Buyer beware vs. public safety

Buyer beware vs. public safety March 21, 2012

This is my first March in many years in which I didn’t work in a newsroom, so I’ve been out of the loop as far as March Madness goes. As a result, I neglected to remind everyone of Consumerist’s annual March Madness ritual — voting on the Worst Company in America.

Here’s the Sweet 16.

Also from Consumerist, Chris Morran asks “Who Is to Blame When Car Dealer Sells $62K Nissan to Man With Dementia?

A woman in California has a brand new, extras-packed Nissan Murano convertible worth a whopping $62,130 sitting unused in her garage. Why? Because she says the car dealership should never have sold the vehicle to her husband, who has been diagnosed with dementia.

The woman, who has power of attorney over her husband’s finances, had actually been meeting with his brother to discuss long-term care options when he drove himself to the dealership and traded in his Altima Hybrid for the new car. She claims he didn’t attempt to negotiate with the salesman on anything, including the more than $10,000 in options.

That brings to mind a comment a while back from Robert S. Adler, Consumer Product Safety Commission commissioner:

My objection is that many of those who insist on cost-benefit analysis have no interest whatsoever in making regulation more focused and rational. In their world, costs to business are the only measure; benefits to consumers somehow never make it to the table. Unfortunately, that’s misleading and unfair. Someone always pays.

I read that via the Punning Pundit, who added:

The basic distinction between Left and Right is that to the Right, “caveat emptier” is the highest freedom. To the Left, freedom is only begun once caveat emptor is abolished. By placing the burden of regulation on producers, rather than the burden of injury or death on consumers, government is able to create a fairer, healthier society.

Yellow Dog drew a similar distinction recently, on “Dealing With What’s ‘Bad for You’“:

Liberals want to regulate bad things that individual people can’t stop on their own. Specifically, liberals want to stop corporations from harming Americans without their knowledge and outside their control. In other words, liberals want to restrict the freedom and liberty of corporations in order to increase the liberty and freedom of individuals.

… It’s individuals doing their own thing without hurting anyone else that conservatives can’t stand and are doing everything they can to eliminate. Conservatives want to restrict the freedom and liberty of individuals in order to increase the liberty and freedom – and profits – of corporations.

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