While the consumers’ rights have been discussed in this article, nothing has been said about the obligations which accompany these rights. It has been suggested that consumer rights can only be achieved when accompanied by consumer responsibilities Thus, consumers have the obligation to choose wisely, keep informed, sound off, put safety first and help protect their environment.
Although consumers may have certain responsibilities they need to exercise these in an ethical fashion. For instance, the way in which consumers sound off their grievances should itself be responsible. But consider the following novel responses consumers have taken to resolve their perceived injustices:
1) One fellow burned his car on the front doorstep of the manufacturer because he was disappointed with it.
2) A Milwaukee citizen smashed a soda vending machine with a fire as when it failed to function properly.
3) Many consumers fold, spindle and mutilate their company card bills because their complaint has not been resolved properly.
Such incidents as those given above, indicate that consumers also fail to act responsibly.
Consumers must establish:
An appropriate ethical framework to handle decisions that confront them. It may be surprising to you, but consumers just as business persons face moral dilemmas quite often in the marketplace. For instance when buying a luxury imported car an American consumer may invoke decisions about what is right, correct to moral. On one hand the purchase may result in obtaining a car that will convey high status and offer quality, trouble free transportation. On the other hand its purchase could contribute to the US imbalance of trade and put domestic workers out of their jobs. Thus, the consumer who has strong personal values on each of these issues will face an important moral dilemma in which satisfying his own desires is contrary to the interest of others.
Research indicates that consumers can identify purchase situations in which they have faced an ethical dilemma. Moreover, those who choose alternatives they perceive as unethical use a somewhat different decision process than those choosing neutral or ethical alternatives. Finally, consumers selecting unethical alternatives reported feeling significantly more anxious, guilty, nervous, remorseful, embarrassed, shameful and unethical than those making an ethical selection.
Ethical dilemmas are being increasingly brought to shoppers’ attention. For instance, the non-profit Council on Economic Priorities publishes a supermarket shopping guide rating 168 companies , 1800 brands, and 20 supermarkets on the following social responsibility criteria: charitable contributions, women’s and minority advancement, military contracts, animal testing , information disclosure community outreach, nuclear power, South Africa and family benefits. Apparently the guide is impacting buyer behaviour. Almost 80 per cent of the readers switched brands based on the book’s ratings.
Deviant Consumer behaviour:
Most consumer behaviour reach has concentrated on improving marketing or consumer effectiveness in the marketplace. Very little attention has been devoted to consumer behaviour that has negative consequence for marketers or consumers themselves. These deviant consumer behaviours include negligent and fraudulent behaviours.
Negligent Consumer behaviour compulsive buying:
Most consumers engage in buying as a normal and routine part of their everyday lives. But when buying becomes compulsive the goals shift from obtaining utility from the purchased to achieving gratification from the purchasing process itself. Compulsive buying is chronic repetitive purchasing that becomes a primary response to negative event feelings . It becomes very difficult to stop and ultimately results in harmful consequences to the individual and /or others. Compulsive buying is undesirable because it has severe consequences such as amassing huge amounts of debt that are difficult to retire and feelings of remorse, lowered self-esteem and weakened interpersonal relationships. Shopaholics are addicted to purchasing and use it as a fix to offset emotional deprivation. And when they are confronted over their spending habits they will often switch to another toe of chronic destructive habit such as over-eating, over-exercising or becoming a workaholic.
Source: Consumer Behaviour