Woman selecting product in supermarket aisle. Concept: consumer rights.
Jordan Schneir
By: jordan_shneir
Read in 12 minutes

What Are Consumer Rights?

Understanding and respecting consumer rights is crucial for any business and business owner.

Ultimately, these rights serve to protect customers from being taken advantage of and ensure that consumers have a high-quality, safe, and fair experience when dealing with any given business.

Knowing and abiding by these rights is a great way to acquire new customers and encourage customers to return to your business in the future.

So, what are these consumer rights? What steps can you take to accommodate them?

Let’s take a closer look at what the basic consumer rights are, how you can abide by them, and what happens if you don’t follow them.

Know the Consumer Rights – What Are the 8 Basic Rights of Consumers?

Like I mentioned before, consumer rights exist to protect customers from being taken advantage of or otherwise harmed by businesses. They ensure that the consumer experience is fair, equal, and safe for everyone involved.

As such, it’s important for any business owner to understand what these rights are. Let’s take a look at the eight basic consumer rights that you should be aware of.

1. The Right to Safety 

Every consumer has the right to safety. This means they should be protected from any hazardous materials, dangerous equipment, faulty products, production processes, or anything else that could cause any harm.

As a business owner, you should be sure to keep all hazardous tools, equipment, and materials away from your customers. Additionally, if you sell products that can cause harm if not used correctly, you should be sure to effectively explain how to use your products safely.

In order to ensure the safety of your premises and products, you may need to invest in your business. If you think this is the case and at this time you don’t have the funds you need, a business loan from Camino Financial can be the solution. Many of our borrowers use our loans to make improvements in their facilities or offices. It can make a real difference in the quality and safety you provide to your customers.

2. The Right to Information 

This right dictates that every customer deserves to be informed about any product or service that your business offers.

This includes information regarding the quality, instructions, purity, safety, manufacture date, or any other information the consumer deems pertinent.

To abide by this right, be sure to avoid providing misleading information, advertisements, or packaging. This helps customers make informed decisions when buying a product or service.

3. The Right to Satisfaction of Basic Necessities

Next is the right for consumers to have access to all of the basic necessities they need for survival. This, of course, includes things like food, water, shelter, energy, clothing, sanitation, education, and healthcare.

Also, any goods sold must be the standard of quality guaranteed by the business or seller.

4. The Right to Redress 

The right to redress addresses the consumer’s right to voice their complaints regarding a product a service.

Businesses must be willing to listen to the consumer’s complaint and provide any compensation for damaged goods, misleading information, or any otherwise unfair practices.

This right helps ensure that consumers are able to access high-quality goods and services without having to worry about being taken advantage of.

5. The Right to Choose 

Next, consumers also have the right to choose where they take their business and what products they purchase.

As such, customers should have access to a wide variety of high-quality products and services. This not only helps ensure that customers are satisfied but also helps create a more balanced and healthy marketplace.

The government works to protect this important consumer right by placing time limits on patents and regulations against exploitative business practices.

6. The Right to a Healthy Environment

Consumers also have the right to live in a safe and healthy environment.

This means that businesses are obligated to develop business policies and practices that are environmentally-friendly and avoid creating a hazardous environment in their communities.

This helps ensure that consumers everywhere are able to live in a pollution-free environment that allows them to live healthy lives and leave a healthy environment for future generations.

7. The Right to Consumer Education

One of the most basic consumer rights is that consumers should know their rights. By understanding their own rights, consumers can make more informed decisions, enjoy a better experience at any given business, and can hold businesses that don’t abide by these rights accountable.

As a business owner, you can satisfy this right by making an effort to inform your customers of their consumer rights and ensuring that your business satisfies all of these basic rights.

8. The Right to Consumer Representation

Last, but certainly not least, is the right to consumer representation — meaning, consumers deserve to have their needs and interests recognized.

Businesses can improve consumer representation by taking customer complaints, needs, and feedback into consideration when shaping your business practices and policies.

On top of this, this right dictates that consumers have the right to be heard and acknowledged in court if any business violates any of their consumer rights.

These eight basic consumer rights are incredibly important and serve to protect consumers from being taken advantage of in the marketplace.

By taking the time to understand these rights and follow them, you can ensure that your customers are satisfied and can create a more balanced economy for everyone.

Improving the Customer Satisfaction Department in your business can be a reasonable first step to implement your customer’s right. You may want to hire new staff for this department or train them properly, but this may come at a cost. Find out instantly the cost of the business loan that could help you develop or improve those areas in your business that make a difference for your customers.

What Happens If You Don’t Follow Consumer Rights?

Of course, it’s also important to understand what happens if you don’t follow these basic consumer rights.

Some common questions include:

What happens if the goods you provide don’t meet the customer’s standards? 

If customers aren’t satisfied with your products, they can submit a complaint to your company and demand a full refund.

Remember, customers have a 30-day right to reject goods that they purchased from the moment that they purchase the goods.

After 30 days, consumers aren’t legally entitled to a full refund but may request a partial refund, replacement, or repair of the product if applicable. After this point, you may not be legally required to do anything (unless the consumer is able to prove that the product was faulty at the time of purchase).

However, even if you aren’t required to offer compensation, you should consider working the customer to find a solution in order to maintain high customer satisfaction.

What if the service you provided doesn’t meet satisfactory requirements?

When buying services, customers have the right to services that are performed with reasonable care and skill and can be completed at a reasonable price and within a fair time period.

If your service doesn’t meet these criteria, consumers can request that you redo the part of the service that wasn’t up to par or redo the entire service free of charge.

Alternatively, if it’s impossible to redo the service or perform this service within a reasonable timeframe, customers can claim a price reduction. In this case, you have to complete the refund within 14 days of agreeing to it.

What happens if your customer changes their mind about the goods or services you provided?

What if the customer simply doesn’t want the goods or services anymore? Depending on whether or not we’re talking about a good or a service, the answer differs.

For goods, consumers that change their mind don’t have an automatic right to a refund. It’s up to you whether or not to offer a refund. If the customer can provide proof of purchase and the product is still sellable, you might consider offering a refund as a gesture of goodwill.

For services, customers have 14 days to cancel services that were scheduled over the phone, online, or by mail (with the exception of transportation of goods, accommodation, catering, or vehicle rental services).

If the customer arranged the service in person and already signed the service contract, they are not entitled to cancellation and a full refund.

What happens if the goods are late or never even arrive?

If your customers purchase goods from you to be delivered, it is your responsibility to ensure that they are actually delivered.

If the delivery is late, the consumer can request redelivery of the goods or even a refund in some cases. This applies if the goods weren’t delivered by an agreed date or within a reasonable timeframe.

Alternatively, if the goods aren’t delivered within 30 days, on the agreed-upon date, or after requesting redelivery, customers can ask for a full refund.

Final Thoughts

Consumer rights exist to ensure customers can enjoy a safe, fair, and healthy marketplace without being taken advantage of by businesses.

No matter what type of business you run, it’s incredibly important to know, understand, and follow these basic consumer rights not only for legal reasons but also to improve your customer satisfaction and your business’ reputation.

Interested in learning more helpful small business tips?

At Camino Financial, we offer a number of free tools and resources to help small business owners succeed. We also provide you with the financing you need to address those areas of your company that may need upgrades or improvements.

You can find out instantly if you prequalify for a business loan by completing this simple form. It’s fast, free and it won’t impact your credit score.

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