World Consumer Rights Day - 35 years for conscious consumers

2018-07-09 11:00:00   |   Author: Maklári Dorottya

On 15 March, apart from our national holiday, we can also celebrate World Consumer Rights Day. What is this day about? The need for the protection of consumer rights was expressed by American President John F. Kennedy in public for the first time on 15 March 1962. In order to commemorate his speech, World Consumer Rights Day is celebrated on this day.

The World Consumer Rights Day has been celebrated worldwide since 1983. US President John F. Kennedy announced a historic statement on 15 March 1962, which summed up four basic consumer rights (the right to security, information, choice and representation). This marked the first time any politician had put forward such principles on consumer protection. Over the years, the number of principles increased to eight (right to be heard, to redress, to consumer education and to a healthy environment), based on which the World Consumer Organization and the respective consumer protection agencies in each country have been set up.

 

It is not easy being a consumer in today's world. Our grandparents and our parents faced limited range of choice during their purchases. Their decisions were easier, since there were only one or two products on the shelves.

 

Today, buyers are confronted with such variety and range that consciousness is an inevitable criterion of well-substantiated shopping. It makes all the difference whether the same product can be purchased cheaper somewhere else, but quality and warranty terms must also be considered.

 

The vulnerable consumer of today is backed by a plethora of government-level decisions, official measures consumer organisations that ensure that the least possible interests are harmed. Nonetheless, consumers should still strive to act prepared and consciously before, during and after purchasing.

 

According to traditional consumer protection, a conscious buyer is one who does not let themselves be scammed. One who understands their consumer rights and exercises these rights. One who is aware of the price and the quality of the selected product, the related services and chooses the best offer.

 

Nevertheless, the conscious purchase has to be more meaningful than the above. It is also important to be environmentally conscious, meaning that we must also be considerate of others not just ourselves. The conscious buyer tries to make consumer choices that benefit not just themselves, but the world as well.

 

12 points of the conscious buyer are as follows: Try and see whether this can be applied to us:

 

1. Animal farming contributes more to climate change than transportation. Eat less meat and dairy products. The climate and your health will be grateful.

2. Eat more locally sourced vegetables, fruits and food. This allows us to support the local economy and also reduce the environmental load caused by transportation.

3. Drink tap water. In most places tap water is perfect, and it does not have to be packed and transported by trucks. It is also cheaper.

4. Insulate. Most of the energy is used for heating.

5. Turn off or take the air conditioner down. Take the heating down.

6. Avoid chemicals: choose organic food, fresh food, certified organic and natural cosmetics and cleaners, clothes, furniture and houses without chemical treatment.

7. Get around more on foot, by bicycle or by public transport. This way you move more and smoke less.

8. Spend your summer vacation in the country. We’ll bet there are a lot of good places you haven’t visited yet.

9. Buy durable, long-lasting, repairable items. And before making a purchase, always ask yourself: is this really necessary?
10. If it’s broken, fix it.

11. Learn how ads work. This is how you’ll be able to resist them.

12. Check up on the company your money is going to: are you supporting good or bad companies? (How employees, animals are treated by the company, are they environmentally friendly, ethical in marketing, etc.)

 

+1: You do not have to do everything at once. Change your lifestyle step by step. Start with the most attractive, the most interesting or the easiest thing, but do not be satisfied with just these. Never lose sight: consumption does not make you happy.

 

Beatrix Kiss
Financial Awareness Project