Jenni first detailed the achievements and shortcomings of consumer policy and consumer activism over 150 years – significant early reform was designed to protect us from fraudulent ingredients and dangerous people.
She pointed out that the new wave of consumer issues are complex and challenging for consumers:
- Toasters may no longer explode, but the wrong decisions around your retirement income can have devastating and longer lasting impacts
- Consumers want to do the right thing for the environment, but who do they believe?
She noted the ability of individual consumers to fight back on an issue using social media, pointing to Dave Carrol’s youtube hit United Breaks Guitars and Adam Brimo’s Vodafail website – built while waiting on the phone for some customer service from Vodafone.
But [the consumer] movement – across government and non government – … must become more agile and innovative in our campaigning – in regulatory response and our policy responses.
Jenni is a former executive director of CFA and has been the Chair of Choice for the last five years. She represents consumers on a range of Boards and government advisory bodies, including the Financial Ombudsman Service and Food Standards Australia and New Zealand.