, distributor, and other entities involved in the chain of supply of goods and services to consumers and further enforces regulatory provisions.

Section 3 of the Consumer Protection Act 2075 outlines key consumer rights. 

a) The right to choose quality goods or services at a fair and competitive price.

b) The right to information about price, quality, purity, etc.

c) The right to obtain information from the producer, importer, or seller regarding the quality, ingredients, or percentage of substances contained in the goods made of or produced with a mixture of two or more substances, and others.

d) Consumers also have the right to take appropriate legal action and obtain compensation for harm caused by unfair trade if such rights are violated.

Additionally, Section 14 of the same act also provides consumers with the right to return goods or other similar goods equal to the price of the bought goods within seven days if they wish to return or are not satisfied with the goods purchased from the seller. And in the case of sealed goods, within fifteen days, if the seal of the product is not broken.

Article 16 further prohibits unfair trade and business activities, including fake advertisements, lying about goods or services, creating artificial shortages, refusing to issue bills, selling expired goods, etc.

The complaint mechanism is specified in Section 36, which provides that an individual can file a complaint with the Central Market Monitoring Committee, Department, or Inspection Officer along with information, proof, and evidence through written, verbal, or electronic means and also ensures the identity of the complaining person will be kept confidential.

Section 39 and section 40 outline the penalties. Section 39 mentions imposing a fine starting at Rs 5,000 and above as per the nature of the offense committed against the consumer, while the later section mentions the provision of imprisonment for three months or more as per the nature of the offenses committed. Also, according to the National Penal Code, 2074, Section 273, if a person makes or uses a false instrument for weighing and measuring, he or she is awarded up to 3 years of imprisonment and up to a thirty thousand rupee fine.


Despite the rights guaranteed under the law, the reality of the enforcement of consumer rights at ground level in Nepal is totally different. There is a heightened number of unfair practices in the market causing a stark contrast between words and reality experienced by consumers. Some of which are:

a) The consumer cannot return the product if they are not satisfied with it. Shopkeepers refuse to take back the sold items.

b) The consumer encounters false and misleading advertisements. For example, many products are sold stating about being eco-friendly and using natural ingredients, despite having a higher percentage of chemicals.

c) There is a lack of clear labeling of the product leading to consumer deception. The quality of the goods doesn’t sometimes meet the standards prescribed by the authority. For example, Chaudhary Group was fined Rs 200,000 for the poor quality of oil and an abnormal value of acid in the WaiWai noodles it produced.

d) Consumers are charged a higher price than the marked price of the product. For example, mineral water, cool drinks, and other beverages are charged more than the labeled price on the bottle. And during the festive season, the transportation fares are raised up to triple or more than the assigned fare.

e) Many sellers sell expired items which could affect the health of the consumer. For example, in February 2022, Sparsh Food Products and Packaging Company was raided by the police and found to be using expired bakery products.

f) Many foods are found contaminated with unhealthy ingredients, especially grains, rice, dairy products, etc. For example, in January 2024, the Metropolitan Crime Division arrested Naresh Shrestha of Sindhupalchok for producing and selling fake honey. The police also confiscated 600 kg of the bogus product, which he had made by mixing glucose and sugar.

The above-stated realities are a few of many incidents happening in our country, leaving even the regulatory provision of online deceptions and fraud to consumers.

Some of the factors contributing to the ineffective implementation of consumer rights are:

a) Lack of Knowledge is one of the main reasons why consumers endure such violations of consumer rights by sellers. Nepal is one of the countries where there is the least knowledge about consumer law among citizens, and sellers have been taking enormous advantage of it, especially in rural areas.

b) Complex complaint mechanisms are also another contributing factor which leads consumers to remain silent despite having knowledge of the violation of their rights, whereas some simply don’t want to engage in the hassle of the legal process. They ignore or let go of the facts and comply with the act of the seller, because of which the authorities are unable to take any measures against such a person.

c) The lackluster performance of duty by the authorities is also another major factor in consumer rights violations in Nepal.The investigating and monitoring mechanisms are less assertive in their duties, which has failed to control wrongdoers and hold them accountable for their actions

 So, for the enhancement and implementation of consumer rights from words to reality in Nepal, the consumer must be made aware of their rights, especially in the local and rural areas of Nepal. The consumer further needs to come forward in case of a violation of their rights. The authority and watchdogs should also regularly and actively inspect the market, implement surprise checks, make laws stricter to hold the sellers more accountable regarding consumer right violations.

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