Enlightening consumers of their basic rights is a must
Tacloban City (October 9) -- The consumers take center stage in the month of October as the country commemorates a month-long Consumers Welfare Month celebration.
Vital to the consumers welfare is enlightening them of their eight basic rights which include the right to basic needs, right to safety, right to information, right to choose, right to representation, right to redress, right to consumer education and the right to a healthy environment.
The right to basic needs guarantee the consumers the right to survival, adequate food, clothing, shelter, health care, education and sanitation.
In acquiring these basic needs, a consumer must prioritize his needs. He must look for quality and not quantity; be quality conscious rather that brand conscious. He must also look forward to the availability of basic and prime commodities at affordable prices and of good quality.
The second right of a consumer entails the protection against the marketing of goods or the provision of services that are hazardous to health and life and that consumers should look forward that manufacturers of consumer products will undertake extensive safety and performance testing before selling their products in the market.
The right to information is the right to be protected against dishonest or misleading advertising or labelling and the right to be given the facts and information needed to make an informed choice. The consumer must look forward to a complete information about product to be purchased including its use, ingredients and chemical contents, precautions, if any, dosage and expiry date.
The right to choose is the freedom to select products at competitive prices with an assurance of satisfactory quality. The consumers must look forward to a wide array of goods and services which are offered in the market with diverse brands, sizes, shapes and colors and with differences in the price, quality and use.
The right to representation is the freedom to express consumer interests in the making and execution of government policies where consumers should look forward to legislators would propose laws that would ensure that consumers would have the chance to live a better life by getting the best value for their hard-earned peso.
The right to redress which is the sixth right of consumers is the freedom to be compensated for misrepresentation, shoddy goods or unsatisfactory services. The consumers must look forward that manufacturers or storeowners would replace defective goods pursuant to the provision of RA 7394 otherwise known as the Consumer Act of the Philippines which entails the provision on "No Return, No Exhange".
The right to consumer education is the right of the consumers to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to be an informed consumer. The consumers must be able to look forward for the business, government and consumers to embark on an information campaign through tri-media on consumer-related issues and if possible attend to seminars, conferences, fora, trainings and public hearing for the welfare of consumers.
The eight and last consumer right is the right to a healthy environment. Consumers have the right to live and work in an environment which is neither threatening nor dangerous and which permits a life of dignity and well-being. This is an environment where consumers must look forward for the government to exert iron hand in protecting the natural resources and the environment as a whole in order to prevent its damage and degradation.
All consumers must learn these rights by heart. After all, well-informed consumers, vigilant consumers are empowered consumers and empowered consumers are the best protected consumers. (PIA 8) [top]