Legal Aspects of Social Responsibility: Business, Government, and the Consumer
One in every five purchases of products and services by the consumer results in dissatisfaction with something other than price and roughly one in every three complaints is not satisfactorily resolved, according to a survey conducted a few years ago.1 No wonder the issue of consumer complaints against business is in the headlines so much today.
As far back as people can remember there have been outcries about how the consumer has been improperly taken into consideration and has been mistreated. In 1914 the Federal Trade Commission Act was passed to protect consumers when a specific and substantial public interest was involved in an unethical practice. This did not, however, solve many of the problems that bothered people. As a result, their voices became louder and more clearly heard in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s and continue on into today. It was not until the 1960s and 1970s, however, that much new legislation was passed to protect the consumer. This entire movement, labeled by many as consumerism, has been simply defined by Kotler: "Consumerism is a social movement seeking to augment the rights and powers of buyers in relation to sellers."2
There are a number of factors that have contributed to this rise in consumerism, including increasing income and education, product technological complexity, size of businesses, inflation, pollution, shoddy and dishonest products, consumer interest groups, consumer awareness, mass media exposure,