Consumer protection laws end up getting controlled by corporate interests.
A jury sided with Minute Maid, which will probably cause many to call for more consumer protection laws. But the lawsuit against Coca-Cola, which owns Minute Maid, actually demonstrates the opposite—we don’t need consumer protection laws to ensure quality. Nor does a company have to lose a lawsuit to be stopped.
The lawsuit was brought against Coca-Cola by POM, which sells a pomegranate juice. The company claims that the Minute Maid drink deceived customers. The “Pomegranate-Blueberry Juice” was only .3 percent real pomegranate juice.
Along with their lawsuit, POM got to create some scorching advertising against the Minute Maid drink.
Nevertheless, as Newser reported, the jury found that Coca-Cola had done nothing wrong.
But this doesn’t mean that consumer protection laws are the answer. We have consumer protection laws already, and that did nothing to stop Coca-Cola. In fact, consumer protection laws do the opposite: as demonstrated in the video above by the lady who asks if what Coke is doing is even legal. Consumer protection laws give people a false sense of security. They assume they can trust the government will take care of them, when actually the government is often highly influenced or even controlled by corporations like Coca-Cola.
On the other hand, even though POM lost their court case, they spread knowledge about what Coca-Cola was doing. As a competing drink with more pomegranate, they had an incentive to educate consumers. Coca-Cola also made sure that consumers learned that POM uses concentrate.
In the resulting melee, consumers could make up their own minds.
The point here is that market forces and common law courts are more than adequate to provide a system that protects consumers. It doesn’t work perfectly, of course, but it is much better than authorizing a government agency to dictate quality standards.
Coca-Cola discontinued the drink in 2014. I suspect POM’s attack contributed to that outcome.