Week 4 Assignment
The United States Government has consumer protection laws are put into place to protect the consumer from fraudulent or unfair business practices. Consumers also have the responsibilities and their rights. There are six specific rights that consumers are guaranteed. Consumer rights are a relatively new development and did not come to be until the 1950’s. Until the 1950’s consumers were on their own if they bought goods that were faulty or unsafe. In 1962 President John F. Kennedy made it official announced the creation of the first four consumer rights which he called the bill of consumer rights. He told Congress that those four rights that consumers should have were the right to be heard, the right to be informed, the right to safety and the right to choose. Later in 1985 the UN backed the bill of consumer rights and added four of their own to the list including the right to a healthy environment, the right to redress, the right to satisfaction of basic needs and the right to consumer education. Each of these consumer rights is in place today and every consumer should be educated as to what their rights are.
The first consumer right that was mentioned is the right to be heard. If a consumer has a complaint for a company about a product or service, the company must listen to that consumer’s complaint. A company may not necessarily rectify the situation but they must listen to the consumer and acknowledge that the complaint was made. In most cases a company will try to solve the problem that the consumer is having and try to make it right. Companies need return customers and a company that does not try to solve problems with a consumer will be putting that in jeopardy. The second consumer right is the right to be informed. A company must supply a consumer with any information they request about a good or service that they purchase. If a consumer asks a car dealership for the blue book value of the car they are buying and a vehicle history report, the dealership must supply the consumer with that information. They are not allowed to withhold information about the vehicle because they think it may affect someone purchasing their cars. Dealerships must be honest with the buyer and let them know any information that is requested.
The third consumer right is the right to safety. This right protects consumers against any flaws or danger that could come with a product or service they purchase. When a product is deemed unsafe to the public, recalls are put into place to protect consumers and get the word out that there could be or is danger associated with certain products. Drop-side cribs are an example, as well as the major recall that Toyota did when their cars had a glitch that made them accelerate by themselves. In the Toyota recall, the company fixed the problem in all of the cars that were affected by it free of charge. If a product is determined unsafe and cannot be fixed, such as the cribs, they are banned from being sold and produced. This is all to protect the safety of the consumer.
The fourth consumer right is the right to choose. Every consumer has the right to be able to choose between different varieties and options when it comes to products and services. This is in place to prevent monopolies, promote healthy competition between companies and allow consumers to make the decisions on what they need that are best for them. An example of this is smart phones. When the IPhone originally came out, it was the only phone of its kind but it was expensive. Not long after its release other companies started coming out with their own versions of the Smartphone, such as the Andriod phones. These phones do everything the IPhone does, and in many cases is much more affordable. These phones gave consumers that could not afford an IPhone the option to choose to have a Smartphone and made it accessible to a wider audience. It has also promoted competition between companies and consumers have more options now because of it.
The fifth consumer right is the right to a healthy environment. Consumers have the right to work and live in a clean environment. This is why companies must be aware of the emissions that are coming from their products and have precautions put in place that make sure the environment their employees work in is as safe as possible and healthy.
The sixth consumer right is the right to the satisfaction of basic needs. This right covers the consumers right to have their basic needs met and they have the right to necessary services such as education, healthcare and public utilities such as electricity and water. Regardless of the financial situation, a child cannot be turned away from a public school, hospital and their credit score cannot determine their eligibility for public utilities.
Consumer rights protect consumers in a number of ways and also encourage companies to always be at their best in order to promote competition and drive revenue. Many people may not realize that they have these rights. Every person should know these rights and keep them in mind if they ever feel that a company is taking advantage of them or providing them with a service or good that is unsafe or a practice is unfair.
Grantham University (n.d.). Week 4 Lecture, Six Consumer Rights. Grantham University. Retrieved October 08, 2013
References: Grantham University (n.d.). Week 4 Lecture, Six Consumer Rights. Grantham University. Retrieved October 08, 2013