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, 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)[citation needed] 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.[citation needed]

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.).[citation needed]

Contents

Consumer organizations in various countries

International Organization

  • 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 Organization

Australia

Belgium

  • Test-Aankoop[1] / Test-Achats[2]

Botswana

Brazil

Fiji

Consumer Council of Fiji

Fiji Consumers Association

France

Union Fédérale des Consommateurs (UFC Que Choisir) [4]

Germany

India

(The Consumers Eye India)

Italy

  • AltroConsumo[5]
  • Unione nazionale consumatori[6]

Japan

Korea

  • Korea Consumer Agency (founded in 1987)[7]

The Netherlands

  • De Consumentenbond (founded in 1953) [8]

Pakistan

  • The Consumers Eye Pakistan (founded in 2005) [9]

Poland

  • Federacja Konsumentów [10]

Portugal

  • DECO.ProTeste [11]

Republic of Ireland

Spain

  • Organización de Consumidores y Usuarios (OCU) [12]

United Kingdom

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 Office of Fair Trading. 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:[1]

  • CAMRA - a lobbying group concerned with the tradition and quality of beer.
  • The Citizen's Advice Bureau, a free service that provides legal advice, practical help and information on consumer rights across the country.
  • Consumer Council for Water (formerly known as Watervoice)
  • Consumer Direct
  • General Consumer Council of Northern Ireland
  • Good Garage Scheme, an automobile repair shop motoring scheme
  • National Consumer Council
  • Postwatch
  • Which? - formerly the Consumers Association - a consumer advocacy organisation which has substantial powers (for example to take representative actions under the Competition Act 1998) but which is primarily a lobbying organisation funded entirely by subscriptions to its regular consumer information magazine.

United States

See also

References

  1. ^ Super-Complaints - BERR

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