Movement or policies aimed at regulating the products, services, methods, and standards of manufacturers, sellers, and advertisers in the interests of the buyer. Such regulation may be institutional, statutory, or embodied in a voluntary code accepted by a particular industry, or it may result more indirectly from the influence of consumer organizations. Governments often establish formal regulatory agencies to ensure consumer protection (in the U.S., e.g., the Federal Trade Commission and the Food and Drug Administration). Some of the earliest consumer-protection laws were created to prevent the sale of tainted food and harmful drugs. The U.S. consumer protection movement gained strength in the 1960s and '70s as consumer activists led by Ralph Nader lobbied for laws setting safety standards for automobiles, toys, and numerous household products. Consumer advocates have also won passage of laws obliging advertisers to represent their goods truthfully and preventing sales representatives from using deceptive sales tactics. Consumer advocacy is carried on worldwide by the International Organization of Consumers Unions (IOCU).
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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