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Consumer organizations are advocacy groups that seek to protect people from corporate abuse like unsafe products, predatory lending, false advertising, astroturfing and pollution.

Consumer Organizations may operate via protests, litigation, campaigning, or lobbying. They may engage in single-issue advocacy (e.g., the British Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), which campaigned against keg beer and for cask ale)[1] or they may set themselves up as more general consumer watchdogs, such as the Consumers' Association in the UK.

One common means of providing consumers useful information is the independent comparative survey or test of products or services, involving different manufacturers or companies (e.g., Which?, Consumer Reports, etcetera).

Another arena where consumer organizations have operated is food safety. The needs for campaigning in this area are less easy to reconcile with their traditional methods, since the scientific, dietary or medical evidence is normally more complex than in other arenas, such as the electric safety of white goods. The current standards on mandatory labelling, in developed countries, have in part been shaped by past lobbying by consumer groups.

The aim of consumer organizations may be to establish and to attempt to enforce consumer rights. Effective work has also been done, however, simply by using the threat of bad publicity to keep companies' focus on the consumers' point of view.[2]

Consumer organizations may attempt to serve consumer interests by relatively direct actions such as creating and/or disseminating market information, and prohibiting specific acts or practices, or by promoting competitive forces in the markets which directly or indirectly affect consumers (such as transport, electricity, communications, etc.).[2]

History

International consumer organizations

  • Consumers International - International NGO
  • ANEC (Europe; focus on standardization)
  • BEUC (Europe; French: Bureau Européen des Unions de Consommateurs)
  • ICRT The only independent international organization for consumer research and testing

National organizations

Australia

Austria

Belgium

  • Test-Aankoop [1] / Test-Achats [2]

Botswana

  • Trade associations and professional societies began to establish standards organizations to reduce industry waste and increase productivity.[3] Consumer leagues modeled themselves after trade unions in their attempts to improve the market with boycotts in the same way that trade unions sought to improve working conditions with strike action.[3]


    Italy

    Japan

    Korea

    The Netherlands

    Logo of the Consumentenbond.

    Aside from this general consumer organisation, the Netherlands is home to many categorical consumer organisations whose working terrain is limited to a certain part of the markets. Examples of categorical organisations include:

    • The Vereniging Eigen Huis ("Own House Association", for house owners; over 650,000 members)
    • The Vereniging Consument & Geldzaken ("Consumer & Monetary Affairs Association", for financial consumers, of banking and insurance products; 32,000 members)
    • The Woonbond ("League for Living", for renters)

    Finally, there is a business regulation agency, charged with competition oversight, sector-specific regulation of several sectors, and enforcement of consumer protection laws:

    Pakistan

    • The Consumers Eye Pakistan (founded in 2005) [10] (TCEP) is a non profit registered social welfare organization (NGO), for the protection of Consumer rights in Pakistan since 2005. The Consumers Eye Pakistan’s vision is a world where everyone has access to safe and sustainable goods and services, where the strength of the collective power is used for the good of consumers throughout Pakistan. TCEP’s is working to put the rights of consumers at the heart of decision-making. TCEP host seminars and events especially on occasion of World Consumer Rights Day & World Standards Day every year with the collaboration of PSQCA and other organizations related to consumer rights protection, to create consumer awareness against unregistered, Substandard and counterfeit Products and Services. The Consumers Eye Pakistan cooperates with PSQCA to promote Quality Standard Culture in Pakistan. TCEP is actively involved with PSQCA in improving quality and standards of the citizens by advocating accountability and code of conduct in government and society to promote standardization and Quality consciousness culture in Pakistan for the benefit of consumers. TCEP’s representatives have been going with the PSQCA raiding Task force team to open markets as an independent observer. TCEP represent consumers as member in different technical Committees of Standardization in PSQCA. The Consumers Eye Pakistan campaigns on the domestic and international issues that matter to consumers. TCEP seeks to hold corporations to account and demands government action to put consumer concerns first, acting as a global watchdog: campaigning against any behaviour that threatens, ignores or abuses the principles of consumer protection. The Consumers Eye Pakistan also organizes workshops, seminars and colloquiums throughout the Pakistan, bringing together people from different sections of the society, including politicians, economists, and experts from related fields, to create awareness and build opinion on nationally important issues. Carrying out studies and researches on various issues related to Consumers and consumables. TCEP publish material for consumer awareness in Pakistan. The Consumers Eye Pakistan have introduced an annual series of awards “Quality-Standard Award” in 2010 to appreciate for the highly valuable Products/Brands and services in Pakistan. This program has the official collaboration of Pakistan Standards and Quality Control Authority Ministry of Science and technology (Government of Pakistan) also have support of other organizations. Quality Standard Award is a new concept to develop a relationship of trust among consumers, producers and service providers in Pakistan. The Consumer Eye Pakistan is working to build a better Pakistan. We believe that better work with commitment and honesty can improve people's lives.”
    • Consumer Voice Pakistan (CVP) (founded in 2002) [11] is a non-profit Voluntary Social Welfare organization NGO; Working Since 2002 to empower consumers in Pakistan, with the aim of getting Pakistani consumers a fairer deal to put the rights of consumers at the heart of decision-making. CVP’s vision is a world where everyone access to safe and sustainable goods and services, where the strength of the collective power is used for the good of consumers. CVP’s objective is to protect the interests of the consumer, making the consumer conscious of the malpractices perpetuated in the marketplace. Consumers Voice (Pakistan) CVP formed to protect and educate consumers, represent them on all forums, and make sure that consumer goods and services are given highest priority for the benefits of consumers. Consumers Voice (Pakistan) CVP campaigns on the domestic and international issues that matter to consumers in Pakistan. This means achieving real changes in government policy and corporate behaviour while raising Voice for awareness of rights and responsibilities CVP seeks to hold corporations to account and demands government action to put consumer concerns first, acting as a watchdog: campaigning against any behaviour that threatens, ignores or abuses the principles of consumer protection. This modern movement is essential to secure a fair safe and sustainable future for consumers in a marketplace increasingly dominated by international corporations. In Pakistan, the consumer is left at the sympathy of shopkeepers and manufacturers. The markets are full of substandard and forged products are widely available for general public or consumers and these foods are semi expired, low standard and hazard for healthy lives. CVP campaign to end the menace and create awareness among the people regarding the consumer rights; it includes adequate food, clothing, shelter, health care, education and safe drinking water in Pakistan. Consumer VOICE Pakistan (CVP) publishes monthly Consumer VOICE magazine in Pakistan.

    Poland

    • Federacja Konsumentów [12]
    • Stowarzyszenie Konsumentów Polskich (founded in 1995) [13]

    Portugal

    Republic of Ireland

    Romania

    • Asociatia Nationala pentru Protectia Consumatorilor si Promovarea Programelor si Strategiilor din Romania/ National Association for Consumers Protection and Promotion of Programs and Strategies from Romania

    South Africa

    Spain

    • Organización de Consumidores y Usuarios (OCU) [15]
    • ADICAE

    SwitzerlandAside from this general consumer organisation, the Netherlands is home to many categorical consumer organisations whose working terrain is limited to a certain part of the markets. Examples of categorical organisations include:

    • The Vereniging Eigen Huis ("Own House Association", for house owners; over 650,000 members)
    • The Vereniging Consument & Geldzaken ("Consumer & Monetary Affairs Association", for financial consumers, of banking and insurance products; 32,000 members)
    • The Woonbond ("League for Living", for renters)

    Finally, there is a business regulation agency, charged with competition oversight, sector-specific regulation of several sectors, and enforcement of consumer protection laws:

    Pakistan