Page:United States Statutes at Large Volume 108 Part 6.djvu/1090

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108 STAT. 5658 PROCLAMATION 6748—OCT. 24, 1994 and desires, it inspires technological innovation and the development of new products and services, and it rewards efficiency and productivity. The framers of ovu Constitution sought to establish a free market in which competition, ingenuity, and productivity would flourish. Today, it is more apparent than ever that their intent has been realized—Americans can choose from the greatest variety of goods and services in the history of the world. This extraordinary economic machine works most efficiently when we as consumers are at the controls: when our choices and decisions, our requirements and collective will determine the direction and the workings of the marketplace. But individuals and the Nation's economy suf- fer when products and services are ineffective, inferior, or unsafe; when prices are unfair; and when consumer needs for reliable information and protection are unmet. If such abuses were to become common, the consequent loss of faith in owe free market system would jeopardize our American way of life. On March 15, 1962, President John F. Kennedy acknowledged the centrality of consumers in our marketplace in his Special Message to Congress on Protecting the Consumer Interest. The Federal Government—by nature the highest spokesman for all the people—has a special obligation to be alert to the consumer's needs and to advance the consumer's interests. Since then, what has come to be called the Consumer Bill of Rights has evolved as our marketplace has evolved. At present, it includes: (1) The Right to Safety—the right to expect that the consumer's health, safety, and financial security will be protected effectively in the marketplace; (2) The Right to Information—the right to have full and accurate information upon which to make free and considered decisions and to be protected against false or misleading claims; (3) The Right to Choice—^the right to make an informed choice among products and services in a free market at fair and competitive prices; (4) The Right to Be Heard—^the right to a full and fair hearing and equitable resolution of consumer problems; and, (5) The Right to Consumer Education, added by President Gerald R. Ford in 1975—the right to continuing consumer education without which the consumer cannot enjoy the full benefit of the other enumerated rights. In the 3 decades since President Kennedy's message, our marketplace has changed. Innovations in such vital areas as materials and electronics, telecommunications technology, health care, food processing and packaging, and financial services; the increasingly fast-paced global economy; and the urgent need to preserve our environment have altered what we buy as well as how we buy. The technological complexity of much of what we buy and, frequently, the distance between buyer and maker or seller have expanded the importance of service. Americans understand that service means the commitment to consumers that their experiences in the marketplace will meet all reasonable