Consumer organization

Consumer organizations are advocacy groups that seek to protect people from corporate abuse like unsafe products, predatory lending, false advertising, astroturfing and pollution.

Consumer organizations may operate via protests, litigation, campaigning, or lobbying. They may engage in single-issue advocacy (e.g., the British Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), which campaigned against keg beer and for cask ale)[1] or they may set themselves up as more general consumer watchdogs, such as the Consumers' Association in the UK.

One common means of providing consumers useful information is the independent comparative survey or test of products or services, involving different manufacturers or companies (e.g., Which?, Consumer Reports, etcetera).

Another arena where consumer organizations have operated is food safety. The needs for campaigning in this area are less easy to reconcile with their traditional methods, since the scientific, dietary or medical evidence is normally more complex than in other arenas, such as the electric safety of white goods. The current standards on mandatory labelling, in developed countries, have in part been shaped by past lobbying by consumer groups.

The aim of consumer organizations may be to establish and to attempt to enforce consumer rights. Effective work has also been done, however, simply by using the threat of bad publicity to keep companies' focus on the consumers' point of view.[2]

Consumer organizations may attempt to serve consumer interests by relatively direct actions such as creating and/or disseminating market information, and prohibiting specific acts or practices, or by promoting competitive forces in the markets which directly or indirectly affect consumers (such as transport, electricity, communications, etc.).[2]

History

Two precursor organizations to the modern consumer organization are standards organizations and consumers leagues.[3] Both of these appeared in the United States around 1900.[3]

Trade associations and professional societies began to establish standards organizations to reduce industry waste and increase productivity.[3] Consumers leagues modeled themselves after trade unions in their attempts to improve the marketplace with boycotts in the same way that trade unions sought to improve working conditions with strike action.[3]

Consumer organizations by country

International organizations

  • Consumers International - International NGO
  • ANEC (Europe; focus on standardization)
  • BEUC (Europe; French: Bureau Européen des Unions de Consommateurs)
  • ICRT The only independent international organization for consumer research and testing

National organizations

Australia

Austria

  • Verein für Konsumenteninformation (VKI), Vienna

Belgium

  • Test-Aankoop [1] / Test-Achats [2]

Botswana

Brazil

  • IDEC - Instituto Brasileiro de Defesa do Consumidor [3]
  • Proteste [4]

Canada

China

Denmark

Fiji

France

Germany

Israel

India

  • Consumer Guidance Society of India
  • All India Consumer Protection Organization
  • The Consumers Eye India
  • United India Consumer's Association
  • Akhil Bhartiya Grahak Panchayat
  • Grahak Shakti Bengaluru-Karnataka non-profit non-political voluntary consumer organisation working for the empowerment of Consumer since the 1990s.
  • Consumer Awareness, Protection and Education Council (Cape Council) is a voluntary consumer organization based in Bangalore. This organization, chaired by D. Manmath, works for the welfare of consumers. [www.capecouncil.org Cape Council].
  • Consortium of South India Consumer Organisations (COSICO) spread out in 6 States of Southern India Viz: Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra, Telangana, Puduchery and Kerala. The idea is to share, work together and plan joint action in strengthening the consumer movement in these states.

Italy

  • AltroConsumo [5]
  • Unione nazionale consumatori[6]
  • Federconsumatori [7]
  • Movimento Consumatori[8]

Japan

Korea

  • Korea Consumer Agency (founded in 1987)[9]

The Netherlands

Consumentenbond.Logo
Logo of the Consumentenbond.

