What Is Consumer Exploitation?

Any time a company takes advantage of a consumer, that is an example of consumer exploitation. Commercial societies rely on the consumer spending money in order to create profits. When companies act unethically, they break the trust that they have built with consumers, leading to anger and frustration. While the principle of the free market ideally dictates that fraudulent companies will lose so much money that they go out of business, the truth is that the companies that do the most exploitation often make a lot of money.

Senior citizens are particularly vulnerable to consumer exploitation practices. There are disreputable contractors who go from home to home in senior citizen communities advertising services that include landscaping, driveway resurfacing and other attractive options. The representatives ask for a payment for supplies up front and promise to come back and complete the work. The problem happens when the representatives take the payment and then disappear, never to be heard from again.

Juveniles are also the target of a great deal of consumer exploitation. Because of their influence on parents, children dictate the spending of millions of dollars each year, which is why food, toy, video games and clothing companies spend so much money marketing to them. Because children cannot always make wise choices on their own, targeting them directly with marketing is almost assured of bringing in large amounts of revenue for products of dubious quality or value.