THE PERFECT PROTECTION FOR BUYERS.
There are several ways of protecting buyers. One such way is through consumerism. Consumerism may be considered as an “organized social movement which seeks to protect the right and power of consumers as well as that of the sellers.” In many advanced economies, mass agitation movements have necessitated anti business laws in favour of consumers. In such societies, buyers have sought the right to be adequately informed about the more important aspects of a product rather than its positive sides only, the right to be protected against questionable products and marketing practices, and the right to be protected against influence in buying decision.
Although no consumerist movement yet exists in Nigeria, some aspects of consumers’ welfare have been incorporated in many policy objectives of successive administrations in this country. The Rent Edict of 1969 and the Federal and State Housing Schemes were Undertaken to provide adequate shelter for the citizens of this similarly, other legislative measures exist to curb the excesses of sellers against buyers. Sometimes, people are caught by law enforcement agents and prosecuted for fraudulent practices. These measures notwithstanding, high prices, deceptive practices, high-pressure selling techniques, shoddy and unsafe products, and poor services are the antisocial monsters the Nigerian consumers are currently facing. In view of this predicament, how far is the Nigerian buyer protected? Contrary to the protection of consumers rights and powers, sellers have conspired and contrived to overshadow buyers through lobbying and the formation of unions and cartels.
In this society, organizations engaged in deceptive practices go scot-free. Consumers are exploited. For example, when a buyer pays the seller’s high price for a car, he gets a receipt for the government fixed price. Insurance companies withhold information in the contract forms which they give to their customers. Must the Nigerian buyers sit down, fold his hands and swallow these anomalies hook, line and sinker? Commuters and urban dwellers would probably agree that many itinerant drug pedlars use high-pressure selling techniques to induce people to buy their goods. Simple herbs and analgesic tablets are said to have extraordinary their goods. Simple herbs made many people buy such drugs. In more civilized societies like the United States, this type of practice is illegal. A buyer can seek redress in a court of law once he establishes that he has been unduly influenced in his decision to pay for an article or service.
In our society, poor quality products are brazenly displayed for consumers to buy. Impurities such as dead cockroaches and leaves been discovered in bottled drinks which the manufacturers had certified fit for human consumption. Some new cars have faulty doors or do not carry the stipulated accessories. In some countries, smokers are warned that cigarette smoking is dangerous to their health, but here no such warning exists. Dead cows, goats and sheep have been sold to consumers as top quality meat. The story is the same in the transport and public utility sectors of the economy. Flights are delayed or cancelled without giving any consideration to the passengers, who may be stranded at the airport to pay extra hotel bills. Black-outs are a constant feature in our towns and cities. Yet it is the consumer of electricity who suffers.
Consumers should now form peaceful associations for the protection of their rights. The government cannot wage the war against consumer exploitation alone. The buyers should establish their supremacy in a free-market economy by ensuring that what is sold meets a certain standard and satisfies the buyer’s need.
THE PERFECT PROTECTION FOR BUYERS.