Aside from this general consumer norganisation, the Netherlands is home to many categorical consumer organisations whose working terrain is limited to a certain part of the markets. Examples of categorical organisations include:

  • The Vereniging Eigen Huis ("Own House Association", for house owners; over 650,000 members)
  • The Vereniging Consument & Geldzaken ("Consumer & Monetary Affairs Association", for financial consumers, of banking and insurance products; 32,000 members)
  • The Woonbond ("League for Living", for renters)

Pakistan

  • The Consumers Eye Pakistan (founded in 2005) [10] The Consumers Eye Pakistan (TCEP) is a non profit registered social welfare organization (NGO), for the protection of Consumer rights in Pakistan since 2005. The Consumers Eye Pakistan’s vision is a world where everyone has access to safe and sustainable goods and services, where the strength of the collective power is used for the good of consumers throughout Pakistan. TCEP’s is working to put the rights of consumers at the heart of decision-making. TCEP host seminars and events especially on occasion of World Consumer Rights Day & World Standards Day every year with the collaboration of PSQCA and other organizations related to consumer rights protection, to create consumer awareness against unregistered, Substandard and counterfeit Products and Services. The Consumers Eye Pakistan cooperates with PSQCA to promote Quality Standard Culture in Pakistan. TCEP is actively involved with PSQCA in improving quality and standards of the citizens by advocating accountability and code of conduct in government and society to promote standardization and Quality consciousness culture in Pakistan for the benefit of consumers. TCEP’s representatives have been going with the PSQCA raiding Task force team to open markets as an independent observer. TCEP represent consumers as member in different technical Committees of Standardization in PSQCA. The Consumers Eye Pakistan campaigns on the domestic and international issues that matter to consumers. TCEP seeks to hold corporations to account and demands government action to put consumer concerns first, acting as a global watchdog: campaigning against any behaviour that threatens, ignores or abuses the principles of consumer protection. The Consumers Eye Pakistan also organizes workshops, seminars and colloquiums throughout the Pakistan, bringing together people from different sections of the society, including politicians, economists, and experts from related fields, to create awareness and build opinion on nationally important issues. Carrying out studies and researches on various issues related to Consumers and consumables. TCEP publish material for consumer awareness in Pakistan. The Consumers Eye Pakistan have introduced an annual series of awards “Quality-Standard Award” in 2010 to appreciate for the highly valuable Products/Brands and services in Pakistan. This program has the official collaboration of Pakistan Standards and Quality Control Authority Ministry of Science and technology (Government of Pakistan) also have support of other organizations. Quality Standard Award is a new concept to develop a relationship of trust among consumers, producers and service providers in Pakistan. The Consumer Eye Pakistan is working to build a better Pakistan. We believe that better work with commitment and honesty can improve people's lives.”
  • Consumer Voice Pakistan (CVP) (founded in 2002) [11] Consumers Voice (Pakistan) CVP is a non-profit Voluntary Social Welfare organization NGO; Working Since 2002 to empower consumers in Pakistan, with the aim of getting Pakistani consumers a fairer deal to put the rights of consumers at the heart of decision-making. CVP’s vision is a world where everyone access to safe and sustainable goods and services, where the strength of the collective power is used for the good of consumers. CVP’s objective is to protect the interests of the consumer, making the consumer conscious of the malpractices perpetuated in the marketplace. Consumers Voice (Pakistan) CVP formed to protect and educate consumers, represent them on all forums, and make sure that consumer goods and services are given highest priority for the benefits of consumers. Consumers Voice (Pakistan) CVP campaigns on the domestic and international issues that matter to consumers in Pakistan. This means achieving real changes in government policy and corporate behaviour while raising Voice for awareness of rights and responsibilities CVP seeks to hold corporations to account and demands government action to put consumer concerns first, acting as a watchdog: campaigning against any behaviour that threatens, ignores or abuses the principles of consumer protection. This modern movement is essential to secure a fair safe and sustainable future for consumers in a marketplace increasingly dominated by international corporations. In Pakistan, the consumer is left at the sympathy of shopkeepers and manufacturers. The markets are full of substandard and forged products are widely available for general public or consumers and these foods are semi expired, low standard and hazard for healthy lives. CVP campaign to end the menace and create awareness among the people regarding the consumer rights; it includes adequate food, clothing, shelter, health care, education and safe drinking water in Pakistan. Consumer VOICE Pakistan (CVP) publishes monthly Consumer VOICE magazine in Pakistan.

