The National Consumer Commission (NCC) is preparing its papers in an application against a group of companies selling controversial ‘share analysis software’.

The regulator will be asking the National Consumer Tribunal to rule that the companies have contravened multiple sections of the Consumer Protection Act, says a Moneyweb report.

These companies sell the Optimal Market Systems software. They are all staffed and managed by the same people, and owned by either Lucas or Lorien van der Merwe.

They claim the products will guarantee success in trading on the stock market, with returns of 40% in six months.

The Van der Merwe husband-and-wife team have serially registered new companies over many years, but all of them do the same thing, and most of them share a registered address in Hatfield, Pretoria.

Moneyweb says its investigations identified dozens of unhappy consumers who were promised high returns and money-back guarantees by company salespeople.

However, the software they are sold is only an analysis tool and does not allow them to trade on the JSE.

Those who attempt to return it for the promised refund are inevitably turned away. The NCC has confirmed that it is set to seek action against the companies.

Acting commissioner Thezi Mabuza indicated that the regulator will be asking the tribunal to rule that the companies contravened sections of the Consumer Protection Act that give consumers the right to return products during a cooling off period and receive a refund, and that certain provisions in their sales contracts deprived consumers of their rights under the Act.

Moneyweb says it requested comment from the implicated companies through their lawyer, but no response was forthcoming.

Full Moneyweb report