Business Building and Customer Relationships
Business organizations usually possess more information about the markets of their products or services. Thus, the power to conquer the consumers. In some instances, there are businesses which use this information to their advantage. They may try to exploit the consumers through distributing substandard goods and services. Perhaps through the adulteration of goods. There is also the aspect of consumer ignorance; which usually creates an advantage for a business. To be tempted to commit some business malpractices against the consumers.
Organizations may try to take advantage of the facts that most consumers have limited knowledge; about their rights as buyers. As well as the fact that consumers in most countries; especially developing ones; are largely unorganized. Then, business organizations can easily get away with such malpractices.
This calls for various consumer bodies to be implemented
For the concerned government institutions to have advocacies; which can help address the right of consumers against unscrupulous dealers. Such bodies should act as oversight against the exploitation of buyers. And help them to seek redress. In case they face any malpractices.
In my life, I never thought; that there could come a time when I would take an advocacy role against exploitation of the society by business organizations. It all started back in 2007, when some foreign companies were licensed to mine uranium back in my rural home. It was the best news for the locals. This is because that meant that the youth would eventually benefits from jobs. Also the society at large was to greatly benefits by establishing a business. As well as from any other social corporate contribution; from the two companies. They were mining uranium.
Protecting Consumers against Exploitation
However, these didn’t go the way that we expected. Although most of the youth were given jobs; there was a great deal of problem with the mining companies. The companies didn’t practice any moral values and were very unethical. They paid poorly and also totally disregarded the health and safety of the workers in the mines. There didn’t provide foolproof gear; which could protect the youth from exposure to the hazardous chemicals and gases from the mines.
Also there was reason enough; to believe that the surrounding community was being too exposed to hazardous emission of the chemicals. Disposal of waste materials was something to be concerned about too. The reason was because it wasn’t done properly. Therefore, some of the residents felt that the environment was being abused. It was the community; which would be left to suffer for ages; long after the companies finished their operations and left.
That where I was called in by a group of friends. At that time I was working in the city. The community member who called upon me to join them in the fight. I felt that I would have a lot of impact. Because of that, I was a ‘journalist’. Okay, I wasn’t much of a journalist; because I was a photographer. But still there was a lot that I could help in.
The first time I met with leaders and members of the community
We started addressing the plight of the environment and also that of our youth. Something had to be hastily done to address the situation. We arranged a meeting with the representatives of the two companies. The meeting was held successfully. A few others followed. We wanted to work together harmoniously to address the abnormalities.
However, things weren’t going according to plan. Various senior public official had vested interests in the companies. As well as in their quest to maximize profits. They weren’t ready to change much. About 8 months, down the line; we realized that we were just chasing mirage. Not much was going to be done. The people; who we had entrusted our resources to; were just exploiting them without benefiting the community.
Developing Strategies to Curb Business Malpractices
That is when I teamed up with some members of the community and formed a lobby group. That would provide us with the best avenues to fight for our rights. At first it looked like it would be a futile fight. Even our local leaders seemed compromised. They didn’t quite ‘join’ us. But we vowed not to be intimidated. Or to bow low.
We started by taking our fight to the media. Even though we were given low airtime; we never gave up. We tried all we could. Also called for other organizations to help us in the fight. Fortunately, one local NGO had our cries and joined us.
The organization had resources
Thus, they helped elevate our cries. They carried out various tests and studies; to authenticate the fact that safety and health of the youth working in the mines; and the community at large was at stake. This is because of the mining. The more positive the results were; the more momentum we got. Eventually, the more other organizations supported us.
Suddenly, the force grew too strong. The government had to intervene to find a solution as people in the community started staging demos. A special task force body was formed by the government; to investigate and remedy the matter. It wasn’t long before the two companies had their licenses revoked; pending implementation of better safety practices. The fight was won.