The South African Consumer Protection Act, No. 68 of 2008 was signed on 24 April 2009 and the purpose of the Act is to protect the interests of all consumers, ensure accessible, transparent and efficient redress for consumers who are subjected to abuse or exploitation in the marketplace and also to give effect to internationally recognised consumer rights. The Consumer Protection Act define a consumer as any person to whom goods and services are marketed, who is a user of the supplier’s goods, enters into a transaction with the supplier or service provider of any services and products.
If you have a complaint and the supplier won’t resolve it for you, you can complain to your provincial Consumer Affairs Office or the National Consumer Commission as well as other bodies.
The Consumer Protection Act:
- ensures that you are treated as an equal and protects you against discrimination in economic transactions.
- protects your privacy and ensures fair practice when goods or services are marketed to you.
- means you have the right to choose the agreements you enter into and continue with.
- gives you the right to the disclosure of information so that you can make informed choices.
- protects you against fraud and other dishonest practices.
- makes sure that you don’t have to agree to unfair conditions in the small print.
- allows you to return things which don’t work properly.
- protects you against goods and services that can harm you.
- makes suppliers compensate you if they have caused you a loss.
- ensures that you are educated on consumer issues and the results of your choices.
- makes it possible for you to form groups to promote your interests.
The Consumer Protection Act can help consumers in dealings which involve advertising, marketing, promoting, selling, supplying and delivering or repairing of goods and services in South Africa.
You are a consumer if you have made a deal with a supplier, for example, when you pay for goods or services, or if goods or services are marketed to you.
Goods include things, but also information and data and the licence to use it. Services include receiving advice or training you pay for, transport of people or goods, transactions at restaurants and hotels, entertainment and access to electronic communication. Employment relationships, credit agreements, deals between two private consumers and goods or services supplied to government do not fall under the Consumer Protection Act.
This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as legal or other professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your legal adviser for specific and detailed advice. Errors and omissions excepted (E&OE)