Empowering the consumers in a world of commercialization
World Consumer Rights Day is celebrated annually on 15th March by the Consumer International, an NGO that has carried the consumer rights movement from 1950s. The date marks John f. Kennedy’s Congress speech on Consumer Rights bill in 1962. World Consumer Rights Day is celebrated across the world except for a few countries, which mark their National Consumer Day on separate days.
The day is marked to celebrate the importance of consumer rights and its relevance in the ever so growing world of commercialization. Consumer rights are part of the basic rights of a human, as it protects them from the malpractices of companies selling their products. It empowers the common man to fight for his rights as a consumer, to fight against the false promises made by companies to sell their products, and most importantly consumer rights serve as a legal weapon against the injustices of corporations.
Journey of consumer rights
In the late 1950s and early 1960s, commercialization of products was at its peak in the United States. Millions of American households were lured by the attractive product commercials running around TV sets throughout the day.
Growing concern about the ill-effects of such commercialization were hampering the American citizens, thus, in 1962, the then President of the US John F. Kennedy moved the consumer rights bill in the Congress. The bill was aimed to address the problem of consumers and regulate the businesses to run in a fair manner. Consumer Rights bill was passed in the Congress with due consideration.
The original bill contained only four basic rights of consumers such as the Right to Safety, the Right to be Informed, the Right to Choose, and the Right to be Heard. The consumer movement gathered huge support from all around the world, the Consumer Rights were given importance and within a decade or two the rights gained international recognition.
On April 9, 1985, the United Nations sanctioned the guidelines for consumer protection, that were put forward by Consumer International and other consumer rights activist groups. The UN amended the bill with four new additions by adding the Right to Satisfaction of Basic Needs, the Right to Redress, the Right to Consumer Education, and the Right to Healthy Environment in addition to the existing four rights basic rights of consumers.
This significant step empowered the consumers around the world, as Consumer Rights were acknowledged by the countries participating in the UN council.
Significance of World Consume Rights Day
The World Consumer Rights Day is celebrated annually, to unite the consumers from around the world under one umbrella for consideration and reiterates that corporations should follow the rules and regulations to ensure consumers who are essential for their existence aren’t abused.
The day is celebrated across the world with much enthusiasm in some sections of the society, the day acts as a platform for the public to engage in group discussions, talk about the current situation and the way forward. World Consumer Rights Day serves as podium for consumers to proclaim their right to be respected and to be protected againstthe prevalent market abuse.
Consumer Rights in UN Charter
Consumer Rights guarantees certain legal rights to protect the consumer from the frequent abuse by corporations. The original bill of Consumer Rights contained 4 basic rights of consumer but after UN’s amendments in 1985, four new rights were added in the bill. The current bill comprises of eight basic rights of consumers, rights that are essential to control the free market hegemony.
Right to Safety
It ensures protection to consumer from injuries except from vehicle, to ensure that the products do not cause any harm to the consumer.
Right to be Informed
The right asserts that corporations should also provide the customer with appropriate information related to their products, the warning or statutory information cannot be misleading or incomplete.
Right to Choose
The consumer should have right to free choices among products and the government should ensure open competition for consumers to choose from a wide variety of options.
Right to be Heard
This rights deals with the ability of the consumer to raise his complaints or issues related to the product, and companies need to ensure that customers issues are being tackled in a fair manner.
Right to Satisfaction
This right ensures that consumers should have accessibility to basic day-to-day amenities to live a decent life.
Right to Redress
This right empowers the consumers to redress their grievances, and claim for a fair settlement in case of any financial damages caused to the consumer.
Right to Consumer Education
The Right to Consumer Education emphasizes on consumer and governments role to educate the consumer and acquire knowledge required to make proper decisions on using the product and distinguish between the choices available in the market.
Right to Healthy Environment
This right deals with the right of every citizen to live and work in a clean and safe environment and ensure that the future generations also have access to clean and safe environment.
The growing need for Consumer Rights
At the time where markets are becoming technology-oriented and the normal markets are being replaced by online markets, the consumer has to trust the retailer and website for delivering excellent services.
There are instances of public receiving stones instead of smartphones, while sometimes they indulge in illegal online activities due to misleading advertisements. Consumer Rights become essential for every consumer in today’s world, as the competition in the market has forced companies to degrade their standard of the product to reach to a greater audience.
International Consumer Day, is the event that still empowers people to put a brave fight against the injustices carried out by the corporations.