An interactive discussion site on proposed amendments to the United Nations Guidelines for Consumer Protection

Table of Contents

There are 109 comments in this document

This is an online workspace for members of Consumers International. It enables you to comment on the current draft proposed revisions to the United Nations Guidelines for Consumer Protection to update it for today’s consumers.
This workspace displays the existing Guidelines, as last amended in 1999, along with the new amendments developed by the consumer movement, in an interactive format. It is easy to use:

  • To read the Guidelines, click on the section of interest in the Table of Contents. The number in parentheses shows how many comments were posted to that section. Amendments are shown with highlighting for additions and red for deletions.
  • If you represent a Consumers International Member or Supporter organisation and would like to contribute, clicking the paragraph bubble or comment browser row inside each section reveals a form that you can use to add your comments. Update 22 April 2013 – comments have now closed. Thank you for your contributions!
  • Existing comments can be viewed in the same way, by clicking the paragraph bubble, or the comment browser row. The floating comment browser contains both general and paragraph-level comments.
  • To see a running transcript of comments, organised by section or author, click “Browse Comments” at the top. Click “go to thread” to read any comment in context.

Please direct any questions to the Consumer Justice and Protection issue network.

I. Objectives Taking into account the interests and needs of consumers in all countries, particularly those in developing countries; recognizing that consumers often face imbalances in economic terms, educational levels, and bargaining power; and bearing in mind that consumers should have the right of access to non-hazardous products and the right to participate in cultural, civic and educational affairs, as well as the right to promote just, equitable and sustainable economic and social deve [...]


2. Governments should develop and/or maintain a strong consumer protection policy, taking into account the Guidelines set out below and relevant international agreements. Governments need to adopt a clear legal mandate to protect consumers including the application within their jurisdictions of existing legislation, as well as instigating new measures. In so doing, each Government should set its own priorities for the protection of consumers in accordance with the economic, social and environmen [...]


9. 13. The following guidelines should apply both to home-produced goods and services and to imports. 10. 14. In applying any procedures or regulations for consumer protection, due regard should be given to ensuring that they do not comply with international principles that protect human rights and the social, cultural and economic rights of all people. Procedures and regulations should not become unjustifiable barriers to international trade and they are should accordingly be consistent with [...]


11. 15. Governments should adopt or encourage the adoption of appropriate measures, including legal systems, safety regulations, national and/or international standards, voluntary standards and the maintenance of safety records to ensure that products are safe for either intended or normally foreseeable use. 12. 16. Appropriate Policies should ensure that goods produced by manufacturers are safe for either intended or normally foreseeable use. Those responsible for bringing goods to the marke [...]


15. 19. Government policies should seek to enable consumers to obtain optimum benefit from their economic resources. They should also seek to achieve the goals of satisfactory production and performance standards, adequate distribution methods, fair business practices, informative marketing and effective protection against practices which could adversely affect the economic interests of consumers and the exercise of choice in the market place. 16. 20. Governments should intensify their effort [...]


28. 35. Governments should, as appropriate, formulate or promote the elaboration and implementation of standards, voluntary and other, at the national, regional and international levels for the safety and quality of goods and services and give them appropriate publicity, taking into account both subjective and objective elements. National standards and regulations for product safety and quality should be reviewed from time to time, in order to ensure that they conform, where possible, to general [...]


31. 38. Governments should, where appropriate, consider: (a) Adopting or maintaining policies to ensure the efficient distribution of goods and services to consumers; where appropriate, specific. Specific policies should be considered to ensure the distribution of essential goods and services where this distribution is endangered, as could be the case particularly in rural areas. Such policies could include assistance for the creation of adequate storage and retail facilities in rural centres [...]


32. 40. Governments should establish or maintain legal and/or administrative measures to enable consumers or, as appropriate, relevant organizations, to obtain redress through formal or informal procedures that are expeditious, fair, inexpensive and accessible. Such procedures should include collective redress, and should be available in online and offline modes as appropriate. They should take particular account of the needs of low-income consumers, and should start with the distributor of the [...]


35. 44. Governments should develop or encourage the development of general consumer education and information programmes, including information on the environmental impacts of consumer choices and behaviour and the possible implications, including benefits and costs, of changes in consumption, bearing in mind the cultural traditions of the people concerned. The aim of such programmes should be to enable people to act as discriminating consumers, capable of making informed choices of goods and se [...]


42. 52. Sustainable consumption includes meeting the needs of present and future generations for goods and services in ways that are economically, socially and environmentally sustainable. 43. 53. Responsibility for sustainable consumption is shared by all members and organizations of society, with informed consumers, Government, business, labour organizations, and consumer groups and environmental organizations playing particularly important roles. Informed consumers have an essential role i [...]


66. Consumers who participate in electronic commerce should be afforded transparent and effective consumer protection that is not less than the level of protection afforded in other forms of commerce. 67. Businesses engaged in electronic commerce with consumers should provide accurate, clear and easily accessible information about themselves, the goods or services offered, and the terms and conditions on which they are offered, to enable consumers to make an informed decision about whether to [...]


56. 73. In advancing consumer interests, particularly in developing countries, Governments should, where appropriate, give priority to areas of essential concern for the health of the consumer, such as food, water and pharmaceuticals. Policies should be adopted or maintained for product quality control, adequate and secure distribution facilities guaranteeing access to essential goods and services, marketing, standardized international labelling and information, as well as education and research [...]


63. 87. Governments should, especially in a regional or subregional context: (a) Develop, review, maintain or strengthen, as appropriate, mechanisms for the exchange of information on national policies and measures in the field of consumer protection; (b) Cooperate or encourage cooperation in the implementation of consumer protection policies to achieve greater results within existing resources. Examples of such cooperation could be collaboration in the setting up or joint use of testing f [...]