CONSUMER PROTECTION ACT OF SOUTH AFRICA
CONSUMER PROTECTION ACT 68 OF 2008
The Consumer Protection Act 68 of 2008 aims to provide protection to consumers in terms of goods or services that are delivered or rendered by a provider during the course of business.
Who is a “Consumer?”
A consumer, as defined by the ACT is a person to whom goods and services are being marketed, who enter into a transaction with a supplier thereof, for the purchase of goods.
The aim of the Act is to promote, protect and advance the social welfare of consumers in South Africa. In order to achieve this objective, the Act established a legal framework for maintaining a fair accessible market place for consumers, in order to reduce the disadvantages that consumers experienced in accessing quality goods or services. The Act further established a framework to protect consumers from unfair trade practices. If you feel that you have been treated unfairly or require legal advice on how to pursue your matter, you can make use of your Yambu Legal Policy!
Chapter 2 of the Consumer Protection Act
of the Act introduces a formal set of consumer rights into law by referring to eight specific consumer rights, namely the right to:
- Equality in the consumer market: Provides that a supplier or a service provider must not unfairly exclude a person or a class of people from accessing the goods or services provided. This right provides that the service provider or supplier must not discriminate a consumer on any grounds that are listed in Section 9 of the Constitution. Therefore, the form of Right protects consumers from unfair discriminatory marketing.
- Privacy: Relates to the direct marketing, in that, a consumer has the right of privacy, which includes the right to accept, refuse or block any communication that is primarily for the purposes of direct marketing, which no fee may be charged or demanded from the consumer for registering, deregistering or blocking direct marketing. It also states, that a supplier of a service provider may not engage into direct marketing with a consumer at home for promotional purposes unless the consumer expressly requests it.
- Choose: As a consumer, you have the right to choose a supplier for the goods you wish to purchase or a service provider to render services. This right also includes consumers to have the right to choose the products and goods they wish to purchase and to examine such goods after purchasing. Consumers have the right to reject products that do not correspond with the examined samples.
- Disclosure and information: Consumers have the right to be given information in plain and understandable language. Consumers also have the right to demand agreements, contracts, sale recordings and any other documents relating to the goods purchased or services that will be rendered to the consumer in a language that he or she understands.
- Fair and responsible marketing: A consumer has the right to fair marketing in relation to agreements initiated by a consumer in a form of a fax or through telephonic call of which it cannot be inspected by the consumer. The service provider must disclose the following information to the consumer: Registered name and licence number, addresses and contact details, sale records, currency for sales, delivery arrangements, and policy regarding refunds, exchange and cancellations, instructions on how to lodge a complaint or claim.
- Fair and honest dealing: This provides consumers with the right to deal with suppliers or services providers that are authorised by law to sell.
- Fair, just and reasonable terms and conditions: Consumers have the right to be provided with the terms and conditions for the purchase of goods and services in a language that would be understood by the consumer. The consumer must be told of such terms and conditions in a case of a sale initiated telephonically by the supplier.
- Fair value, good quality and safety: Right to demand quality services. Consumers have the right to timely performance and completion of services by the supplier and to be provided with notice of any unavoidable delays in completion of the service.
The Consumer Protection Act applies to every transaction that occurs in South Africa, which relates to goods and services being supplied.
However, the Consumer Protection Act does not apply to the following:
- Goods or services supplied by the state;
- Credit agreements in terms of the National Credit Act;
- Services under employment act and;
- Agreements concerning collective bargaining as contemplated in the Labour Relations Act.
Where to lodge a complaint against an infringed Right:
The establishment of the National Consumer Commission is a body that is assigned to investigate consumer complaints as well as National Consumer tribunal.
As such, the Act gives rise to the establishment of the National Consumer Commission, a body assigned to investigate consumer complaints. As well as the National Consumer Tribunal, the latter of which was created by the National Credit Act in September 2006, and is responsible for the adjudication of violations and transgressions of the National Credit Act and the Consumer Protection Act.
ACTS: Consumer Protection Act 68 of 2008