Historical Evolution of Consumer Law and Policy
Laws protecting the buyer against fraud have existed for a long time in society. However, consumer protection as a systematic policy goal is a recent phenomenon which began, globally, only in the middle of the twentieth century.
Three stages can be distinguished in the evolution of national and international consumer protection. In the first stage, before and during the nineteenth century, there was no effort to protect consumers as a particular group within the market. During the second stage, the political awareness of consumers increased internationally in the 1960s because of mass production and health scandals, which clearly highlighted the need for regulation, and resulted in civil movements for consumer protection. Finally, in the third stage which began at the end of the 1970s, the consumer has been protected by legal norms in European Member States and at the Community and international level.
-  For instance, rules on weights and measures existed to protect the buyers from fraud; seeG. Howells & T. Wilhelmsson, ‘EC Consumer Law’ , in G. Howells (ed.), European Business Law(Aldershot: Dartmouth, 1996), pp. 273 et seq; regarding protection from excessive pricing seeB.W. Harvey, & D.L. Parry, The Law of Consumer Protection and Fair Trading, 5th edn (London:Butterworths, 1996), pp. 1-3.
-  See more on the evolution of consumer law at national level in Everson & Joerges, ‘ConsumerCitizenship in Postnational Constellations?’ (n 2), pp. 3 et seq.
-  This period started with President John F. Kennedy’s speech in 1962, which outlined fourbasic consumer rights, later translated into the Consumer Bill of Rights.