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Consumer Protection Law

Consumer Protection Law

Consumer protection laws are designed to protect consumers by ensuring, amongst other things, the free flow of truthful information in the marketplace. These laws are aimed at preventing businesses from engaging in fraudulent or unfair business practices and thereby gaining an unfair advantage over competitors and/or customers. This area of law aims to provide protection for laypersons unfamiliar with their legal rights and in an unequal bargaining position to that of big business.

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

Banks sued for R60bn over home repossessions

More than 225 applicants, mostly from Gauteng townships, have launched a suit in the Constitutional Court, claiming damages from the big banks for home repossession abuse. A GroundUp report says the applicants are claiming R60bn from the banks for unlawful repossession of homes since the Constitution came into effect in 1994.

Ombud refers pensioner’s Sharemax complaint to court

A pensioner who invested in various property syndication schemes promoted and marketed by Sharemax Investments and Propspec, and was seeking the repayment of R1.54m he invested and lost in these schemes, has had his complaint referred to court. Pieter Taljaard filed eight complaints with the Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services (Fais) Ombud in 2012 on the investments, according to a report in The Sunday Indpendent.

Commission told of timeshare tricks and traps

Consumers locked into contracts ‘for life’, unable to sell timeshare points or give them away to escape spiralling levy costs, and others who alleged exploitation by unscrupulous salespeople, presented their cases to the National Consumer Commission (NCC) in Durban yesterday.

Unclear contract thrown out in claims against estate

A Durban businessman who died in a hail of bullets while driving a courtesy car from Land Rover has posthumously emerged victorious in a claim against his estate that he is liable for the full value, about R560 000, of the bullet-riddled car, says a News24 report. In a recent judgment, KZN High Court Judge Dhaya Pillay cautioned that contracts – in particular those, as in this case, which were signed on the bonnet of a car – must be clear and uncomplicated and must accord with the law and the provisions of the Consumer Protection Act and not hidden in tiny print.

Infinite timeshare contracts are main complaint

The perpetuity of timeshare contracts that cannot be cancelled was the dominant complaint at public hearings held yesterday in Cape Town. A Business Day report says the hearings were conducted by the National Consumer Commission (NCC) inquiry into the timeshare or holiday club industry. People complained that their timeshare contracts could potentially last forever and they could not get rid of them long after they stopped enjoying the benefits of timeshare.

NCC hopes for single law for timeshare industry

The National Consumer Commission (NCC) is hoping that its public hearings into the timeshare industry will give rise to a single law to ‘effectively and comprehensively’ regulate the industry and give consumers the right to participate in the affairs of holiday club schemes. A Business Day report says NCC commissioner Ebrahim Mohamed has appealed to consumers to take part in the public inquiry process, which moves to Cape Town this week.

Your Property Sale Agreement: Be Careful How It’s Worded!

Here’s yet another reminder from our courts on how important it is – if you want to avoid the trials of litigation – for you to have your property sale agreement drawn up professionally.  One thing it must do, as the case in question clearly shows, is record the terms of your agreement precisely and without any room for argument. This High Court case in Phepeng and Another v Estate Late Ame Combrinck and Others revolved around a “bond clause” in a sale agreement. 

Timeshare inquiry under way

The inquiry into timeshare investment will get to the bottom of the issues raised by complainants, is the assurance from Consumer Commissioner Ebrahim Mohamed as the National Consumer Commission’s (NCC) first round of public hearings into the timeshare industry got under way.

Disappointment at court decision on grants deductions

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.

Tribunal dismisses Lewis club fees complaint

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.

Mr Price in trouble over club fee charges

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.

Consumer Commission launches timeshare inquiry

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.

Edcon club fee charge unlawful – tribunal

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 enforce your rights!

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 law on car owner's death – police

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.

Commissioner mulls Ford complaints

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 to defend bad debt practice

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.

Garnishee Orders: A 7-Point Practical Guide to New Rules for Lenders, Debtors and Employer

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.

EAOs ruling a 100% win for indebted

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.

ConCourt to rule on forced wage deductions

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.

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