The Consumer Protection Act, No. 68 of 2008, outlines South African consumer rights as well as the designated responsibility towards the consumer by businesses. Instituted in 2009, this legislation ensures the protection of active consumers and makes it a need for businesses to abide by certain guidelines to operate.
It aims to:
- Promote a fair, accessible and sustainable marketplace for consumer products and services;
- Establish national norms and standards to ensure consumer protection;
- Make provision for improved standards of consumer information, to prohibit certain unfair marketing and business practices;
- Promote responsible consumer behaviour;
- Promote a consistent legislative and enforcement framework, related to consumer transactions and agreements;
- Establish the National Consumer Commission; and
- Replace, in a new and simplified manner, existing provisions from five acts, including the Consumer Affairs (Unfair Business Practices) Act of 1988; Trade Practices Act of 1976;Sales and Service Matters Act of 1964; Price Control Act of 1964; and Merchandise Marks Act of 1941 (specifically Sections 2-13, and 16-17).
The Consumer Protection Act applies to the following:
- Every transaction occurring within the Republic of South Africa;
- Promotion or supply of any goods and services occurring within the Republic; and
- Goods or services that are supplied or performed, in the Republic, in terms of transactions mentioned in the Act
The Act is not applicable in respect of:
- Goods or services promoted or supplied to the state;
- Industry-wide exemption being granted to regulatory authorities;
- Credit agreements, in terms of the National Credit Act, but not goods or services;
- Services under employment contracts;
- Agreements giving effect to collective bargaining agreements; and
- Agreements giving effect to bargaining agreements (Section 213 of the Labour Relations Act).
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