Academic journal article International Journal of Management and Marketing Research

Consumers' Awareness on Their Eight Basic Rights: A Comparative Study of Filipinos in the Philippines and Guam

Academic journal article International Journal of Management and Marketing Research

Consumers' Awareness on Their Eight Basic Rights: A Comparative Study of Filipinos in the Philippines and Guam

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT

This study considers Filipino consumers living in two different places and the degree to which they are aware of the eight basic consumer rights and whether there are significant differences in their level of awareness. The eight consumer rights are: Right to basic needs, Right to safety, Right to information, Right to choose, Right to representation, Right to redress, Right to consumer education, and Right to healthy environment. Findings show moderate overall degree of awareness of both Filipinos living in their own country and those living in Guam. No significant difference was observed as to their overall awareness on the eight basic rights. However, significant differences were manifested in three rights: basic needs, information and choice. Filipinos living in Guam have low awareness on their right to choose and right to information while Filipinos in the country showed moderate awareness on all other rights except for right to safety.

JEL: Dll, M31

KEYWORDS: Consumer Awareness, Consumerism, Consumer Rights

INTRODUCTION

Consumers, by definition, include us all; they are the largest economic group, affecting and affected by almost every public and private economic decision. Yet theirs is the only important group whose views are often not heard (Kennedy, 1962). Consumption refers to anything a person needs for survival. It starts from a person's birth until they end up in grave. People buy and consume a variety of goods and services everyday. Hence, consumers are the largest economic group and central point of all marketing activities (Gupta and Panchal, 2009).

Self-effort on the part of consumers for safeguarding themselves is known as "consumerism" (Cravens and Hills, 1970). Consumerism is an outcome of sufferings and exploitation of the consumers by market forces. Technological innovations have brought about a revolution in every sector creating a variety of products. It is a challenge to the consumer to purchase the products when s/he enters into the market. It is therefore necessary for the consumers to be aware of their legitimate rights during and after purchases (Bhatt, 1995). Consumer rights gained importance in the world at the advent of the 20th century. The rights of consumers got international recognition when in 1985 the UN promulgated the basic guidelines regarding consumer rights protection. The UN guidelines said that "a// citizens, regardless of their incomes or social standing, have basic rights as consumers" (Subedi, 2007). The consumer movement now marks March 15 every year as a day of raising global awareness about consumer rights.

In developing countries like the Philippines, where rights are sometimes ignored and taken for granted, it is hard to speculate how many Filipinos are aware of their rights as consumers. While concern for the welfare and protection of consumers is rising locally, data on public perception about their basic consumer rights are limited. The psychology of the typical Filipino consumer has been the result of many factors in their cultural environment. The behavior of Filipino consumers changes in a degree commensurate to social revolution. The tastes, motives, habits and values of present day Filipino consumer are actually the products of acquired post-Spanish (1565) and American cultures (Del Rosario, 1961). The needs and roles of the Filipino consumers are deeply rooted in their value patterns. This behavior is aimed at social acceptance, economic security, and social mobility (Roces, 1961).

In response to the ASEAN initiatives for consumer protection, the Philippines passed into law on April 13, 1992 Republic Act 7394, also known as "The Consumer Act of the Philippines" geared towards controlling fraudulent trade practices to protect the interest of the consumers, promote their general welfare, and establish standards of conduct for business and industry. The National Consumer Affairs Council (NCAC) was created by R. …

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