Consumer Protection Act…..Anyone see the change yet?
Now some people may have a go at me for this title, but after a couple months of this legislation being in effect one cannot help but think that this may be yet another well intentioned but toothless piece of legislation.
I mean have we all noticed the ease with which we can understand contracts now and the sudden drop in email SPAM? Clearly this is working well. Have you seen that marketers are following all of the rules? Sure many large corporate companies have tightened up on some of their marketing efforts and clearly some training has taken place, but for the most part there has been little or no change.
I put this down to the fact that the consumer actually is not even aware of what the legislation contains. We heard many things before the legislation came into effect, about how it was going to protect consumers, but most consumers still do not even know that it is in effect. They know even less about the rights that they are afforded under the Act.
I, along with many proactive marketers spent hours in workshops preparing ourselves around the legislation. We devised many strategies to counteract some of the communication hurdles that were set down. We devised and we schemed and the alarming thing is that many, many organisations are continuing with an “as you were” attitude.
When the first set of litigation takes place, we are going to see a rush on message changes and options disclosures. We are going to see clients hurtling back to the drawing board because they will then realise that their messages are wrong. This will be the day when the masses of consumers realise just what they have the right too.
I fear though that we are also going to see many people remain victims of not knowing what their rights are. They are going to enter contracts blindly and they are going to face issues later, they are going to be the victims of unscrupulous marketers and they will have little or no recourse. I for one would support a mass education campaign from government, helping them to prepare the consumer about what rights they have. This will help force the pace of change and we will see more and more empowered consumers.
To the businesses out there that have taken this legislation on in heart and not only based on the fact that they don’t want to be the first one sued, well done. You will reap the rewards of having clients who know and understand why they do business with you.