World Consumer Rights Day – March 15th

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Apparently tomorrow is World Consumer Rights Day. According to the release by Consumers International, a “world” consumer-rights advocacy group (and group of groups) based in London, it’s an annual thing. To wit:

The theme for World Consumer Rights Day (WCRD) 2012 is Our money, our rights: campaigning for real choice in financial services

On 15 March 2012 the global consumer movement will be uniting to demand a real choice for consumers. In the lead up to the big day, Consumers International (CI) will working with its members to take action on the issue, and highlighting activity around the world with our interactive map.

Consumers around the world are getting a bad deal from financial services. But a lack of effective competition in the market makes it difficult, if not impossible, for them to shop around.

For example, consumers often have trouble understanding different financial products, whether due to a lack of information or because the products themselves are too complex, or both.

Furthermore, changing to a different provider can be challenging, either because the switching process is prohibitively complicated, or simply because there are not enough financial institutions in the market competing to provide better deals.

As it stands, banks and other service providers do not have a strong incentive to offer more choice and improved services, and consumers are trapped in bad deals. This is true for all sorts of financial services – from bank accounts and loans to global money transfers.

Of course we applaud this worthy initiative, and gladly spread any message regarding our rights, and choices, as consumers.