188.8.131.52 Prevention of Cheating
Prevention of cheating is essential for consumer confidence; suppliers benefit when people buy more goods and services.
Product and service descriptions need to be trustworthy. Although freedom of speech is regarded as morally desirable (4.4.6), it should not extend to permission to mislead customers on the value of products and services. Most countries have regulations to prevent that. On the other hand, if too much information has to be provided it can be confusing and expensive.
If people cannot have confidence in what they are buying, they will not buy as much – whether the products and services themselves are good or bad. They must have the right to return goods that aren’t satisfactory, and to recover the cost of purchase. They must also have the right to recover the cost of unsatisfactory services.
Firm economic regulation can help in the prevention of cheating, but suppliers can also use their reputations for honesty to gain an increased market share. An investigation of Early Modern Quakers’ Business Ethics reported that “The Quakers’ commercial success has been widely attributed to their business ethics”, for example. The same report noted that overall prosperity increased as a result of greater commercial confidence.
This page is intended to form part of Edition 4 of the Patterns of Power series of books. An archived copy of it is held at https://www.patternsofpower.org/edition04/3312.htm.