Poland

  • Federacja Konsumentów [12]
  • Stowarzyszenie Konsumentów Polskich (founded in 1995) [13]

Portugal

Republic of Ireland

Romania

  • Asociatia Nationala pentru Protectia Consumatorilor si Promovarea Programelor si Strategiilor din Romania/ National Association for Consumers Protection and Promotion of Programs and Strategies from Romania

South Africa

Spain

  • Organización de Consumidores y Usuarios (OCU) [15]
  • ADICAE

Switzerland

The Swiss Alliance of Consumer Organisations is the umbrella organisation of the three Swiss consumer organisations (the Stiftung für Konsumentenschutz (SKS) of German-speaking Switzerland, the Fédération romande des consommateurs (FRC) of French-speaking Switzerland and the Associazione consumatrici e consumatori della Svizzera italiana (ACSI) of Italian-speaking Switzerland).[4]

Uganda

  • Uganda Consumer Action Network (U-CAN) [16] is a non-government, not-for profit organisation founded in 2007 and registered as a company limited by guarantee. It works towards ensuring that consumers, especially the most vulnerable (rural poor, disabled, elderly and women) get value for their money through quick, easy, accessible and affordable alternate dispute resolution mechanisms.

United Kingdom

Which.Logo
Which? is the most influential UK consumers association.

In the United Kingdom, the Enterprise Act 2002 allows consumer bodies that have been approved by the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry to be designated as "super-complainants" to the Competition and Markets Authority. These super-complainants are intended to, "strengthen the voice of consumers," who are "unlikely to have access individually to the kind of information necessary to judge whether markets are failing for them." Eight have been designated as of 2007:[5]

United States

Consumers Union wordmark
The Consumers Union was founded in 1936.

Consumer magazines

By 1969 most capitalist countries with developed marketplaces hosted consumer organizations that published consumer magazines which reported the results of product testing.[6] Internationally, the idea of consumer organizations spread from Consumers Union in the United States starting in 1956.[6] The growth of interest in product testing journalism might be explained by increased consumption of mass-marketed products in and before that period.[6] That increased international consumption itself was an effect of the aftermath of World War II.[6]

Consumer magazine circulation[7][8]
Year magazine started Magazine Country Publisher Year publisher founded 1969 sales 1975 sales
1936 Consumer Reports USA Consumers Union 1936 1,800,000 2,300,000
1953 Consumentengids Netherlands Consumentenbond 1953 256,000 470,000
1953 Forbruker Rapporten Norway Forbrukerradet (Consumers Council) 1953 169,000 235,000
1957 Which? UK Consumers Association 1956 600,000 700,000
1957 Rad och Ron Sweden Statens Institut for Konsumenfragor (Institute for Consumer Information) 1957 104,718 n.a.
1959 Test-Achats Belgium Association des Consommateurs / Verbruikersunie (AC/V) 1957 102,235 240,000
1959 Choice Australia Australian Consumers' Association 1959 67,204 120,000
1961 Rad og Resultater Denmark Statens Husholdningsrad (Home Economics Council) 1935 28,100 n.a.
1961 Que Choisir France Union Federale des Consommateurs (UFC) 1951 15,000 30,000
1961 Konsument Austria Verein fur Konsumenteninformation (VKI) 1960 25,000 n.a.
1963 Canadian Consumer Canada Consumers Association of Canada 1947 43,000 n.a.
1964 Taenk Denmark Danske Husmodres Forbrugerrad (Danish Housewives Council) 1947 48,000 n.a.
1965 Il Consumatore Italy Unione Nazionale Consumatori 1965 100,000 n.a.
1966 Test Germany Stiftung Warentest 1964 68,000 250,000
1970 50 Millions de Consummateurs France Institut National de la Consommation 1967 0 300,000
2012 Consumer Voice Pakistan Consumer Voice Pakistan 2012 0 n.a

