Kiana bought an exercise bike so she could stay fit all year round.  A week later after she got the bike, the pedal broke off the bike.  She went back to the store and was given a replacement pedal for her recently purchased bike.  Two months later, the speedometer stopped working.  She went back to the store again, but the salesperson present told her the exercise bike only had a thirty-day warranty on it, and the store was no longer responsible for any damages the bike had accumulated after the thirty days had past.  Kiana was very upset, but she was not sure what her rights were as a consumer.  As a consumer, you have the right to information, the right to consumer protection by government agencies, and the right to complain.

The Right to Information:  As a consumer, you need information in order to make wise and appropriate choices.  You need to have enough information about the product you would like to buy in order to make an informed judgment about whether a product or service you want would be safe and effective enough for you.

Consumer Protection: There are many government agencies out there to help protect customers such as you and me.  Some agencies test the manufactured products before they can be sold to the public (the consumers).  Other agencies take action directly against quackery.  Some agencies remove products they deem to be unsafe and hazardous to the public away from the marketplace.

The Right to Complain:  If you have a problem with a product, you should complain both to the store that sold the product as well as the manufacturer who made it.  Ask for a full or partial refund.  Follow the following tips to make your complaint effective and convincing.  Use the same approach you would use if you had a problem with any service.

  • Identify the problem - Make sure to be clear and specific as possible about what is wrong
  • Decide on your goal - Decide on a fair way to resolve your complaint.  Do you want a refund, replacement, repair, or credit given back to you?
  • Collect payments - Gather sales receipts, warranties, canceled checks, contracts, or repair records to back up your complaint.
  • Identify the person in charge - Find out who has the power to deal appropriately with your problem.  It may be either a  customer service representative or a manager.