2 Consumer Bill of Rights/Responsibilities Right to…SafetyBe InformedChooseBe HeardRedressConsumer EducationA Healthy EnvironmentResponsibilities to…Use Products SafelyUse InformationChoose CarefullyExpress Satisfaction/DissatisfactionSeek RedressBe an Educated ConsumerContribute to a Healthy Environment
3 Rights… Right to Choose…. Redress- seek and receive a remedy Competition- a contest among sellers to win customersHelps keep prices reasonableMonopoly- one company has an unfair advantage over competitors (Ex. Gas, Electric)Redress- seek and receive a remedy
4 Government Protection Federal Trade Commission (FTC)Most important federal consumer protectionProtecting from unfair or deceptive practicesEx. You saw a TV that looked about 35” and it was a flat screen…when you received it, it was only about 20” and not a flat screen…you could file a complaint with the FTC.FTC can issue a “cease-and-desist order”…The company would have to stop using the advertisement.
5 Government Protection Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)Protect from dangerous productsWas the 1st with power over all consumer productsSets safety standardsBan those it considers dangerous
6 Government Protection Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)Enforce laws that protect our environmentMakes sure businesses dispose of hazardous waste produced during manufacturingSets standards for air and water qualityBusiness may have to up their prices due to the cost of adding special equipment
7 State and Local Protection Protect consumers in local situationsSome state standards are stricter than federal.Enforce health and sanitation standardsExample…may limit the amount of watering done in yards if there hasn’t been a lot of rain or no burning until certain times.
8 WarrantiesWarranty: company’s promise that the product will meet specific standards over a given time periodMagnuson-Moss Warranty Act: it specifies how a warranty must be written (if there is a warranty)Express Warranties:Full Warranty: very specific, written guaranteeLimited Warranty: written warranty with specified limitations that doesn’t meet the standards of a full warranty
9 Warranties continued… Implied Warranty: unwritten guarantee that the product is of sufficient quality to do what it is supposed to doService Contracts (extended warranties): separately purchased agreement
10 Resolve Consumer Problems Why do consumers complain?Tell me some reasons…Fraud: dishonest business practicesResolve the ProblemFacts need to be straightDocumentation (receipt & warranty)Write down the facts on a sheet of paperNames of people you talk to, dates of attempted repairs, copies of letters you write, any fees
11 Resolving Complaints Ask to speak with the manager Return to the Place of Purchase (Store Clerk)Make sure to bring receipts, etc.Keep calm, avoid yellingAsk to speak with the managerRestate your caseGive important informationContact Company HeadquartersSend a complaint letter
12 Resolving Complaints Consumer Agency Assistance Legal Action National & local organizationsBetter Business Bureau (BBB)Government agenciesFDA, CPSCLegal ActionSmall Claims CourtDeals with legal disputes that involve amounts below a certain limit (varies from state to state)Judge has final decisionClass Action SuitLegal action on behalf of all the people who have suffered the same injustice
13 Other Options Lawyers can be VERY expensive…. You may seek help from… Legal Aid Society- network of community law offices that provide free or low-cost legal assistanceLegal Clinic is another option if the others don’t work out.