World Consumer Rights Day

Every year on March 15, the world commemorates World Consumer Rights Day. The day is commemorated in order to empower consumers all over the world to fight for their rights. It emphasizes the strength that consumers have in their hands and seeks to inspire them. Former US President John F. Kennedy influenced World Consumer Rights Day by sending a special letter to the US Congress on March 15, 1962, in which he formally discussed the issue of consumer rights; on 15th March 1962 he said:

Consumers by definition include us all. They are the largest economic group, affecting and affected by almost every public and private economic decision. Yet they are the only important group… whose views are often not heard.

We are consumers if we buy products and services for personal use. As consumers, we have almost certainly had a negative experience. Perhaps we purchased a new product that broke within a few months of purchase. Or maybe we recruited someone to provide a service but they fell short of our expectations. Bad customer interactions are avoided by most businesses because they reflect negatively on their brand. They are well aware that as a result, they will lose clients. In most countries, there are regulations in place to protect consumers’ interests. Anwar Fazal, a consumer rights activist working for Consumers International at the time, suggested that a ‘World Consumer Rights Day’ be observed on that date, and on March 15, 1983, consumer groups began observing that date as an occasion to promote basic consumer rights. 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

World Consumer Rights Day is an annual event that brings the international consumer movement together to celebrate and show unity. Participants commemorate the day by endorsing all consumers’ human rights, asking that those rights be upheld and secured, and protesting market violations and social injustices that jeopardize those rights. These rights are different in many countries. Most developed countries, however, agree that all customers have the right to protection, knowledge, choice, and to be heard.

Every year on March 15th, World Consumer Rights Day is commemorated in order to highlight the importance of consumer rights to both customers and companies. It is seen as a major opportunity in the EU (European Union) to promote the theme and disseminate information relevant to consumer rights as one of the Union’s basic principles, as well as raise awareness about the available opportunities for consumers to exercise their rights. Consumers International (CI), a membership association for consumer organizations around the world, holds a series of activities on this day every year. These activities, which take place in over 100 countries, promote consumer rights. It has advocated for topics such as fast food marketing and unethical drug promotion, as well as corporate social responsibility and unethical or wasteful corporate and government conduct. The consumer movement commemorated the date for the first time in 1983, and it is now observed every year to mobilize action on critical issues and campaigns. Consumers International makes no apologies for its bluntness. According to CI, the world has been mired in a “ongoing crisis in financial consumer security” since the global financial crisis. According to CI, a global federation that serves as the “only independent and credible global voice for customers,” the crisis causes a “myriad of problems for consumers around the world.” Consumers International is a federation of consumer organizations that has previously concentrated on physical goods such as comfortable car seats and dependable appliances. Furthermore, the Ministry organized a public forum to gather expert and general public opinions on long-term priorities, activities, and policies, as well as deadlines and organizations responsible for their implementation. Many initiatives and events are coordinated on this day (World Consumer Rights Day) to achieve reform and alteration in government policy in support of consumers, as well as corporate actions against consumers.