Industrywide Cooperation for Consumer Affairs

by Guenther Baumgart



Consumer interest and consumer welfare are often discussed within the framework of individual corporations on the one hand or the government level on the other. This article, however, focuses at a level between individual corporations and government in which several companies working together develop programs in the interest of consumers. The author will discuss here only the consumer durable goods manufacturing industry. This industry manufactures major household appliances and portable appliances. The companies involved account for nearly 100 percent of the production of home appliances in the U.S. and include many well-known names. These companies have been successful in developing an extensive consumer affairs program of many parts based upon close, legally proper cooperation. Their programs have been developed by top management executives from all companies in the industry. The basic principle underlying these efforts is that the essential relationship between producers and consumers is one of mutual interest. Two major areas of consumer concern activities are derived, from the basic relationship. The first includes programs that precede the sale of the product to the consumer and the second is in the somewhat newer area of post-sales concerns.

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