One of the most important aspects of consumer protection today concerns the availability of effective machinery for the resolution of consumer grievances in the marketplace. It is essential in considering this basic problem to have a clear understanding of the nature and scope of these grievances so that remedies can be devised which will be appropriate to the need.
Consumers encounter a variety of problems in the marketplace which have serious impact on their own self-image, their sense of their own capabilities and their confidence in themselves as effective actors and participants in the decisions affecting their daily lives. Too often today, their basic marketplace experience is one of frustration, powerlessness and, in some cases, outright injustice. Consumers feel themselves the victims of a basic helplessness to influence the actions of the marketplace power structure—the manufacturers, sellers and advertisers.
Consumer grievances generated by their marketplace experiences range from outright frauds and deceptions to simple indifference to their questions and problems. Not all consumer transactions of concern to consumers give rise to legal causes of action or cause them out-of-pocket financial losses.