Legal Articles and Guides
Consumer Protection Law
Would you like a qualified Lawyer to assist you with your Consumer Protection Law question today? The new Consumer Protection Act is going to have a huge impact on virtually every business in South Africa. Are you covered? Would you like a qualified Lawyer to assist you with your Consumer Protection Law question today?
Despite the Constitutional Court’s landmark ruling on the illegality of certain practices in the administration of garnishee orders – made more than a year ago – activists claim that fee-gouging and fraudulent court orders are continuing unabated, according to Business Day. Lisinda Bailey, one of the applicants in the Western Cape High Court case on garnishee orders that was confirmed by the Constitutional Court, says her life was ruined by the irresponsible granting of credit and subsequent garnishees.
Home-owners who default on their bond payments should not despair as they will not lose their property if they pay before it is sold. The Star reports this was the message from Gauteng High Court (Pretoria) acting Judge JG Rautenbach, who said people often threw in the towel when they received an order that they had to repay the outstanding bond, as well as an order declaring that the property may be sold so that the bank could recover its losses.
The National Credit Regulator (NCR) has directed BMW to refund its customers for charging them an on-the-road fee on credit agreements, says a TimesLIVE report. The regulator said it was not aware what the fee was for as BMW did not explain when it inquired. The charges ranged from R3 000 to R6 000.
The SCA has overturned a High Court decision that had essentially rendered the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) toothless. A GroundUp report notes the SCA order was a settlement between the ASA and a company called Herbex, but it’s clear from the terms of the settlement that the ASA is the real winner in this case. The ASA is tasked with self-regulating advertising for the benefit of consumers.
POPI (the Protection of Personal Information Act) will provide welcome protection for our personal information – our names, ID numbers, addresses, medical histories and so on, but the other side of the coin is that it will expose small businesses in particular to a whole new raft of onerous obligations and risks.
A Cape Town car dealership has been ordered to refund a woman who bought a second-hand car in late 2015, only to have it break down a few days later. The National Consumer Tribunal found that Hanlie van Lill, of Kuilsriver, must be paid back the R61 450 she paid for her 2001 year model Volkswagen Passat, which broke down four days after she bought it, notes a Fin24 report.
Consumer protection, which includes being given access to a safe and dependable supply of food, is a fundamental requirement of any society. In transforming the South African food landscape, there have been gradual improvements to protect consumers, most notable with the advent of the Consumer Protection Act 68 of 2008. However, we still see unfit food products, especially in respect of mislabelled food products, reaching the store shelves.
Shoprite has been fined R1m for failing to assess properly whether consumers could afford its loans, says a Moneyweb report. The company – which had turnover in its last financial year of R141bn – was also ordered to appoint a debt counsellor at its own costs following what the National Credit Regulator (NCR) called ‘reckless lending’.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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