The following four rights are the basis of much of the consumer-oriented legislation that has been passed during the last thirty years. These rights also provide an effective outline of the objectives and accomplishments of the consumer movement.
– The right to safety
The consumers’ right to safety means that products they purchase must be safe for their intended use, must include thorough and explicit directions for proper use, and must be tested by the manufacturer to ensure product quality and reliability. Business firms should also be aware that consumers and the government have been winning an increasing number of product-liability lawsuits against sellers of defective products. Moreover, the amount of the awards in these suits has been steadily increasing. Yet another major reason for improving product safety is the consumer’s demand for safe products. People will simply stop buying a product they believe is unsafe or unreliable.
– The right to be informed
The right to be informed means that consumers must have access to complete information about a product before they buy it. Detailed information about ingredients and nutrition must be provided on food containers, information about fabrics and laundering methods must be attached to clothing and lenders must disclose the true cost of borrowing the money they make available to costumers who purchase merchandise on credit. In addition, manufacturers must inform consumers about the potential dangers of using their products.
– The right to choose
The right to choose means that consumers have a choice of products, offered by different manufacturers and sellers, to satisfy a particular need. The government has done its part by encouraging competition through anti trust legislation. Competition and the resulting freedom of choice provide additional benefits for costumers by reducing prices
– The right to be heard
The forth right means that someone will listen and take appropriate action when costumers complain. In fact, corporate management teams begun listening to consumer complains after the end of World War II when competition begun again to increase. Today, businesses are listening even more attentively and many larger firms have consumer relations departments that can be easily contacted via toll-free phone numbers. Actually, one of the services every consumer today expects to receive from the companies he or she selects to purchase things from is consumer support.