Vulnerability as a specific category of consumer risk

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L.N. Osaulenko


Eurasian Economic Commission, Bldg. 1/2 Letnikovskaya Str., Moscow, 115114, Russian Federation


Regulation of legal relationships involving consumers which is adopted in the Eurasian Economic Union countries doesn't highlight peculiarities related to providing consumer rights of specific population groups; people who belong to such groups can't evaluate a situation correctly when they act as consumers due to various reasons, such as their age, physical peculiarities, or some other circumstances.

The author performed this research on the following object: legal relationships which exist between subjects acting on a consumer market, one party here being a consumer who is more vulnerable than others around due to his or her age or disabil-ity.
The research goal was to give a definition for "vulnerability" as a specific category of consumer risk which determines basic mechanisms of consumer rights protection.

To achieve this, the author analyzed and assessed consumer risks which occur in such situations when consumers are under a certain age, elderly people, or disabled people. The paper also dwells on some peculiarities of deals which are made by people from the above-mentioned population groups.

The performed research allowed to characterize a consumer "vulnerability" as an increased risk that a deal made by a consumer can have negative consequences due to his or her social or behavioral peculiarities. These peculiarities are shown to influence a person's ability to obtain or understand information; to make a free choice on a product or service; to perceive certain marketing practices adequately (perception of aggressive advertising); being financially capable to make deals. It was proved that specific population groups (young or elderly people, disabled people) are especially prone to consumer risks due to their age or physiologic peculiarities. People from such groups are too gullible and usually unable to adequately estimate all the consequences of a deal they have just made; they can also have limited physical abilities to fulfill their right to cancel a deal they made in due time.

Having performed this research, the author came to a conclusion that it is advisory to spot out specific groups of "vul-nerable" consumers in order to protect their rights in a more proper way; it is necessary to supplement legislation on consumer rights protection with specific norms which can help to protect their rights and legitimate interests. As all the EEU countries are now trying to integrate their development processes, common grounds and approaches to national legislation development should be found in international legal acts adopted by the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU).

consumer, consumer behavioral risks, consumer protection, disabled people, elderly people, under-age people, consumer risks, risk assessment, vulnerability, the Eurasian Economic Union legislation
Osaulenko L.N. Vulnerability as a specific category of consumer risk. Health Risk Analysis, 2018, no. 3, pp. 24–30. DOI: 10.21668/health.risk/2018.3.03.eng
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