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Principles of Consumer Education

As a result of the advancement in science and technology, consumers are bombarded with so many goods and services. There is also competition as to which products are better. With highly sophisticated advertisement, most consumers are confused as to what to choose and what not to choose.

Consumer education. therefore, is the process of providing individuals and families with the necessary knowledge and skills that would enable them to become informed consumers. When well-informed, a consumer will possess the ability to discern or judge information and make intelligent choices from many alternatives. Thus, such a consumer will possess necessary ability with respect to responding to the following questions:

1. What do we want to buy?
2. When do we buy it?
3. Where can we buy it?
4. How do we buy it?

These questions will help us make intelligent purchases or consumption of goods and services.

Importance of consumer education

1. It helps the consumer to know how and where to buy the goods and services needed.
2. It enables the consumer to know his or her rights.
3. It helps the consumer to know dangerous and inferior goods and services.
4. It enables the consumer to discern or assess consumer information, so that he/she can interpret the available information about the goods and services he/she is buying. For example expiry dates, weights and brand names, etc.
5. It enables the consumer to obtain the best value for his/her money.
6. It helps the consumer to eliminate waste in consumption.

Rights of the consumers
The consumers have the following rights:

1. The right to be heard:
The consumer should be allowed to express his or her views about the available goods and services.

2. The right to choose what he/she wants:
The consumer must not be forced to accept undesirable goods or services.

3. The right to be informed about the goods and services he/she is paying for:
The consumer is to be properly educated and informed about issues relating to what he/she is to consume. Appropriate information should be supplied by manufacturers. An example of such is nutrition information on food labels.

4. The right to safety:
Whatever goods and services made available to the consumers should be safe for consumption.