Every year on March 15th, World Consumer Rights Day raises global awareness about the rights and needs of consumers. It’s also a day to demand that the rights of consumers are respected and protected.
If you purchase goods and services for personal use, you are a consumer. There is a good chance that as a consumer, you have probably had a bad experience. Maybe you bought a new product that broke within months of buying it. Or, maybe you hired someone to do a service but they failed to meet your needs.
Most companies try to avoid negative consumer experiences, as it reflects poorly on their business. They know they will also lose customers as a result. In most countries, there are laws that help to protect the rights of consumers. These companies must abide by these laws.
Examples of consumer rights include the right to:
- have access to basic goods and services necessary for survival
- protect themselves from hazardous products or services
- information about products and services
- choose from a variety of quality products and services
- voice a complaint about a product or service
- consumer education and representation
Many countries have variations of these rights. But most every developed country agrees that all consumers have a right to safety, information, choice, and the right to be heard.
History of World Consumer Rights Day
Consumers International was founded in 1960 with the goal to fight for a fair, safe, and sustainable future for consumers in a global market dominated by international corporations. Citing President John F. Kennedy’s groundbreaking address to Congress, they take his definition of consumer rights as their definition. It is also agreed that the President’s remarks set the ball in motion to make these rights something more than just words on paper, but rights that would come to be something enforceable.
World Consumer Rights Day originated in 1983 to mobilize citizen action. Citizen action groups have been a large part of bringing change into the marketplace. They have lobbied for safer products and protections from harmful practices and products. Over time, the consumer movement has worked to write what is now regarded as the 8 basic consumer rights. These rights include ideas such as the right to safety, the right to satisfaction of basic needs, the right to redress, and the right to be informed.
Consumers International has over 200 members and spans 100 countries. They take their mission of being a voice and champion for consumers in policy-making forums and in the global marketplace. They work outside of any political parties and maintains their independence so that they can make sure that consumers are treated properly.