Consumer protection movements have evolved and grown worldwide in the past few decades. This global drive to protect and uphold consumer interests is amply reflected in the guidelines adopted by the (UN General Assembly in 1985 (Resolution 39/248) for the protection of consumer rights. These guidelines, which call for eight core consumer rights have since then been accepted in principle by governments the world over.
Below is a summary of Consumer International’s (CI) philosophy of Consumer Rights:
- The Consumer Right to Safety
The right to be protected against products, production processes and services which are hazardous to health and life. It includes concern for consumer’s ling-term as well as their immediate requirements.
- The Consumer Right to Information
The right to be given the facts needed to make an informed choice or decision. Consumer must be provided with adequate information enabling them to act wisely and responsibly. They must also be protected from misleading or inaccurate publicity material, whether included in advertising, labeling, packaging or by other means.
- The Consumer Right to Choice
The right to choose products and services at competitive prices and, in the case of monopolies, to have an assurance of satisfactory quality and service at a fair price.
- The Consumer Right to Representation
The right to advocate consumers’ interests with a view to their receiving full and sympathetic consideration in the formulation and execution of economic and other policies. It includes the right of representation in governmental and other policy-making bodies as well as in the development of products and services before they are produced or set up.
- The Consumer Right to Redress
The right to a fair settlement of just claims. It includes the right to receive compensation for misrepresentation of shoddy goods or unsatisfactory services and the availability of acceptable forms of legal aid or redress for small claims where necessary.
- The Consumer Right to Education
The right to acquire the knowledge and skills to be an informed consumer throughout life. The right to consumer education incorporates the right to the knowledge and skills needed for taking action to influence factors, which affect consumer decisions.
- The Consumer Right to Satisfaction of Basic Needs
The right to basic goods and services, which guarantee survival. It includes adequate food, clothing, shelter, health care, education and sanitation.
- The Consumer Right to a Clean Environment
The right to a physical environment that will enhance the quality of life includes protection against environmental dangers over which the individual has no control It acknowledge the need to protect and improve the environment for present and future generations.