President John F. Kennedy’s Contributions on Consumer Rights


As our nation turns its thoughts to the tragic events in Dallas 50 years ago on November 22nd, let us take a moment to reflect on one facet of President John F. Kennedy’s legacy—the promotion of consumer rights.  During a March 15, 1962 speech to the United States Congress, President Kennedy asserted four basic consumer rights which were the forerunner to the Consumer Bill of Rights.  The four consumer rights espoused by President Kennedy were:

  • Right to safety (relates to consumer product safety……10 years later the Consumer Product Safety Commission was created)
  • Right to be informed (relates to truth in advertising, financing, labeling, etc…….impetus for legislation such as the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act and Truth in Lending Act)
  • Right to be heard (relates to complaints about problems with products and services as well as to pursue and obtain remedies where neccesary…..consumer law attorneys, Attorneys General in the 50 states, and the newly minted Consumer Financial Protection Bureau help give teeth to the laws that protect consumers)
  • Right to choose (relates to affording consumers meaningful options with whom they decide to transact business……..antitrust laws, anti-monopoly laws, and anti-price gouging laws are a few examples of how the right to choose is preserved)

President Kennedy helped spark discussion, legislation, and protection for consumers.  Other Presidents and government officials have taken the proverbial torch and in 2013 consumers have far more rights and protections than they had 50 years ago.  However, unscrupulous and greedy businesses and individuals still devise ways to profit at the consumer’s expense.  In the day and age of the Internet and online financial transactions it has become easier for the bad guys (and girls) to cheat consumers and cover their proverbial tracks. 

The best consumer is the educated consumer.  Do your research before you decide to buy or otherwise engage in consumer activity.  Visit the O’Neal Law Office Free Information Center for various materials and resources and consult an experienced consumer law attorney if problems arise.

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1 Comment

  1. Ethel Yankah Newman

    How ironical that 50 years from the Kennedy sacrifices, residents of the State of North Carolina in my opinion do not have “the right to choose” from more than one major health insurance provider;
    which is one of the reasons why health care cost keeps rising. Healthy competition in this industry may help all of us.

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