Issues Associated with My Consumption

Objective :

  • Teach students about consumer rights;
  • List the areas of intervention governed by the Consumer Protection Act;
  • Explain the roles of organizations and institutions that can tell consumers more about their rights and obligations;
  • Raise awareness about the resources available to consumers to ensure their rights are respected.

       

Description :

Students learn more about and reflect on various consumer topics of interest to young people through research on credible websites, then present the information they find to other students.

Equipment :

            Introduction :

            To introduce the topic of consumption, the teacher may show students short videos from the Web, like the following:

            Video 1: Cancelling an Online Purchase (time: 2 min 03 s)

            www.youtube.com/watch

            Video 2: Built-in obsolescence (time: 1 min 17 s)

            www.youtube.com/watch

            Showing these videos is meant to help students understand that consumption is a topic that affects them and that, as consumers, it's important for them to know their rights, find out more, and ask questions. The teacher asks the following questions:

            • What theme connects the videos you just viewed?
            • How does this information affect you?
            • Have you ever had to sign a contract? If so, under what circumstances? Did you read the entire contract? Did you understand it?
            • Do you feel that you know your rights as a consumer?
            • What can you do to find out more about these rights?
            • What do you do before you pay for a service or a good?

            Instructions :

            1. Class discussion

            The teacher explains to students that they will have to do Internet research to prepare a presentation on a topic related to youth consumption. To ensure that students use reliable Internet sites for their research, the teacher begins by encouraging students to reflect on the credibility of online sources.

            Where relevant, the teacher conducts a class discussion in which he or she asks them about the meaning of the word credibility and the criteria that can establish the credibility of an online source. A tool is available to help the teacher lead this discussion.

            2. Browsing resource sites

            Now that students are aware of how important it is to check the credibility of online sources, the teacher invites them to browse various credible websites on consumption, particularly on consumer rights and recourses. To keep the students active as they browse websites, he or she can ask them a question for every site they visit. The first student to find the answer on the site raises his or her hand and shares the information with the class. The teacher may also choose to give students the list of websites and the related questions and to assign them this task as homework.

            www.opc.gouv.qc.ca/en/home/: The Office de la protection du consommateur is an agency of the Government of Québec. It interacts with merchants to make sure that they respect their obligations towards consumers. Its involvement focuses on helping consumers make sound choices and on keeping consumers informed of their rights, obligations and possible recourses should they run into problems with a merchant.

            • How can you determine whether a merchant has received a formal notice or been fined?
            • Answer: Home > Section dedicated to consumers > Type in a merchant’s name under Get information about a merchant > Click on 

            www.educaloi.qc.ca/en: Éducaloi is a registered charity whose mission is to inform Quebecers about the law by providing legal information in everyday language.

            • What does jurisprudence mean?
            • Answer: Home > Glossary > Letter J > Jurisprudence: “Also called case law. It refers to all of the decisions made courts. Jurisprudence clarifies the meaning of the law and guides judges who must decide similar cases in the future.”

            www.adstandards.com/: Advertising Standards Canada (ASC) is committed to ensuring the integrity and viability of advertising in Canada through industry self-regulation.

            • What does the Canadian Code of Advertising Standards say about advertising to minors?
            • Answer: Home > The Code > The Code’s clauses > “Products prohibited from sale to minors must not be advertised in such a way as to appeal particularly to persons under legal age, and people featured in advertisements for such products must be, and clearly seen to be, adults under the law.”

            3. Team research

            The teacher separates the class into teams of four students. Each team draws or chooses a topic related to youth consumption.

            TOPICS

            STUDENTS

            Purchase and repair of a used car

             

            Mobile phone contracts

             

            Prepaid cards

             

            Internet purchases

             

            Price accuracy policy and advertising of all-inclusive prices

             

            Advertising, contests, and solicitation

             

            Debt collection

             

            Courses and entertainment tickets

             

            Exchanges and refunds

             

            4. Presentation

            Once they have their topic, the teams conduct research on websites they visited earlier in class or on other sites of their choice. Students write down the relevant information, then fill out the Student Worksheet. Click here to see an example of a completed Student Worksheet.

            Once the research time is up, the students prepare a two- to five-minute presentation so they can share the information they have found on their topic. The teacher can decide how students will present their content or leave that decision up to them: interview, sketch, PowerPoint presentation, posters, etc. The teacher may even decide to organize a mini-consumer fair for the class, for which each team would prepare an information station on their topic. One by one, the students would be invited to visit each booth. In doing so, they learn about the various topics and get a chance to ask questions of each team's presenter.

            Every presentation should include the following elements:

            • An introduction
            • A presentation of the selected topic
            • What the law says about this topic
            • Tips for other students
            • Useful resources associated with the topic
            • Two or more questions to ask other students to gauge their understanding
            • A conclusion

            Conclusion :

            Once the presentations are over, the teacher leads a short discussion to find out what students think about the activity and to highlight the important points.

            • What caught your attention?
            • What might be useful to you in the future?
            • In your opinion, are there other consumer topics relevant to you and that could have been explored?

             

            Reinvestment activity

            Students can create print documents (posters or folders) on the topics explored during the activity, then distribute them at school, or even set up an information booth over the lunch period. This would allow other students at the school to learn about their rights and responsibilities when it comes to consumption on topics relevant to them.

            Additional resources

            cavautlecout.telequebec.tv [in French only]: Website of the French-language television show Ça vaut le coût, which gives lots of practical tips for making truly informed decisions. Contributors try out a whole range of products and services.

            www.competitionbureau.gc.ca/eic/site/cb-bc.nsf/eng/home: Website of the Competition Bureau, an independent law enforcement agency mandated to ensure that Canadian businesses and consumers prosper in a competitive and innovative market.

            www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/oca-bc.nsf/eng/home: The Office of Consumer Affairs (OCA) protects Canadian consumers and promotes their interests. It ensures that consumers contribute to the development of government policy and participate in the market effectively. The OCA conducts studies and analyses on consumer market issues, identifies important consumer issues, and develops and publishes consumer awareness tools and information.