If you have ever purchased something and needed to return it, you have exercised your consumer’s rights. These rights have not always been something that was easily defined or enforced. The organization Consumers International has been bringing awareness to these rights with World Consumer Rights Day.
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.
How to Celebrate World Consumer Rights Day
Each year, World Consumer Rights Day adopts a theme to highlight. Some themes from the past have included antibiotic resistance and healthier diets. To celebrate in your community, look for events that are trying to bring awareness to consumer rights, or areas of public policy that need to be changed. The day is about mobilizing citizen action groups across the world and if everyone joined in to help in their own communities, it would come closer to meeting their goals.
Another way to spend the day is to find out what the goals are that being addressed and see if there are ways that you can help. It may take the form of emailing, writing or calling your local elected officials. Perhaps the need to look to Washington or other capitals that are making policy will need to be addressed. Consumers International is all about making sure that the voice of the consumer is never silenced. So, raise your voice and let it be heard!
President John F. Kennedy was a pioneer in many ways. On the day in March that he addressed Congress and set out his plan to give consumers rights made an impact on the world that is still felt today. Head over to consumersinternational.org and find out more about how you can take part in World Consumer Rights Day!