Have you ever bought a meal in a restaurant or a pair of sneakers at a sporting goods store? Have you ever ridden a bus to work or had your car repaired at a service station? If you did any of these things you were a consumer. A consumeris a person who buys goods and services for personal or household purposes from a seller.
When sellers agree to provide and consumers agree to pay for goods or services, the parties have entered into a legal agreement. The agreement is called a contract.Every time you order a meal in a restaurant, you promise to pay for it, and the restaurant promises to give you a meal that is fit to eat. If the consumer and the seller have a dispute they can't settle themselves, the law may help determine the outcome.
For many years, consumer law was characterized by the legal expression caveat emptor.This means "let the buyer beware." In other words, consumers had to look out for unfair and misleading sales practices be-fore buying or else be prepared to suffer the consequences. Once consumers bought something, they were stuck with the purchase, even if they got less than they bargained for, such as unsafe or poor-quality products.
Today the law is more balanced. Consumers now have a right to be correctly informed of important information, such as quality, price and credit terms. Sellers must avoid sales and advertising practices that mislead, deceive, or are otherwise unfair to consumers. This increased concern for consumers is based on the fact that sellers are usually better informed about the products or services being offered and are usually in control of the sales transaction.
Even though the law has changed, the best protection is still a careful purchase. Learning about products and services, shopping carefully, and knowing your legal rights and how to enforce them are the best ways to avoid a problem.
You should also recognize that if you receive poor-quality merchandise or fall victim to a deceptive practice, all is not lost. You can often solve the problem yourself. And when you can't, the law may provide a remedy. This chapter will help you become a better consumer — able to recognize, avoid, and, when necessary, resolve consumer problems.
While consumers have many rights, they also have responsibilities. For example, they have a responsibility to sellers to be fair and honest. A consumer who buys an item of clothing, wears it once to a party, and then returns it is not being fair and honest. When this happens, a seller's costs go up, and everyone winds up paying higher prices
INFLUENCES ON CONSUMERS
Smart consumers understand the factors that influence their shopping habits. They think about whether they need the product, whether they can afford it, and how they can purchase it carefully. They also know the difference between wanting and needing a product. Of course, sometimes all consumers splurge and buy things they really don't need. But smart shoppers don't spend so much on things they want that they can't afford what they really need.
Consumers often buy things in response to advertising. A great deal of television, radio, newspaper, and magazine advertising is geared toward specific groups of people. For example, sellers know that teenagers are an extremely important market for their goods and services, and so they develop specific ads for this audience. Advertising to teens has been stepped up as studies have shown that today's parents make fewer buying decisions for their children. The ads, which are often purchased for shows or publications that particularly appeal to teens, are designed to increase sales of the products advertised. Many ads provide useful information about products or announce the start of a sale. However, ads may also attempt to influence you to purchase a product that you do not need or want or that you cannot afford.
1. Find the equivalents of the following in the text:
соглашение, определить исход, страдать от последствий, товары низкого качества, условия кредита, вводить в заблуждение, стать жертвой, избежать проблемы, в ответ на рекламу, быть нацеленным на..., увеличивать объем продаж, пытаться повлиять, средство судебной защиты, "пусть покупатель будет бдителен" (покупатель действует на свой риск), пускать пыль в глаза
2. Answer the questions:
1. Define the term consumer.
2. How was consumer law characterized for many years?
3. What did it mean?
4. Why is the law more balanced today?
5. What is the best protection for consumers? Why?
6. How can you avoid problems?
7. Do consumers have any responsibilities? Give your examples.
8. What factors influence smart consumers shopping habits? Are you a smart consumer?
9. How does advertising influence consumers?
3. Match the words on the left with the correct definition on the right:
|consumer||haggle excessively before agreeing to buy or sell|
|caveat emptor||an illegal act or omission punishable under criminal law|
|remedy||a person who buys goods and services for personal or household purposes from a seller|
|contract||any proceeding, action, cause, lawsuit or controversy initiated through the court system|
|bargain||let the buyer beware|
|dispute||smth used for putting right what is wrong|
|offence||argue, call into question|
Select an item costing more than $100 that you or your family would like to purchase. What item did you select? Find answers to the following questions:
1. What publications can provide you with information about this product? How else can you get information about it?
2. What specific information is provided about the product?
3. How can this information help you to be a smart consumer?
6. Translate the following sentences into English:
1 Вы когда-нибудь покупали товары в магазине?
2 Каждый раз, когда Вы заказываете еду в ресторане, Вы обещаете заплатить за нее, а ресторан обязуется дать Вам еду.
3 Сегодня потребители имеют право получить достоверную информацию о качестве товара, цене и условиях кредита.
4. Самым лучшим средством защиты от покупки некачественного товара является бдительность самого покупателя
5. Если Вы приобрели товар плохого качества, еще не все потеряно. Вы можете разрешить проблему самостоятельно или обратиться в суд.
6. Опытные покупатели перед покупкой товара задумываются, нужен ли им этот товар и могут ли они его себе позволить.
7 Часто потребители покупают товар после его рекламы по телевидению, радио, в газете или журнале.
8. Реклама обычно нацелена на определенные группы населения.
9. Много рекламных объявлений содержат полезную информацию о товарах, но реклама может также повлиять на покупателя и побудить его купить товар, который ему не нужен или тот, который он не может себе позволить.
Match the words in the box with a suitable description (a-j).
a) You push this in the supermarket and fill it with food trolley
b) You are given this as proof of buying something
c) This tries to persuade you to buy something
d) You put money especially banknotes, in this
e) This person is in charge of a shop
f) You might make this before you go shopping
g) Leave this if you can't pay now but want to buy later
h) Do this if you want to get a better price
i) Coins are usually carried in this, especially by women
j) Read this to find descriptions of goods