Consumer Protection: The Customer Has Rights

By Staff Reporter - 06 Aug '19 11:53AM
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  • Consumer Protection: The Customer Has Rights
  • (Photo : Pexels)

While the saying that 'the customer is always right' might be flawed, there is still some truth in the matter. Originally the saying was developed to emphasize customer satisfaction. Everyone appreciates service staff going above and beyond to help out, but they have limitations and rights too.

More importantly, in today's society, laws exist to protect consumers from unethical or careless practices undertaken by businesses. The Consumer Protection Bureau has established regulations and enforces them for every commercial transaction. 

You don't need to be a legal specialist to maintain your rights, but there might be some scenarios where you need advice and expert help. Take a look at what you can expect from your consumer rights:

Product Liability   

When it comes to buying products, the consumer has a right to expect to use the product safely and to receive proper instructions for safe use. Manufacturers and sellers have a duty of care regarding the products on the shelves. Consumers should not be put at risk through their business practices.  

Legal experts Langer & Langer advise "all household products, machines in the workplace, automobiles, medical devices, children's toys, and other products must be manufactured to be reasonably safe for a consumer or user." If you encounter defective products or improper design that results in an injury during use, you may be able to take action.

Authenticity

Many consumer rights focus on precise and correct information. Buyers have the right to know what goes into a product, as well as receiving accurate details about how and where a product is made and what it claims it can do.

Many companies advertise their products as authentic or as something that solves a particular problem for the consumer.  Others use the place of origin as a selling point. Consumer rights have been put in place to ensure that the correct country of origin is displayed, e.g., made in the USA. Companies should only advertise with factual information. 

Communication

Regulations take into account more than just the product, how companies communicate with customers also has legal requirements. There are specific areas of law focussed on electronic communication and telesales.

As consumers, we have a right not to receive unwanted communication and not be harassed. There are specific guidelines for companies to follow so that, as customers, we know exactly who we are dealing with. Companies should state who they are, not mislead, include clear subject lines for emails, and provide a way to opt-out of communications. 

Your rights as a consumer when it comes to communication are particularly important. They not only stop you from receiving nuisance calls and emails but also serve as protection against scams.  

The Final Word

While the customer may not always be right, they certainly have rights. The rules and regulations that are put in place to safeguard consumer rights should act as a deterrent to companies looking to cut corners.  They leave companies who have unethical practices vulnerable to legal and financial issues.

While being a great deterrent, it is also necessary for consumers to take action when required. Speaking to an expert when things go wrong, is the best way to ensure that companies are respecting your rights as a consumer.

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