We’re all familiar with the Bill of Rights, the first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution that were ratified in 1791. But have you ever heard of the Consumer’s Bill of Rights? President John F. Kennedy outlined them in a speech to Congress in 1962, at a time when the consumer movement was just blossoming. I think you’ll agree with me that these rights are still as important today as they were nearly 50 years ago when they were first articulated.

The six basic rights are:
1. The right to be safe. Manufacturers should cause no harm. The Consumer Product Safety Commission was formed in 1972 to uphold this right.
2. The right to choose freely. We can choose the products and services we want, and monopolistic practices are outlawed through anti-trust legislation.
3. The right to service. Businesses should be responsive and treat customers with courtesy and respect. Companies that earn the Diamond Certified award are committed to making this their highest priority. You’ll see this repeatedly in the customer comments found on each company’s report at www.diamondcertified.org.
4. The right to be informed. The Internet has made this right easier than ever, but it also means businesses should provide complete and truthful product information so we can make intelligent choices. False and misleading advertising is illegal.
5. The right to education. Consumers need access to programs and materials that help them better understand how to make buying decisions. Here again, Diamond Certified companies stand out because they spend extra time educating consumers on services they’re about to purchase.
6. The right to redress and be heard. We can voice our complaints and someone will listen, whether it’s the Better Business Bureau, the Attorney General or nonprofit mediation groups. Small Claims Court is another avenue for redress and complaint resolution. Consumers who have unresolved disputes with Diamond Certified companies get extra help through the mediation process, which is explained in detail at www.diamondcertified.org.

So now you know your basic consumer rights. Use them wisely.

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