The new National Consumer Protection Act came into effect on 1 April 2011. It has far reaching consequences for business and consumers alike.
According to the Department of Trade and Industry, the purpose of the Act is to:
To promote and advance the social and economic welfare of consumers in South Africa by:
- Establishing a legal framework for the achievement of a fair, accessible, responsible and sustainable market;
- Reducing any disadvantages experienced in accessing the supply of goods and services by low income, low literacy, rural and vulnerable consumers;
- Promoting fair business practices;
- Protecting consumers from unfair and deceptive conduct;
- Improving consumer awareness;
- Providing for an accessible, efficient and effective system of redress;
The metro`s are not excluded from the Act. One of the first complaints received in terms of the Act was about the so-called Joburg metro billing crises. Complaints are dealt with by the newly formed Consumer Commission. They received more than 400 complaints in the first four days since 1 April (iol.co.za). According to iol.co.za, three sectors will be the first targeted by the Commission. These are information and communications technology (ICT); manufacturing and retail; and health care and pharmaceuticals.
Want to complain, contact the Department of Trade and Industry’s National Consumer Commission, previously the Office of Consumer Protection, at 0861 843 384, fax 012 394 2558,
e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or write to: The DTI, National Consumer Commission, Consumer Complaints, Private Bag X84, Pretoria 0001
Complaint forms can be downloaded at http://www.dti.gov.za/ccrd/complaint forms.htm
For more on the Act and consumer guidelines click on the following documents...