Your Rights, Your Money
Fifty years ago, a handful of people set out to change the way consumers were treated.
In 1962, President John F Kennedy was the first world leader to address the subject of consumer rights in 1962. Speaking to congress, he said the following:
“Consumers, by definition, include us all. They are the largest economic group in the economy, affecting and affected by almost every public and private economic decision. Two-thirds of all spending in the economy is by consumers. But they are the only important group in the economy who are not effectively organized, whose views are often not heard.”
President Kennedy went on to outline four consumer rights:
1) The right to safety—to be protected against products, production processes and services that are hazardous to health or life
2) The right to be informed—to be given the facts needed to make an informed choice, and to be protected against dishonest or misleading advertising and labeling
3) The right to choose—to be able to select from a large range of services and products offered at competitive prices, with an assurance of satisfactory quality
4) The right to be heard—to have consumer interests represented in the making and execution of government policy and in the development of products
Consumers International (CI), a global voice for consumers, added the following rights:
1) The right to satisfaction of basic needs
2) The right to redress
3) The right to consumer education
4) The right to a sustainable environment
A final right, added by The Consumer Association of Canada, is especially relevant to appraising. This is the right to participate in marketplace decision making. As a consumer, you hold the power regarding what products and services you want and at what price. Therefore, the value of an item reflects consumer behavior at a given time. It is consumers who dictate the value of an item, not appraisers.