Consumer rights explained
25 Apr 2022
Safeguard and protect yourself against unfair practices in the marketplace
As consumers, we have rights when purchasing goods in-store and online. We help you understand these rights and provide you with the steps you can take to ensure that goods purchased meet your expectation.
Who is classified as a ‘consumer’?
Online shopping, darting through isles with a shopping cart or even getting that all too necessary haircut, all comes down to one simple reality, if you purchase products or services for personal, social, family or household needs, you are classified as a consumer.
What is the Consumer Protection Act?
The good news is that as a consumer you are protected by the Consumer Protection Act, which is a set of laws designed to guard your rights and to promote a fair, accessible and sustainable marketplace for consumer products and services.
So, if you’re like me with a slight, undiagnosed addiction to online shopping, you’re probably wondering what the Consumer Protection Act means for you. To put it plainly, it is a 94-page document purposing the advancement of the social and economic welfare of consumers in South Africa.
What are my rights as a consumer?
When it comes to purchasing goods and services, consumers have the right to be fully informed about everything there is to know about a product or service and not be misled by false information or inaccurate marketing.
Consumers are also entitled to seek redress in the form of a refund, repair, or replacement if the product or service is inferior or defective. What’s more important is that you as the consumer should know these rights because you are entitled to enforce them.
- Right to privacy
- Right to choose your product
- Right to fair and honest dealing
- Right to disclosure of information
- Right to fair and responsible marketing
- Right to accountability by suppliers
- Right to fair value, good quality and safety
- Right to fair, just and reasonable terms and conditions
- Right to equality in the consumer market and protection against discriminatory marketing
Can I lodge consumer complaints?
With such an expansive marketplace and with so many different trade avenues, it is possible that somewhere along the lines of consumerism, your rights as a consumer may be infringed. The Consumer Protection Act aims to promote consumer activism, as well as making available support for activities, such as advice, education, publications, research and alternative dispute resolution through mediation or conciliation.
As such, the Act gives rise to the establishment of the National Consumer Commission (NCC), a body assigned to investigate consumer complaints, and based on all the information and evidence, refer cases to be adjudicated by the National Consumer Tribunal. The NCC promotes finding an amicable resolution of complaints and doesn’t directly intervene to adjudicate disputes.
So how do I lodge a complaint with the NCC?
You can file a complaint with the NCC by filling out a complaint form on their website, or by calling (012) 428 7000. Emails can be sent to [email protected] or traditional mail to National Consumer Commission P.O. Box 36628 Menlo Park 0102.
Requirements for lodging a complaint
Before you lodge the complaint make sure you have all the required documents ready in order to complete the complaint.
- Always keep your receipts and correspondence with the supplier(s)
- Be sure to inspect goods for defects before purchasing
- Always report faulty goods or defective products within six months of buying
- Approach the supplier first to resolve a complaint
- Your next stop is the Provincial Consumer Protection Authority or the relevant Ombudsman scheme
- Lastly, approach the NCC with the reference number received from the authorities mentioned in number
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Article sourced from Legal&Tax.
See also:(This article is provided for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. For more information on the topic, please contact the author/s or the relevant provider.)