Your Rights as a Consumer – Celebrated this Week
There’s a World Consumer Rights Day?
Yes, it’s March 15 each year and it’s designed to draw our attention to the rights of consumers. So, as you go about your week, perhaps take some time to familiarize yourself with why this day exists and what your precise protections are, depending on what part of the world you live in.
It seems pretty self-explanatory, right? Perhaps you are thinking of it from a business perspective because you provide a product or service. Many businesses do an incredible job of understanding and respecting the needs of customers and protecting their right to a fair deal.
Let’s for a minute look at the topic as the consumer. Have you ever bought something online that never arrived or didn’t match its description? Most of us have readily embraced online shopping, especially since COVID19 disrupted our ability to shop in person. I know I have. I even bought a memorial cat statue (R.I.P. Hugo Bos) on eBay, only for it to arrive looking nothing like the advertised picture. It cost me even more money to try to ship it back to the seller overseas, only to have it come back stamped “incorrect address – return to sender” and I never got a refund.
We’ve all had our horror stories, but as consumers we deserve better than this. When someone buys a product or service, they should get what they paid for and be offered effective solutions if something goes wrong. This idea is at the heart of consumer protection.
What protections are currently in place?
Thankfully, a growing number of countries are adopting laws and regulations to enforce consumer protection. As well as protecting consumer rights domestically, roughly half of the world’s nations also take part in the International Consumer Protection Enforcement Network. This network provides a forum for consumer protection agencies across the world to cooperate, which strengthens the impact of consumer laws and regulations globally.
Although consumer law can differ from country to country, the ultimate goal is to promote fair dealing and protect consumers from unethical practices. It’s about achieving a better outcome for consumers in terms of price, choice, and quality. It’s about getting the cat statue you paid for, and if not, a successful refund!
So, let’s get back to thinking about this from a business’ perspective. Marketing and advertising are essential. But sellers need to be careful about the advertising methods they use to get their message across. If you advertise in a way that is incorrect or creates a false impression, this is considered an unfair business practice. False or deceptive claims in advertising, or any representation of your product or service, can mislead the public and violate consumer protections.
Think of it like this: consumer law is the rulebook for dealing with customers, and it’s your business’ responsibility to know what these rules are. They apply whether customers buy or hire, and they cover both goods and services. (And fellow consumers please note, if a cat statue looks too good to be true, it probably is.)
If you need to learn about how your business can ensure that employees know the consumer law rulebook, please utilize these Litmos training courses: Leading Learning – Consumer Protection (Global), Antitrust (US), Financial Privacy – Fair Credit Reporting Act (US), Consumer Rights Law (UK), Treating Customers Fairly (UK), Consumer Law (AU), and Consumer Law (NZ).