Areas of Law and Guides
Consumer Protection Law
Consumer Protection Law
What benefit will you or your business gain from the new Consumer Protection Act in South Africa? How will you be protected if you purchase faulty, broken or defective goods? Can you return the goods to the supplier or shop? Are you entitled to require that the goods be repaired? Can you return the goods and demand a complete refund of your money?
The new Consumer Protection Act is going to have a huge impact on virtually every business in South Africa. Are you covered?
Most recent Consumer Protection Law Articles posted
The Black Sash Trust says it is disappointed by the court’s decision to refuse its application for leave to appeal an earlier ruling which allowed Net1 to deduct money from the accounts of social grant beneficiaries, notes a report on the IoL site. In May, the Gauteng High Court (Pretoria) ruled against the order by the Department of Social Development and Sassa to stop Net1 from allowing deductions from accounts of grant beneficiaries.
The Consumer Tribunal has dismissed the National Credit Regulator’s (NCR’s) complaint against Lewis Stores relating to the retailer’s club fees and extended warranties. A Business Day report says the judgment has been met with dismay by a consumer group and the NCR is planning to launch an appeal.
Retailer Mr Price was referred yesterday to the National Consumer Tribunal by the National Credit Regulator (NCR) for being in breach of the National Credit Act, says a Fin24 report. This followed an investigation by the NCR, which revealed that Mr Price charged consumers a club fee on credit agreements, the regulator said.
A Consumer Commission inquiry into the ‘vacation ownership/timeshare industry’ launched yesterday will include a review of all legislation, policies and codes applicable to the promotion, rental, sale, re-sale, swap’ and reservation of timeshares.
The club fee charged by Edcon to its credit customers has been found to be unlawful and in contravention of the National Credit Act (NCA), notes a TimesLIVE report. The National Consumer Tribunal’s judgment followed an investigation by the National Credit Regulator (NCR)‚ which found Edcon charged consumers a club fee on credit agreements. ‘It is now settled that the charging of a club fee on credit agreements is not permitted by the NCA‚’ said Jacqueline Peters‚ manager of investigations and enforcement at the NCR.
Consumers, you now have more rights than ever! The Consumer Protection Act was promulgated by the President of South Africa on 29 April 2009 and is now in full force and effect as of 1 April 2011. Almost every inhabitant of this country is invariably a consumer and the Consumer Protection Act is here to protect you. Your consumer rights are actually embodied in one of the world’s most liberal pieces of legislation, the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, Act 108 of 1996. Consumer rights are inextricably linked to your right to human dignity and equality. Section 9 of the Constitution states that national legislation must be enacted to prevent unfair discrimination. The Consumer Protection Act is therefore a reinforcement of your rights contained in the Constitution and it affords you a more user-friendly approach in seeking redress of consumer violations. If you are doubting whether you are a consumer, note that a consumer means “user, buyer, purchaser, customer, shopper, client.”
Ford broke the law when it failed to tell the National Consumer Commission (NCC) of Kuga owner Reshall Jimmy’s death – and potentially jeopardised public safety by not telling the motor industry ombudsman. ‘It is clear that Ford was obliged to inform the commission of Jimmy’s death. They failed to do so. It has failed to comply with the law,’ Colonel Rozelle Kruger‚ a legal officer in the Western Cape Police Commissioner’s Office, is quoted as saying in a BusinessLIVE report.
The Consumer Commission is considering a ‘flood’ of complaints against Ford after the decision to recall the 1.6 Ford Kuga Ecoboost, says a Beeld report. The complaints are not limited to the Kuga. Spokesperson Trevor Hattingh said the majority of complaints are about burnt out vehicles and proposed action against Ford, and also proposals about what role the commission is supposed to play in terms of the Consumer Protection Act.
Lewis Group has dismissed allegations of wrongdoing relating to the practice of cancelling credit transactions in default and re-invoicing them as cash sales, saying this did not affect provisions for future bad debt. A Business Day report says in an interlocutory application that will be heard in the High Court tomorrow, Lewis has applied to have a request for detailed information on this practice denied.
