Consumers are vulnerable to practices such as: inaccurate use of weights and measures; use of dangerous additives and preservatives in foodstuffs; lack of control of insecticides, pesticides and drug pre-testing; unsafe products (for example, unsafe toys, tyres, television sets and inflammable carpeting); fraudulent and misleading advertising; meaningless product guarantees and warranties; inadequate servicing and complaint handling facilities; inadequate indication of product quality, characteristics and degree of safety; lack of impartial testing services to evaluate and publicize the performance of competing products; uncontested price increases. The range of 'products' consumers can be abused on are: private goods such as cooking stoves; environmental goods like air and water systems; public services such as health or defence; government services in law making; tax-gathering and administration; and moral 'goods', for example the principle of protecting workers' health.
Since the completion of the common market in 1968, the free movement of goods and services in the EEC/EU means that 340 million consumers can choose from the broadest range of goods and services available anywhere in the world. This does not necessarily mean that consumers have been well-protected, informed and organized. Oversupply in a highly competitive market means increasingly that protective measures have to be taken to ensure uniform standards. This has the unfortunate by-product of overreaching cultural norms, reducing consumer responsibility and encouraging vendor malpractice in unregulated situations.