The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (F.T.C.) is observing National Consumer Protection Week during the first full week in March. Every year, since 1998, the F.T.C. organizes events in the first week of March as part of National Consumer Protection Week to educate and make people aware of their consumer rights. In the digital age, the onus on consumer protection has intensified as they can easily fall prey to online scams and frauds. National Consumer Protection Week is an opportunity to arm ourselves with information to protect and safeguard our financial well-being.
History of National Consumer Protection Week
Formed in 1914, the Federal Trade Commission (F.T.C.) fights civil (non-criminal) crimes under the U.S. antitrust law and to further consumer protection. Constituted under the Federal Trade Commission Act, it is an independent body of the United States government whose main aim is to protect consumers and ensure a robust and competitive market.
As part of its activities, it has been observing National Consumer Protection Week annually to spread awareness and provide information to consumers to safeguard their interests. Observed every year in the first week of March, the week sees the F.T.C. disseminate information to spread awareness about consumer rights.
Over the years, with transactions over the digital medium increasing, the role of F.T.C. and National Consumer Protection Week has become more critical. During National Consumer Protection Week, consumers are provided with valuable yet free tools and information on the business, identity theft, cyber security, and online transaction protection to help safeguard themselves against rising instances of cyber fraud and online scams.
As consumers, we are always best served with a level playing field where we can make objective and correct decisions regarding purchase and investments. However, we cannot be sure that the entity we are dealing with has our best interest in mind. It then becomes essential that we take advantage of initiatives such as National Consumer Protection Week to safeguard our money and well-being.
An informed consumer is an empowered one. As a savvy consumer, you can make use of this week to increase your knowledge about consumer laws — educate yourself, friends, and family members about how to prevent falling prey to fraudsters.
National Consumer Protection Week timeline
The Federal Trade Commission is created under the Federal Trade Commission Act to fight civil (non-criminal) crimes under the U.S. antitrust law and to further consumer protection.
F.T.C. observes the first National Consumer Protection Week in March.
F.T.C. successfully conducts events through National Consumer Protection Week for two decades.
Edition 23 of National Consumer Protection Week holds more significance than ever before in the light of increasing online scams resulting from a higher number of digital transactions.
National Consumer Protection Week FAQs
Is there an act that protects the consumers in the U.S.?
Consumers in the U.S. are protected and can seek redressal under the Federal Trade Commission Act constituted in 1914.
How does the Federal Trade Commission protect consumer rights?
The Federal Trade Commission has constituted a Bureau of Consumer Protection that stops unfair, restrictive, deceptive, and fraudulent business practices. It collects consumer reports and conducts ‘suo moto’ investigations to sue entities that impede the creation of a fair marketplace. It also provides education to consumers and businesses about their roles, rights, and responsibilities in trade.
What is meant by consumer protection?
When we purchase goods and services, we are entitled to receive a complete and proper execution of the transaction as consumers. Consumer protection safeguards buyers and the general public against non-performance of the terms and conditions of the purchase. It also protects against any unfair practices in the marketplace.
How to Observe National Consumer Protection Week
Plan an event or participate in one
You can check your local resources or social media for events planned during the week in your neighborhood. If there are no events in your locality, organize one. Invite a consumer rights activist, cyber expert, or lawyer specializing in consumer litigation to address the gathering.
Blog about it
If you have a blog, ask a question about the subject of consumer rights, post answers, or simply write about your experiences as a consumer. Sharing is indeed caring!
Spread awareness through social media
Use #NationalConsumerProtectionWeek to spread awareness about the week on social media. You can also visit www.consumer.ftc.gov to find out more about the day and its activities.
5 Facts About Consumer Complaints
Misrepresentations in advertising and faulty repairs are the most significant cause of complaints.
Home improvement and construction
Failure to comply with regulations, shoddy work, and untimely delivery top the list of complaints.
Credit card and bank debt
Failure to meet promises and assurances, along with scams, are the most significant sources of customer dissatisfaction.
Complaints range from misrepresentations, defective products, and refusal to refund.
Health and beauty products
Overcharging, making false claims, and misrepresentation of facts is the primary cause of complaints.
Why National Consumer Protection Week is Important
We need to be aware of our rights as consumers
Awareness about our entitlements as consumers is paramount. When we conduct any financial transaction, we must know what we are signing up for. National Consumer Protection Week helps us to increase our knowledge and gives us a proper perspective about our expectations as consumers.
Vigilance is essential to safeguard against online fraud
Digital transactions can be fraught with risks if we do not do due diligence. We need to educate ourselves about conducting online transactions to not fall prey to online fraud. With fraudsters coming up with newer cons each day, we must stay abreast of the happenings.
Well-informed is well-armed
Arming yourself with information is akin to wearing a helmet while riding a bike. It may not be able to prevent a fall but can help in lessening the impact. Keeping yourself informed can help you to take steps to lessen an adverse financial transaction's impact.
National Consumer Protection Week dates