In the 25 years after World War II, there was a correlation between the number of people in a country who were purchasing cars and the popularity of consumer magazines.[9] In some cases, an increase in other consumer purchases seemed to drive popularity of consumer magazines, but the correlation was closest for populations who made decisions about buying cars.[9] The availability of consumer magazines comforted consumers when individuals in society suddenly became overwhelmed with marketplace decisions, and the popularity of magazines seemed to grow as more marketplace decisions became available.[10]

See also

References

  1. ^ "Cromarty, CAMRA and crazy cask cancellation".
  2. ^ a b "Consumer Protection | Laws | fraud | government regulation | consumer rights". www.premiercallcentre.co.uk. Retrieved 2016-04-06.
  3. ^ a b c d Rao, Hayagreeva (1998). "Caveat emptor: The construction of nonprofit consumer watchdog organizations" (PDF). The American Journal of Sociology. 103 (4): 912–961. doi:10.1086/231293. Retrieved 12 December 2012.
  4. ^ "Alliance of Consumer Organisations: United Together for the Consumers", Federal Office of Public Health (page visited on 13 November 2016).
  5. ^ Super-Complaints - BERR Archived 2007-02-05 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ a b c d Hilton 2009, p. 25.
  7. ^ Hilton 2009, p. 26.
  8. ^ Thorelli, Hans B.; Thorelli, Sarah V. (1977). Consumer information systems and consumer policy. Cambridge, Mass.: Ballinger Pub. Co. pp. 327–60. ISBN 978-0884102717.
  9. ^ a b Hilton 2009, p. 28.
  10. ^ Hilton 2009, p. 29.

Sources

  • Hilton, Matthew (2009). Prosperity for all : consumer activism in an era of globalization. Ithaca: Cornell University Press. ISBN 9780801446443.
Choice (Australian consumer organisation)

Choice is an Australian not for profit consumer organisation, previously known as the Australasian Consumers' Association. It is a non-partisan organisation that was founded in 1959 which researches and campaigns on behalf of Australian consumers. It is similar to the Consumers Union in the United States and Which? in the United Kingdom, which are considered sister organisations.The aim of the organisation is to provide up-to-date information across a wide range of consumer issues that allows individuals to make informed consumer decisions. It also lobbies for change on behalf of consumers when required. Choice tests and rates a range of products and services, including appliances, baby products, electronics and home entertainment, computers, food and health and financial products and services. More than 170,000 people subscribe to Choice.

Choice buys all the products it tests on the open market and does not accept advertising. Its income is derived from subscriptions and from the sale of its publications and products. It does not receive ongoing funding from commercial, government or other organisations.

Consumer

A consumer is a person or organization that uses economic services or commodities.

Consumer Rights Commission of Pakistan

Consumer Rights Commission of Pakistan (CRCP) is a rights-based civil initiative registered under the Trust Act, 1882. Established in 1998, CRCP is an independent, non-profit, and non-governmental organization. It largely works through local fund-raising and engaging volunteers. It is not supported by any industry or commercial sector. It is the first national consumer organization in the country, which approaches the issue of consumer protection in comprehensive and holistic terms. Its vision and strategies have significant cross linkages with both market practices and issues of governance. CRPC is led by a highly qualified team of professionals and they have worked on the core issues of the consumers' community. The Commission plans to establish its chapters in all provinces to achieve its objectives and members of all walks of life will be included.

Consumer watchdog

A consumer watchdog is an individual or organization that supports consumer rights.

