Civil rights in the market
In this article, the problem of consumer protection is analysed, not from a utilitarian viewpoint but in terms of the defence of citizens' rights as consumers in a market. It is demonstrated how, in Italy, legislation is glaringly inadequate, and, by way of example, three cases of imbalance between supplier and user are examined. The first is advertising which is wholly lacking in truly informative content – nor is it obliged to have any. The second concerns so-called 'mass contracts', especially those insurance policies in which the client can only 'take it or leave it' and is thus forced to accept clauses which put him at a great disadvantage in his relations with the insurance company. The third regards the maker's liability for damage caused as a result of product defects (e.g. a road accident caused by poorly made car brakes): the Italian Civil Code does not recognize this liability whereas, in many other countries, notably Germany and the United States, it is recognized. The author argues that, if Italian legislation is to be brought up to date with that of the most advanced countries – especially in the area of the EEC – and the obstacles set up by industrial organizations to be cleared, citizens as consumers must organize themselves and act collectively in the same way that citizens as workers have done in defence of their rights.