In plain sight


Would it be good for consumers if certain types of businesses were required to display a record of recent complaints against them or their overall customer satisfaction rating? I’m thinking about industries that typically have low satisfaction scores, like used car sales. While the idea sounds good on paper, my own experience suggests otherwise.

In particular, I once bought food from a restaurant that had failed its health department inspection. I didn’t notice the sign indicating this (which I assume the city makes them post) until after it was time to pay at the register, at which point I felt dumb for not looking for it earlier. I’m pretty sure other people made the same mistake, since the restaurant was quite busy and nobody even asked about the sign — let alone being deterred by it. Thus, I think any type of proactive consumer warning is going to be futile unless you invest equal time and money in training customers to look for the warning in the first place.