Monday, 2 December 2013

Thinking big: Which? on how Right Choice will build consumer rights in India

Helen Parker from Which? blogs on a new fund aimed at promoting consumer rights in India. 

Why should you read the fine print when shopping online? How can you best care for an elderly relative? And which ice creams failed hygiene standards when we tested them?

These, along with a bumper Diwali shopping guide, are just a few of the questions answered in the latest issue of Right Choice, the independent consumer guide that offers  Indian consumers 'Unbiased, expert advice. Always.'

Right Choice is an Indian operation, based in Mumbai, and powered by Which?, the UK's largest consumer organisation and a founder member of Consumers International.

Right Choice is almost five years old and has 30,000 subscribers. Its ambition, though, is to reach hundreds of thousands, maybe eventually millions, of Indian consumers.

We want Right Choice to offer them the type of independent, expert advice that UK consumers have been able to rely on since Which? itself was formed by a group of entrepreneurial friends in London in 1957, friends who were themselves inspired by  Consumer Reports in the US.

So why did Which? set up Right Choice? And why are we now setting up a Right Choice fund offering grants totaling $50,000 (US) to support other Indian organisations working to promote consumer rights in India?

With Right Choice, we want to see if we can use the strength and know-how that Which? has built up over the last 60 years to increase consumer power in India.

It has been a challenging journey. But we knew that was likely at the start; building any new business in today's crowded consumer marketplace is a time consuming and expensive business.

It's particularly challenging for publishing businesses built on the no-advertising model that independent consumer organisations favour as a way to build trust and ensure that they speak as they find.

Right Choice has learned many lessons over the last five years and the excellent team in Mumbai will undoubtedly learn many more before Right Choice realises its full potential.

But we found early on that there is a real appetite among India's fast-growing middle class for the type of independent, research-based advice that it offers.

As a consumer organisation, Right Choice has started where Which? did - offering information and advice.

But, as we grow, we also want to support other Indian organisations that have the ambition and determination to promote consumer rights in India in other ways, including through campaigning and advocacy.

As with Which?'s mission in the UK, Right Choice wants to make Indian consumers as powerful as the organisations they have to deal with in their daily lives. It's a big ambition. But then consumer organisations are used to thinking big.

1 comment:

  1. Good work that has been done for India. What means can a consumer group in Swaziland in the African continent use to request help for projects they are doing that want to promote consumer rights?