AARP’s consumer protection principles, listed below, delineate the areas in which consumers need protections when buying and using any product or service. Rapid technological change, which has the potential to improve greatly the quality of life of people age 50 and older, has radically changed how consumers engage with the marketplace. Therefore, consumer protections need to evolve to address these new forms of engagement.
Government regulators are responsible for ensuring consumer protections with regard to products and services. However, disruptive technologies are changing products and services—and sometimes entire industries—so rapidly that regulators cannot always update regulations quickly enough. Therefore, there is a greater need for private-sector companies to embed consumer protections into their products and services up-front.
AARP’s consumer protection principles provide a flexible framework that applies to all consumer products and services:
Ensure choice—consumers should have a range of meaningful options.
Prioritize safety—consumers have a right to goods and services that are safe and appropriately tested and that carry warnings of possible risks.
Promote fair play and practice—business practices, consumer contracts, and marketing materials should not confuse, mislead, or frighten consumers.
Foster Transparency—the marketplace should empower consumers by offering consumers full and accurate information about goods and services, pricing, business practices, companies, service providers, risks to consumers, and consumer rights in plain, easily accessible language.
Protect the right to redress—aggrieved consumers have the right to accessible, appropriate, and adequate redress, including the full range of legal remedies, with clear disclosures about how and where to complain and seek redress.
Foster participation—consumers should be able to take part in the government decisionmaking processes that shape the marketplace.
Safeguard privacy—consumers have a right to personal privacy, including the ability to reject easily and at any time the sharing of any or all of their personal information, intrusive marketing practices, communications, and technology.
Promote access—consumers have a right to affordable, reliable, and timely access to such basic and necessary services as utilities, telephones, digital communications, financial products and services, and transportation.