Display Prices and the Consumer Protection Act No. 68 of 2008

The Consumer Protection Act No. 68 of 2008 (“Act”) focuses on display prices in order to protect consumers from suppliers who tend to mislead the consumers through incorrectly marketed pricing.

The Act defines “price” as follows –

price, when used in relation to—

(a) a representation required to be displayed, includes any mark, notice or visual representation that may reasonably be inferred to indicate or express an association between any goods or services and the value of the consideration for which the supplier is willing to sell or supply those goods or services; or

(b) the consideration for any transaction, means the total amount paid or payable by the consumer to the supplier in terms of that transaction or agreement, including any amount that the supplier is required to impose, charge or collect in terms of any public regulation.”

There is a duty on suppliers to inform consumers of the prices of goods and services and to adhere to the following principles:

  • the retailer (supplier) must display the price in relation to the goods; and
  • the supplier must not charge different prices for any goods or services to any persons or category of persons.

A price is adequately displayed if the price is expressed in the currency of the Republic of South Africa and if it is:

  • annexed or affixed or otherwise applied to the goods;
  • in any way represented in a manner from which it may reasonably be inferred that the price represented is the price applicable to the goods and services in question, or
  • in relation to goods published in a catalogue or brochure wherein a time is displayed from which the goods will not be available at the price indicated.

If a price is displayed which contain a obvious error the suppliers is not bound by it after correcting the error in the displayed price, and taking reasonable steps in the circumstances to inform consumers to whom the erroneous price may have been displayed of the error and the correct price.

In conclusion the supplier must at all times ensure that the correct price is displayed when advertising or marketing goods.

02 February 2011