8 Basic Rights Of The Consumer
The rights of the consumers and its recognition is essential to any brand, business or society. 15 March is World Consumer Rights Day (WCRD), an annual occasion for celebration and solidarity within the international consumer movement. It marks the date in 1962 President John F Kennedy first outlined the definition of Consumer Rights. - Consumers International.
A movement called consumerism began to emerge in the 1950s, in response to the thought that customers have the right to be treated fairly and well by brands and businesses. The American Presidency Project shared John F. Kennedy’s special message to the Congress on protecting consumer rights. The Consumers Rights Act further asserts that every customer deserves a fair and honest treatment and protection by government regulated bodies.
As a Nigerian, you have consumer rights which you should be aware of and knowledgeable about. These consumer rights are fully backed by law as provided for in the Consumer Protection Council Act, under Chapter C25, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004. The act provides for the establishment of the Consumer Protection Council (CPC) and empowers it to protect these rights for every Nigerian – no matter your social background.
1. The Right to Satisfaction of Basic Needs
Every consumer has access to basic goods and services necessary for survival, such as food, water, energy, clothing, shelter, health-care, education and sanitation. Goods and services must meet the standard of quality promised such that there is value for money in the purchase.
2. The Right to Safety
The consumers have the right to expect protection from hazardous products, production processes and services or faulty goods bought in the marketplace, which if used properly to serve its purpose, is hazardous to your health or life. This seemed more realistic when the Consumer Product Safety Act established the Consumer Product Safety Commission, or CPSC, in 1972. This federal agency has the authority to set performance standards, require companies to test their products and include warning labels on them, and compel product recalls.
3. The Right to Information
Every customer has the right to be adequately informed about the product or service he is buying, based on the quality, purity, potency, manufacture date, method of use and standard. Brands are not allowed to provide misleading information through advertising, labelling and packaging so the customers can make informed products or service choices.
4. The Right to Choose
This right ensures that the customers have access and availability to a variety of quality products and services in a conducive, healthy and competitive marketplace. Government practices to promote this right include time limits on patents and regulations against unfair pricing practices.
5. The Right to Redress
A customer has the right to voice out any complaints and be heard. They also deserve compensation for misrepresentation, shoddy goods and unsatisfactory public and private services, the unfair practices of the seller, including the right to adequate legal representation. These rights ensure they have access to benefits, a change of the products or services offered, refund of money for faulty products or the free repair of them.
6. The Right to Consumer Education
Customers should be adequately educated about the basic customer rights they enjoy. The consumers should gain acquisition of the skills they require to make informed consumer in the marketplace.
7. The Right to Consumer Representation
This consumer right advocates that consumers’ interests are heard, represented and considered in the formulation and implementation of economic and other policies affecting consumers. Also, businesses and brands should recognize customer's opinions and complaints during the development and manufacture of products and services. Consumers should be heard in law courts when they seek redress for any of the above consumer rights that were violated.
8. The Right to a Healthy Environment
Businesses have the responsibility to formulate policies in the production and regulation of goods and services that are hazardous to the natural environment. The consumers have the right to live in a healthy, pollution-free environment which will enhance the quality of their lives and their generations.
These basic consumer rights can be infringed upon anytime and consumers should be ready to seek redress always. These rights are applicable to both private and public organizations and enterprises. They are not limited to one sector alone.
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