Assess the effectiveness of legal processes and institutions in providing consumers with remedies.
There has always been an imbalance of power and knowledge between the consumer and the company from which they are receiving good and/or services. This unequal footing means that consumers can be at a disadvantage. .
In the past, legal processes and institutions were largely inadequate at providing consumers with effective remedies. Consumer protection came in the form of contract law, with a laissez faire system guiding the marketplace. With regards to advertising and marketing, consumers had to rely on the goodwill and honesty of the producers of the goods to ensure the claims they made about their products were truthful. And if they weren't, there was little the consumer could do (apart from weak enforcement within common law.) In respect to the quality and suitability of a product, the common law principle of "Caveat Empor" which directly means "let the buyer beware" applied, meaning that it was the consumers responsibility to ensure that the goods they bought were of an apt standard. If the goods purchased were substandard or defect, there was little or no opportunity for legal redress for the consumer. .
However, remedy options for consumers have altered over time with the introduction of several landmark cases and acts meaning a change from Caveat Empor, to Caveat Vinditor (let the seller beware) and a tighter government regulation of consumer transactions. It has been recognised that there is an unequal footing and imbalance of power between the consumer and company, and thus exploitation of consumers in the past has been rampant. - Now days, consumer protection can be found within a range of measures, each designed to ensure consumers make informed decisions and are treated justly.
A successful means in which remedies can be achieved, is through the promotion of self-help and awareness within a consumer, aided by regulatory bodies that educate and inform.