Examples include:

Consumer organization

Consumer Watchdog, an organization that advocates for taxpayer and consumer interests in the United States

Consumer Watchdog (Botswana), a private consumer rights advocacy group in Botswana

Watchdog journalism

Consumers' Association

Consumers' Association is a common name for consumer protection organizations and can refer to:

Australian Consumers Association

Fiji Consumers Association

Consumers' Association of Ireland

Which?, a United Kingdom consumer organization, officially known as Consumers' Association

Consumers' Association of Canada

The Consumers' Association of Canada, founded in 1947, is a Canadian independent, charitable, volunteer-based, consumer organization. Based nationally in Ottawa with regional branches in Montreal, Saskatoon, Winnipeg and Vancouver, the organization focuses on the social problems of food distribution and health, trade, standards, and communications and financial services.Their aim is to raise consumer awareness of marketplace issues, and to facilitate government and industrial coordination to tackle marketplace difficulties.

Isabel Atkinson served as national president from 1956 to 1960.

Consumers' Checkbook

Consumers' Checkbook/Center for the Study of Services (stylized as Consumers’ CHECKBOOK) is an independent, nonprofit consumer organization. It was founded in 1974. in order to provide survey information to consumers about vendors and service providers. There are both print and online versions in the Boston, Chicago, Delaware Valley, Puget Sound, San Francisco/Oakland/San Jose, Twin Cities, and Washington, D.C., areas.

Consumers Council of Canada

The Consumers Council of Canada is a non-profit, volunteer-based consumer organization, promoting consumer rights and responsibilities in Canada.Founded in 1994, the organization is based in Toronto.The Consumers Council of Canada was a member of the Canadian Consumer Initiative. The initiative, initiated by the Office of Consumer Affairs of Industry Canada, has involved the development common policy positions and sharing of resources by organizations serving consumers in Canada.

Data breach

A data breach is the intentional or unintentional release of secure or private/confidential information to an untrusted environment. Other terms for this phenomenon include unintentional information disclosure, data leak and also data spill. Incidents range from concerted attacks by black hats associated with organized crime, political activist or national governments to careless disposal of used computer equipment or data storage media and unhackable source.

Definition: "A data breach is a security incident in which sensitive, protected or confidential data is copied, transmitted, viewed, stolen or used by an individual unauthorized to do so."

Data breaches may involve financial information such as credit card or bank details, personal health information (PHI), Personally identifiable information (PII), trade secrets of corporations or intellectual property. Most data breaches involve overexposed and vulnerable unstructured data – files, documents, and sensitive information.According to the nonprofit consumer organization Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, a total of 227,052,199 individual records containing sensitive personal information were involved in security breaches in the United States between January 2005 and May 2008, excluding incidents where sensitive data was apparently not actually exposed.Many jurisdictions have passed data breach notification laws, requiring a company that has been subject to a data breach to inform customers and takes other steps to remediate possible injuries.

Euroconsumers

Euroconsumers: Consumer Organization in Europe, previously known as Conseur - European Consumers, is a private independent corporation, based in Luxembourg, that works in Belgium, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Luxembourg and Brazil.

The main objectives of Euroconsumers are to promote and defend consumer interests, solve their problems and help them exercise their fundamental rights (freedom of choice, access to information, education and justice, and right to health, safety and a healthy environment).

This Organization has the following brands:

Test Achats: Consumer organization in Belgium called "Test Aankoop" or "Test Achats"

OCU: Consumer Organization in Spain called "Organizacion de Consumidores y Usuarios"

Deco Proteste: Consumer Organization in Portugal called "Deco Proteste"

Altroconsumo: Consumer Organization in Italy called "Altroconsumo"

Proteste: Consumer Organization in Brazil called "Proteste"

FlyersRights.org

FlyersRights.org is an American not-for-profit organization that supports legislation protecting the rights of airline passengers, improving visibility in the reporting of tarmac delays by commercial airlines and distance between the rows of airline seats.It is the biggest non-profit consumer organization in North America representing passengers of commercial airlines.In 2011, FlyersRights.org pushed a rule through the U.S. Department Of Transportation, which expanded on passenger protections.

