Consumer Awareness: Stay Informed and Safe When Making a Purchase
May 31, 2012 | 2090 views | Post a comment
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By Caress Kennedy
The need for safety is often associated with actions such as driving and swimming. But as a consumer purchasing a product or service, safety should also be top of mind. You need to make informed buying decisions to safe guard against physical harm and financial loss.
According to ConsumerReports.org, last year could have been considered the year of awful consumer product news, judging by the amount of safety recalls made by regulatory agencies.
As a consumer, there are resources available to help you make the most out of your purchasing experience to ensure that it is not only going to be enjoyable, but safe. There are laws regulated by the government on national and state levels to protect consumers against fraud and scams, unsafe products, and deceitful business practices.
Consumer awareness is defined as the understanding by an individual of their rights as a consumer concerning available products and services beingmarketed and sold. There are eight basic rights to protect you when making a purchase according to Consumers International:
* The right to be heard
* The right to choose
* The right to consumer education
* The right to a healthy environment
* The right to be informed
* The right to redress
* The right to safety
* The right to satisfaction of basic needs
It is necessary for agencies to create laws to protect consumers from crooked business and to warn shoppers of deceitful goods. However, it is important to educate yourself to make sure you are making informed and safebuying decisions. If nothing else, be smart and follow your instinct when making a purchase.
Organizations such as Consumer Reports, the Federal Trade Commission and others of the liking, deal particularly with issues that touch the economic life of every American. They can be a vital resource for product and safety information and recalls.
* Consumer Reports
* Federal Trade Commission
* Federal Reserve System
Consumer review websites can also help in the research stage of a purchase as they gather information and feedback from product users and make it available for potential purchasers. Use your own digression when reading a consumer review. Once you make a purchase, you can post feedback so that others can also become better informed.
While consumers need to be proactive and responsible, consumer agencies have made significant strides in ensuring product safety. The U.S. ConsumerProduct Safety Commission works to ensure the safety of consumer products which has contributed significantly to the 30 percent decline in the rate of deaths and injuries associated with consumer products over the past 30 years.
Consumers should make product choices based on desired functionality and intended user. Ensure that purchases for children are age appropriate and do not contain dangerous substances or small parts. Use your best judgment when buying for children as you know the child’s maturity level and can best decide if the toy is suitable or not.
Food and other products that have expiration dates are also items that should be carefully selected. You can research expiration dates from the Food and Drug Association’s website below.
If you have a concern about a product’s safety or quality, contact the manufacturer or an appropriate agency. If there is a problem or recall with the product, act on it. Discard, return, repair or discontinue the use of the product until you have been informed of the proper next steps.
* U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
* The Food and Drug Association
* National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
Use as Directed
Directions are supplied with products to inform users of proper procedures for the item and safety standards. Some products may direct users for at home use only and may not be able to meet commercial demands. When making a purchase, ensure the product will meet your needs without going beyond its intended usage.
Remember to always gather as much information as possible about a product before making a purchase. You and your family’s safety depend on it.
About the author: Caress Kennedy is a Vice President at AlliedBarton Security Services. AlliedBarton, www.alliedbarton.com, is the industry’s premier provider of highly trained security personnel to many industries including higher education, commercial real estate, healthcare, residential communities, chemical/petrochemical, government, manufacturing and distribution, financial institutions, and shopping centers.
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