The Consumer Protection Act No. 68 of 2008 (“Act“) governs almost all sales of goods transactions and the delivery of services, which occur in South Africa where small corporate and individuals are the consumer. Therefore almost all retailer businesses, suppliers, manufacturers, professionals is effected, some more than others though.
What you need to do:
- Obtain advice to understand the application and the effect of the act on your business. This will to a large extend determined what actions are to be taken to ensure compliance.
If you are affected by the Act than you need to do the following:
- Arrange training for all your staff, especially your marketers and other people who deal directly with your customers.
- Compile a policy (manual) for your staff, and deal clearly with the specific issues relating to your business. Where necessary refer to practical case studies.
- If you are conducting direct marketing, understand exactly what your obligations are and the rights of the consumers.
- Review your contracts, terms and conditions, online terms, invoices, delivery notes, till slip; return policy –which is applicable on transactions between yourself and your consumers.
- Review your supplier agreements where suppliers provide goods to you, to understand your contractual liability and those of the suppliers.
- Tighten up on procedures; provide proper product training to staff.
- Ensure product descriptions (product labeling) are in plain language, true, and correct.
- Understand the risks regarding liability and the premature cancellation of fix term contracts.
- Review your product and professional liability insurance policies.
- Register your business trading name/s.
- Change your employees’ mind sets the way we were doing business have changes forever “The power moved from the shop owner to the consumer.”
Consumers have the right to demand quality service; the right to safe, good quality goods; implied warranties of quality; warranties on repaired goods and warnings concerning the fact and nature of risks pertaining to activities or facilities. The Act promote fair business practices protecting consumers from— unconscionable, unfair, unreasonable, unjust or otherwise improper trade practices; and deceptive, misleading, unfair or fraudulent conduct.
“South Africa’s new act says information must be presented in such a way that it is understood by someone with “minimal experience as a consumer of the relevant goods or services.” The concept of an “average consumer” no longer applies. –Article by Megan Power”
11 March 2011