Other Free Encyclopedias » Medicine Encyclopedia » Aging Healthy - Part 4 » Retailing and Older Adults - Direct Marketing And Retailing To Older Adults, Convenient Shopping And Special Promotions, Health Care, Cosmetics, And Personal Care Products And Services - Older adults as investors, Retailers as employers of older persons

Retailing and Older Adults - Ethical Issues

unethical consumer wisconsin retailers

Although most retailers and marketers are honest, a few unethical ones target older adults. Schemes such as free gift and get-rich-quick offers, fraudulent travel awards, and sweepstakes can plague older adults. Other problems come from deceptive advertisers, telemarketers, and door-to-door sellers who prey on older people whom they may believe to be isolated and lonely. Although any product or service can be sold in an unethical manner, those most often associated with unethical promotions to older adults, including hearing aids, insurance, home improvements and repairs, investments, medical devices and cures, and recreational property such as time-shares or membership camping.

Shopping by mail can also be a problem for older adults. In fact, the number one consumer complaint in the United States is mail order problems. Although there are many reputable firms, there are some that overprice and misrepresent their products and services. In addition, telemarketing fraud aimed at older adults has been a growing problem in both the United States and Canada. The U.S. Justice Department estimates telemarketing fraud is costing victims $40 billion a year (Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection).

Some unethical retailers and marketers specifically target older adults because, compared to younger adults, they are less likely to report unethical practices for fear they will be viewed as incompetent to handle their own affairs. However, federal and state rules and laws help to protect consumers. At the federal level, the Federal Trade Commission has rules obligating retailers to be ethical in advertising and to have adequate quantities of sale items in stock. At the state level, states such as Wisconsin have enacted legislation that stipulates additional fines and penalties for those who specifically take advantage of older persons. Wisconsin law (sec.100.264, Stats) allows courts to impose additional fines of up to ten thousand dollars for violations of consumer laws. This law includes violations related to a number of different consumer problems targeted at older adults, such as false advertising, home improvement schemes, mail order and telecommunications fraud, and prizes that require purchases (Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection).

Retailing and Older Adults - Conclusion [next] [back] Retailing and Older Adults - Housing And Home Modifications

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