On 13 September 2016, the Constitutional Court handed down judgment in a matter concerning an application for confirmation of an order of invalidity made by the Western Cape Division of the High Court and an appeal against certain parts of that order that declared certain specified words in section 65J(2) of the Magistrates’ Courts Act (Act) inconsistent with the Constitution and invalid to the extent that they fail to provide for judicial oversight over the issuing of an emoluments attachment order against a judgment debtor.
This week’s Constitutional Court judgment to change the management of emolument attachment orders (EAOs) is regarded as a ‘100% win’ for indebted people, according to Odette Geldenhuys, a senior associate at Webber Wentzel. A Fin24 report notes Geldenhuys is the pro bono attorney for the applicants who initially brought the case in the Western Cape High Court last year.
Almost R2m emolument attachment orders could be affected by a Constitutional Court judgment due to be delivered today, says a Business Day report. It adds the ground-breaking case was originally heard in the Western Cape High Court in February 2015, and it challenges the constitutionality of the process of granting emolument attachment orders in the context of unsecured lending.
You challenge the accuracy of a services account from your local municipality, thus: “Your meter must be wrong, no way was my consumption that high”. The reply: “We’ve tested the meter and it works fine. Pay up or face disconnection”. Off to court you go. Can you “fight city hall” and who has to prove what? There’s good news here for consumers in a recent High Court decision in Euphorbia (Pty) Ltd t/a Gallagher Estates v City of Johannesburg dealing with just such a situation.
Mass stores – the owners of Game – has been interdicted from trading as a supermarket selling fresh foods, fruit and vegetables in the Mthatha Plaza Shopping Centre, notes a Daily Dispatch report. Shoprite Checkers took on Game in the Eastern Cape High Court (Grahamstown) after it was clear it intended to start selling fresh produce, which contravened an exclusivity clause in Shoprite’s lease contract with Plaza’s landlord Whirlprops. In terms of that lease, Shoprite has the right to operate as a supermarket to the exclusion of any other tenant.
Two High Court judges have emerged as front-runners to become the next Public Protector in October when Thuli Madonsela leaves office, according to a Business Day assessment of this weekâ€™s meeting of Parliamentâ€™s special committee, which reduced a list of 64 nominees to 14. It says ANC MP Bongani Bongo got the ball rolling by nominating Western Cape High Court Judge Siraj Desai and Gauteng High Court (Pretoria) Judge Sharise Weiner to head the short-list. The DAâ€™s James Selfe objected to Desaiâ€™s inclusion, arguing he had a record of highly political judgments, in one of which he ruled for the ANC and against the DA.
Almost every business in the world is going to experience a time when a customer fails, refuses or neglects to pay an invoice, and the business is then left with a bad debt in their books. The issuing of a legal letter of demand is traditionally the first step taken in order to recover that bad debt from the customer, and is sometimes a prerequite step before you can commence legal proceedings against the customer in a Court of law.
Pyramid schemes are in the news again. They are easy to fall for, with not only desperate pensioners and low-wage earners but also Captains of Industry and many otherwise-savvy investors regularly tricked into "investing" in them. The reason of course is that the con artists behind these schemes are adept at hiding their true nature, coming up like clockwork with ever more creative cover stories to lure the unwary.
At some point in one's life you are requested to provide certain FICA documentation, normally to your bank or to a conveyancing attorney as part of a property transaction. There is a lot of uncertaintyÂ regarding what documents are needed, especially when it comes to FICA documents for a minor, a non-resident individual, an estate late, a trust, a company, a non-resident company, a close corporation, a partnership, or an unincorporated entity.
If you are a bank (or other lender), or if you have borrowed money against your property and are facing financial difficulty, you need to know about a recent High Court decision declaring that a bank's loans to a farming couple had been granted "recklessly", setting aside the loans, and cancelling the mortgage bonds.
What is said below does not pertain to those property sales where the very robust buyer protections in the CPA (Consumer Protection Act) apply. Generally speaking the CPA applies only where the seller is selling "in the ordinary course of business" (a property developer for example), and most private sales will fall outside of the ambit of the CPA. That whole question is however a big topic on its own which we will deal with in a future article.