Consumer policy

Effective Consumer Policy Making


When and how consumer authorities should intervene to improve market outcomes is a challenge for policy makers. The methods used to analyse and address consumer issues are evolving, as are the complex problems that consumer agencies are being asked to address.


The OECD, through its Committee on Consumer Policy, provides a platform for governments, together with stakeholders, to work together to improve policy responses. This work includes the development of frameworks for analysing consumer problems and determining what policy measures should be taken.  It helps analyse how policy tools can be best employed, including through the application of behavioural insights.


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Consumer Policy Toolkit

In 2010, the OECD published its Consumer Policy Toolkit, which provides policy makers with a framework to help assess the conditions under which policy interventions may be most effective, and the types of measures they may want to consider. The Toolkit has been used widely by both OECD members and non-Members to enhance the effectiveness of government action. In 2014 it resulted in the adoption of a Council Recommendation on Consumer Policy Decision Making.


2014        Council Recommendation on Consumer Policy Decision Making

2010        Consumer Policy Toolkit (also available in French)    


Through its Committee on Consumer Policy, the OECD continues to exchange information on experiences using the Toolkit. It will also examine how the tools identified can be best employed.


2015        Industry Self-regulation: Role and Use in Supporting Consumer Interests

2012        Enhancing Consumer Policy Making: The Role of Consumer Surveys

2012        Enhancing Consumer Policy Making: The Role of Consumer Complaints

2011        Workshop: Communication Services


Behavioural insights

The Committee on Consumer Policy has been a pioneer in exploring the links between behavioural economics and consumer policy. The Consumer Policy Toolkit explores how information and behavioural economics can be used to strengthen policy and enforcement actions. In 2017, the OECD published a report which examines how behavioural insights have been used by governments and other public policy organisations within their consumer policy making process and policy initiatives. The OECD will continue to analyse ways in which behavioural insights can be used to improve consumer policy outcomes.


2017        Use of Behavioural Insights in Consumer Policy

2006        Roundtable on Economics for Consumer Policy (also available in French)    

2005        Roundtable on Demand-Side Economics for Consumer Policy (also available in French)    


Consumer dispute resolution and redress

Fostering the development of effective, low cost ways for consumers to resolve their disputes and obtain monetary compensation is a key consumer policy objective. In 2007, OECD Member countries adopted a Recommendation on Consumer Dispute Resolution and Redress to provide governments with a framework to help consumers resolve disputes and settle claims with business.


2007        Recommendation on Consumer Dispute Resolution and Redress 

2006        Consumer Dispute Resolution and Redress in the Global Marketplace 

2004        Resolving E-commerce Disputes Online: Asking the Right Questions about Alternative Dispute Resolution

2002        Legal Provisions Related to Business-to-Consumer Alternative Dispute Resolution in Relation to Privacy and Consumer Protection (French)     


Consumer awareness and education

Consumers are challenged by growing amounts of information and wider choices of products. To make good choices in increasingly complex markets, they must be aware of their rights and obligations in the marketplace. The OECD Committee on Consumer Policy is examining consumer policies and developing guidances and recommendations towards improved consumer awareness.


2009        Consumer Education: Policy Recommendations of the OECD's Committee on Consumer Policy 

2009        Promoting consumer education: Trends, Policies and good Practices


Other related reports

2008        The Interface between Competition and Consumer Policies

2007        Report on OECD Member Countries’ Approaches to Consumer Contracts


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