Competition is the best consumer protection

© BDI/Kruppa

Consumers are the focus of business activity. They decide on the existence and further development of products and services. Consumer policy is a cross-cutting issue. Companies and consumers alike share the same interest in safe products of good quality and at affordable prices. Consumer satisfaction is a vital interest for companies. Manufacturers and providers therefore invest continually.

Consumer policy within BDI

BDI draws up cross-sectoral positions and is in an ongoing dialogue with policy-makers in order to create and secure framework conditions which allow solid competition for the best products, promote product diversity, deter abuse and ensure space for innovation, freedom of choice and autonomous decisions by the consumer.

Competition is the best consumer protection

Competition for the best products underpins individual responsibility, progress and sustainability. Permanent competition for the consumer’s favour forces companies to review products and services constantly and to orient research activities, product development and pricing policy on the wishes of consumers.

BDI works for framework conditions which make it possible to open up new markets, enable growth and promote sustainable business through competition.

Over-regulation runs counter to consumer sovereignty

State regulation is often the populist response to arguments put forward by consumer protection organisations. A supposedly unsatisfied need for information to the consumer is also often deployed to serve as a justification for statutory regulation. Numerous consumer policy initiatives – in particular at European level – develop increasingly frequently into interventionism through the back door. Covert steering of behaviour is intended to persuade the consumer to engage in „correct” consumption – above all with regard to health aspects. This approach to policy-making creates a false sense of security, runs counter to consumer sovereignty and interferes with markets to a considerable extent.

BDI therefore champions regulation which is restricted to the necessary precaution by the state, i.e. which concentrates on health protection and risk reduction. BDI rejects the steering of consumers by the state.

Yardstick is necessity and proportionality

Industry supports a sustainable consumer policy. However, implementation of European requirements must not be in contradiction with national interests. More red tape and higher costs for companies are disadvantages in global competition. It should be verified more carefully what effects planned policy plans will have on the ground and what consequences they will have both for industry and consumers.

BDI works for a substantiated legal impact assessment for all consumer policy instruments and measures on the basis of consumer research.

Sustainable consumer policy through consumer education

The legislator must always strike the right balance between objectively necessary regulation and the individual responsibility of companies for safe and high quality goods and services. Consumer policy-makers are well advised to use the expertise of companies in dialogue. A responsible consumer policy must take the transfer of knowledge about nutrition and economic education as its starting point.

BDI urges that policy should respect autonomy for reaching purchase decisions. This also includes appropriate consumer education offers which enable the consumer to determine his role as consumer for himself and under his own responsibility.