Isagenix

Isagenix International LLC is a privately held multi-level marketing (MLM) company that sells dietary supplements and personal care products. The company, based in Gilbert, Arizona, was founded in 2002 by John Anderson, Jim Coover, and Kathy Coover. As of 2013 the company reported having over 200,000 active MLM distributors. In 2017, the company reported revenues of $958 million. According to Isagenix, the company employed 850 people as of 2017.Physician Harriet Hall, writing in the Skeptical Inquirer in 2011, said that many of the claims made about the products are false. The Australian consumer organization CHOICE reported that Isagenix’s claims about its "nutritional cleansing" product are scientifically unsupported; that its weight loss products are similar in content to much cheaper store-bought alternatives; and that its MLM distributors provided unauthorized medical advice.

List of consumer organizations

This is a list of consumer organizations.

National Consumers League

The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is an American consumer organization. The National Consumers League is a private, nonprofit advocacy group representing consumers on marketplace and workplace issues. The NCL provides government, businesses, and other organizations with the consumer's perspective on concerns including child labor, privacy, food safety, and medication information.

The organization was chartered in 1899 by social reformers Jane Addams and Josephine Lowell. Its first general secretary was Florence Kelley. Under Kelley's direction, the League's early focus was to oppose the harsh, unregulated working conditions many Americans were forced to endure. The founding principles of the NCL are: "That the working conditions we accept for our fellow citizens should be reflected by our purchases, and that consumers should demand safety and reliability from the goods and services they buy." The league's focus continues to be to promote a fair marketplace for workers and consumers.

Option consommateurs

Option consommateurs is a non-profit consumer organization dedicated to promoting and defending the interests of Canadian consumers.The organization was founded in 1983 and is based in Montréal. Its focus areas are energy, agri-food, financial services, privacy, and commercial practices.Through the Éconologis program, an energy efficiency program for low-income households run by the Quebec government's Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources, Option consommateurs has offered free visits to low-income households in Montréal, wherein consumers are given personalized advice to improve their energy consumption, as well as new electronic thermostats.

Product testing

Product testing, also called consumer testing or comparative testing, is a process of measuring the properties or performance of products.

The theory is that since the advent of mass production manufacturers produce branded products which they assert and advertise to be identical within some technical standard.Product testing seeks to ensure that consumers can understand what products will do for them and which products are the best value. Product testing is a strategy to increase consumer protection by checking the claims made during marketing strategies such as advertising, which by their nature are in the interest of the entity distributing the service and not necessarily in the interest of the consumer. The advent of product testing was the beginning of the modern consumer movement.

Product testing might be accomplished by a manufacturer, an independent laboratory, a government agency, etc. Often an existing formal test method is used as a basis for testing. Other times engineers develop methods of test which are suited to the specific purpose. Comparative testing subjects several replicate samples of similar products to identical test conditions.

Robert L. FitzPatrick

Robert Lawrence FitzPatrick is an author. He serves as president of Pyramid Scheme Alert, a consumer organization to confront the abuses of pyramid schemes.

Swedish Consumers' Association

The Swedish Consumers' Association (Swedish: Sveriges Konsumenter) is a consumer organization based in Sweden. It is a member of Consumers International, BEUC and ANEC.

William Shernoff

William M. Shernoff (born c.1949) is a prominent American trial lawyer based in Claremont, California/Beverly Hills, USA. He is one of the pioneers of a branch of law known as "insurance bad faith", in which he investigates the alleged bad faith and misconduct of insurance companies. This began in 1971 with his first insurance case. He then founded the firm of Shernoff Bidart Echeverria LLP, in 2004, heading a team of 10 litigation lawyers who are widely known as the "bad faith insurance lawyers". Shernoff is also the author and co-author of several books on law, including Bad Faith (1984), Payment Refused (1986), How to Make Insurance Companies Pay Your Claims and What to Do If They Don't (1990) and Fight Back & Win (1999). He has served for many years on the Board of Directors of the national insurance consumer organization, United Policyholders.

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