Consumer Protection Act
The Consumer Protection Act , 2008, (No 68 of 2008) was signed into law on 24 April 2009 and came into effect on 31 March 2011. The Act sets out the minimum requirements to ensure adequate consumer protection in South Africa. This Act constitutes an overarching framework for consumer protection, and all other laws which provides for consumer protection (usually within a particular sector) will need to be read with this Act to ensure a common standard of protection.
All suppliers of goods and services need to take note of the measures and ensure that they comply with the Act’s requirements.
Industry Consumer Goods and Services Ombud
The Consumer Goods and Services Ombud (CGSO ) (hyperlink - www.cgso.org.za)was accredited as the official dispute resolution scheme for the Consumer Goods and Services industry. The Ombud deals with complaints relating to all transactions under the Consumer Protection Act, other than transactions with the automotive industry, organs of state, financial institutions or entities regulated elsewhere. The CGSO operate in terms of the Consumer Goods and Services Industry Code, which requires all businesses within the industry to register with CGSO or face consequences under the Consumer Protection Act, including the imposition of administrative fines by the Tribunal.
The CGSO was accredited as the industry Ombud from 30 April 2015 and the Consumer Goods and Services Industry Code is effective from 30 April 2015.
Consumer Protection Act Threshold determination
The Minister of Trade and Industry has by notice in the Government Gazette No 34181, dated 1 April 2011 determined the monetary threshold to the size of the juristic person at R2 million..
The Consumer Protection Act therefore does not apply to a transaction where the consumer is a juristic person whose asset value or annual turnover, at the time of the transaction equals or exceeds the threshold value of R2 million.
Consumer Protection Act Regulations
The Minister of Trade and Industry has in terms of S120 (1) of the Consumer Protection Act, 2008 published the Consumer Protection Act Regulations in the Government Gazette No. 34180 dated 1 April 2011.
The Regulations provides information regarding following:
- dates and times that consumers may not be contacted for direct marketing purposes;
- product labelling and trade description requirements for certain textiles, clothing, shoes and leather goods;
- information to be disclosed by an intermediary as well as the records to be kept;
- reporting and record-keeping requirements for promotional competitions, as well as requirements regarding the fees to be charged where the competition is entered by SMS or MMS that exceeds the normal fee payable on the network;
- advertising of auctions in a manner that the general public has had an opportunity to become aware of the auction;
- detail regarding franchise agreements;
- the maximum period that a fixed term contract can be agreed on and the maximum cancellation fee that can be charged.