Today, November 22, 2013, the United States marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy with memorial ceremonies and moments of silence.
In 1962, President John F. Kennedy said in a message to Congress, "Consumers, by definition, include us all. If consumers are offered inferior products, if prices are exorbitant, if drugs are unsafe or worthless, if the consumer is unable to choose on an informed basis, then his dollar is wasted, his health and safety may by threatened, and the national interest suffers." Furthermore, he announced his consumer bill of rights.
Consumer Bill of Rights
The right to safety: to be protected against the marketing of products and services that are hazardous to health or to life.
The right to be informed: to be protected against fraudulent, deceitful, or grossly misleading information, advertising, labeling, or other practices, and to be given the facts needed to make informed choices.
The right to choose: to have available a variety of products and services at competitive prices.
The right to be heard: to be assured that consumer interests will receive full and sympathetic consideration in making government policy, both through the laws passed by legislatures and through regulations passed by administrative bodies.
The right to education: to have access to programs and information that help consumers make better marketplace decisions.
The right to redress: to work with established mechanisms to have problems corrected and to receive compensation for poor service or for products which do not function properly.
Since the 1960's, increasing consumer rights have been added by statute and by proclamation. You can see a list of laws in food and drug law history at the Food and Drug and Administration (FDA). The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is one of the federal agencies charged primarily with protecting consumer rights. The USA.gov provides information for filing a complaint, being a smart shopper, understanding credit, and more.
Managers need to know the laws. But, managers need to serve the customer. Would consumer protection laws be needed if businesses served the customer?