The following text is the “Consumer Interests” section of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, 2011 Edition. To access other sections of the Guidelines, please click here. To view the Guidelines in PDF format in English, please click here.
When dealing with consumers, enterprises should act in accordance with fair business, marketing and advertising practices and should take all reasonable steps to ensure the quality and reliability of the goods and services that they provide. In particular, they should:
1. Ensure that the goods and services they provide meet all agreed or legally required standards for consumer health and safety, including those pertaining to health warnings and safety information.
2. Provide accurate, verifiable and clear information that is sufficient to enable consumers to make informed decisions, including information on the prices and, where appropriate, content, safe use, environmental attributes, maintenance, storage and disposal of goods and services. Where feasible this information should be provided in a manner that facilitates consumers’ ability to compare products.
3. Provide consumers with access to fair, easy to use, timely and effective non-judicial dispute resolution and redress mechanisms, without unnecessary cost or burden.
4. Not make representations or omissions, nor engage in any other practices, that are deceptive, misleading, fraudulent or unfair.
5. Support efforts to promote consumer education in areas that relate to their business activities, with the aim of, inter alia, improving the ability of consumers to:
i) make informed decisions involving complex goods, services and markets,
ii) better understand the economic, environmental and social impact of their decisions and
iii) support sustainable consumption.
6. Respect consumer privacy and take reasonable measures to ensure the security of personal data that they collect, store, process or disseminate.
7. Co-operate fully with public authorities to prevent and combat deceptive marketing practices (including misleading advertising and commercial fraud) and to diminish or prevent serious threats to public health and safety or to the environment deriving from the consumption, use or disposal of their goods and services.
8. Take into consideration, in applying the above principles,
i) the needs of vulnerable and disadvantaged consumers and
ii) the specific challenges that e-commerce may pose for consumers.