In 1962, President Kennedy addressed Congress and spoke of the need for a new consumer movement. The result was the creation of the Consumer Bill of Rights that included four basic points:
The Right to Safety
Consumers have the right to protection against products that have caused physical harm (excluding automobiles). This right to safety would be further fomalized in 1972 by the creation of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, an organization that has the authority to establish performance and safety standards, as well as require product testing and warning labels.
The Right to Information
Businesses must provide consumers with accurate information, allowing them to make informed decisions about products and services. In the years since the Consumer Bill of Rights went into effect, the assertion of this right to information has led to the creation of:
- The Fair Packaging and Labeling Act
- The Wholesome Meat Act
- The Truth in Lending Act
- The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act
- And more.
The Right to Choose
Consumers must be given free choice when it comes to choosing products and services offered by various companies. This right is typically manifested in measures such as limiting concept ownership via patent law, preventing monopolies with anti-trust legistlation, and outlawing the practices of price gouging and cutting.
The Right to Be Heard
Consumers have the right to voice their complaints and concerns against compnay practices and products. Today, state and federal attorney generals aid the people in dealing with an unsatisfactory product or service that violates the law. Additionally, the Better Business Bureau plays a similar role by providing an outlet for consumer complaints.