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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.
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