Consumerism is defined as the education and the protection of consumers to prevent their exploitation.
Consumer exploitation includes:
-offering poor quality goods and services
-short measurements and weights
Consumerism is practised by various groups in the economy: the government, private nstitutions, and private firms.
Consumerism practiced by the government
This is done through various government agencies. These include:
1. The Consumer Affairs Commission – This institution was set up to disseminate information about consumer rights and responsibilities as well as provide consumers with an avenue for redress if they are exploited.
-The right to safety
-The right to be informed
-The right to choose
-The right to be heard
-The right to redress
-The right to consumer education
-The right to a healthy environment
-The responsibility to beware
-The responsibility to be aware
-The responsibility to think independently
-The responsibility to speak out
-The responsibility to complain
-The responsibility to be an ethical consumer
-The responsibility to respect the environment and avoid waste, littering and contributing to pollution.
2. The Fair Trading Commission – This agency was set up to administer the fair trading act. It is concerned with matters such as; Tied selling (marrying of goods), misleading advertising (untruths about goods and services presented for sale), untrue sale (an announced sale for which the price of items remain the same).and the use of market dominance to squeeze firms out of the industry (For example, large firms may drop the price of their goods so low that small firms are unable to compete with them.)
3. The Bureau of standards –The bureau carries out regular checks on business enterprises to ensure that goods and services offered for sale meet the standards stipulated by this institution.
4. The Ombudsman
The Ombudsman is a government official who protects the rights of citizens who may suffer any kind of injustice from dealing with a government agency or a government official. For example, the Ombudsman will investigate the death of a loved one due to the negligence of a public hospital.
Consumerism practiced by private Institution
-Local consumer groups
-Radio talk show hosts listens to consumers’ complaints
Consumerisms practiced by private firms
-Offering warranty/guarantees on items sold
-Labels carry information on ingredients, nutritional content and health risks that may be associated with the product.