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Consumer Protection Awareness Needs to be Heightened

ASEAN , 01 January 1970

International best practices and practical models and guidelines to develop effective consumer protection awareness campaign were discussed at the 2nd Workshop on the Development of Public Awareness Models on Consumer Protection. It was held at the ASEAN Secretariat from 8 – 9 April 2015. This was to provide ASEAN Member States (AMS) with additional tools to initiate or build upon existing advocacy programs that would empower consumers, by ensuring that they are well informed of their rights and responsibilities.

The highly interactive Workshop started with an identification of the challenges of initiating advocacy campaigns which among others includes a lack of understanding of consumer behavioral trends and resource limitations. The participants underwent an elaborate four-step planning, development, implementation and evaluation exercise, required to develop effective public awareness campaigns in the five key priority areas identified in consumer protection which are: i) telecommunications; ii) consumers entering loans; iii) food safety and quality assured foods; iv) online purchases; v) defective goods and unsafe products.

The models are divided into basic, advanced and best practices models which differs based on the resources invested and the extensive planning involved. The Workshop,which was facilitated by Professor Justin Malbon and Dr. Tahir Turk, noted that a good campaign will take approximately 5 years in order to achieve a sustained behavioral change where consumers are well informed and more empowered to act against unfair practices such as defective products or unfair contracts, and where companies are well aware of good governance.

Supported by the ASEAN Australia Development Cooperation Program Phase II (AADCP II), the ASEAN public awareness models and guidelines will soon be made available as a source of reference for AMS via the ACCP website