Sample Business Paper on Should Businesses Be Liable When Customers Misuse Products They Provide? Yes

Deficiencies marring product liability law have sparked a heated global debate. Pro-manufacturers arguments posit that a manufacturer’s responsibility ends when a consumer freely chooses to buy a product, an action that inevitably carries consequences. Contrariwise, consumer activists praise tort law as an essential tool for political empowerment. Businesses must bear responsibility when customers misuse their products, as long as cause and effect can be proven; this motivates businesses to prioritize customer safety and grants to citizens a vital political power.

Manufacturers distance themselves from product liability because bearing full responsibility for misuse blunts competitive edge and is morally unjustifiable. They believe that product liability laws impede competition instead of deterring negligence, fraud, or breach of warranty. Relatedly, Goldberg and Zipursky (2010) speculate that even after a manufacturer has made a product free from any whiff of fault, the average consumer would tend towards a cheaper alternative and first-party insurance. Such lawsuits thus increase the cost of doing business, which translates to high product prices, recall of product lines, and withholding of potentially lifesaving discoveries. Also, it is morally wrong to punish an enterprise, in a supposedly free-market system, for not knowing and preventing all possible ways of misusing its product. For instance, it is unreasonable to hold the manufacturer liable if a consumer buys and uses a sword to decapitate an infant. Product liability law is flawed; however, even gross product misuse by consumers should not exonerate producers.

Thirty-four million people sustain injuries or die annually due to a product-related accident (Andre & Velasquez, 2015). Businesses and consumers should collaborate towards reducing these product-related tragedies; increasing the burden consumers must bear seems an improper approach. Conversely, the old-fashioned idea of a free market system disregards how woefully uninformed and poorly equipped consumers are, rendering “free choice” impracticable. Additionally, unlike consumers, manufactures have the financial capability, technical knowledge, human capital, and laboratories to assess the potential risks associated with a product. In the same vein, product misuse is easy to dismiss as a customer problem when, in reality, manufacturers fail to try hard enough to identify ways a product can harm a consumer and respond appropriately.

Product liability lawsuits remain vital regardless of whether, or not, a cause and effect are provable. According to Goldberg and Zipursky (2010), tort law empowers citizens politically by authorizing victims to demand a determination, or lack thereof, of victimization and recourse where appropriate. Tort law complements the right to speak, assemble, vote, and petition by granting a commoner the right to complain and a promise of a redress upon proving cause and effect. Limiting the circumstances under which an individual can hold business entities accountable, by default, disempowers citizens; it downplays their relevance in a complex constitutional structure for compelling the law to tend to general welfare without compromising citizens’ interests.

As the world waits for a consensus between manufacturers and consumers, this paper leans towards the latter. Customers lack the security that corporations enjoy from their immense resources. Accordingly, buyers need a legal avenue that allows them to compel businesses to take their safety concerns to heart. Customers already face a plethora of challenges in trying to prove a case of victimization, making it harder for them to get recourse could prove even disastrous.


Andre, C., & Velasquez, M. (2015, November 20). Who should pay? The product liability debate. Home – Santa Clara University. Retrieved March 30, 2020, from

Goldberg, J. C., & Zipursky, B. C. (2010). The easy case for products liability law: A response to professors polinsky and shavell. Harvard Law Review123(8), 1919-1948.