The Consumer Protection Act , 2008, (No 68 of 2008) was signed into law on 24 April 2009. The Act sets out the minimum requirements to ensure adequate consumer protection in South Africa. This Act constitutes an overarching framework for consumer protection, and all other laws which provides for consumer protection (usually within a particular sector) will need to be read with this Act to ensure a common standard of protection.
All suppliers of goods and services will need to take note of the new measures and ensure that they are able to comply with the Act’s requirements.
The Consumer Protection Act, 2008 came into effect on 31 March 2011.
The Minister of Trade and Industry has given notice on 14 March 2011 in the Government Gazette that the Consumer Protection Act application to municipalities, other than high capacity municipalities, will be deferred until further notice. This will have the implication that consumers cannot apply the protection of the Act to transactions with these municipalities.The Minister also gave notice on 27 June 2011 in the Government Gazette on the following exemptions:
- banks will be exempt from section 14 of the Act which deals with the expiry and renewal of fixed term agreements;
- the Pension Fund Industry will be exempt from certain sections of the Act for a period of 18 months from 1 April 2011;
- the Collective Investment Scheme Industry will be exempt from certain sections of the Act for a period of 18 months from 1 April 2011;
- the Security Services Industry will be exempt from certain sections of the Act indefinitely.
Industry Consumer Goods and Services Ombud launched on 1 March 2015
The Consumer Goods and Services Ombud (CGSO ) was accredited as the official dispute resolution scheme for the Consumer Goods and Services industry. The Ombud deals with complaints relating to all transactions under the Consumer Protection Act, other than transactions with the automotive industry, organs of state, financial institutions or entities regulated elsewhere. The CGSO will operate in terms of the Consumer Goods and Services Industry Code, which requires all businesses within the industry to register with CGSO or face consequences under the Consumer Protection Act, including the imposition of administrative fines by the Tribunal. www.cgso.org.za
The CGSO is accredited as the industry ombud from 30 April 2015 and the Consumer Goods and Services Industry Code is also effective from 30 April 2015.
Consumer Protection Act Threshold determination
The Minister of Trade and Industry has by notice in the Government Gazette No 34181, dated 1 April 2011 determined the monetary threshold to the size of the juristic person ar R2 million..
The Consumer Protection Act therefore does not apply to a transaction where the consumer is a juristic person whose asset value or annual turnover, at the time of the transaction equals or exceeds the threshold value of R2 million.
Consumer Protection Act Regulations
The Minister of Trade and Industry has in terms of S120 (1) of the Consumer Protection Act, 2008 published the Consumer Protection Act Regulations in the Government Gazette No. 34180 dated 1 April 2011.
The Regulations provides information regarding following:
- dates and times that consumers may not be contacted for direct marketing purposes;
- product labelling and trade description requirements for certain textiles, clothing, shoes and leather goods;
- information to be disclosed by an intermediary as well as the records to be kept;
- reporting and record-keeping requirements for promotional competitions, as well as requirements regarding the fees to be charged where the competition is entered by SMS or MMS that exceeds the normal fee payable on the network;
- advertising of auctions in a manner that the general public has had an opportunity to become aware of the auction;
- detail regarding franchise agreements;
- the maximum period that a fixed term contract can be agreed on and the maximum cancellation fee that can be charged.
Consumer Protection Act (Consumer Protection Act, no 68 of 2008)
Please visit the Contemporary Gazette page for access to a legal database .
- 25 July 2011- Enforcement guidelines (2.4MB PDF)
- 1 April 2011 - Consumer Protection Act Regulations as published (220Kb PDF)
- Prescription of the Consumer Goods and Services Industry Code and accreditation of alternative industry dispute resolution (30 March 2015) (700Kb PDF)
- Notice to Revoke the Application of the Consumer Protection Act, 2008 to Municipalities (31 October 2011) (41Kb PDF)
- Notice to exempt banks from the provisions section 14 of the Consumer Protection Act, 2008 (27 June 2011) (38Kb PDF)
- Notice to exempt the Pension Fund industry, the Collective Investment Schemes industry and the Security Services industry from the Consumer Protection Act, 2008 (27 June 2011) (42Kb PDF)
- Threshold determination as published (1 April 2011) (700 Kb PDF)
- Notice to defer the application of the Consumer Protection Act, 2008 to municipalities (14 March 2011) (89Kb PDF)
- Threshold determination as published on 1 April 2011 (700 Kb PDF)
Submissions and Comments:
- 29 October 2010 - SAICA comment letter on the threshold determination (161Kb PDF)
- 31 January 2011 - SAICA CPA introduction letter (38Kb PDF)
- SAICA CPA final comment letter (374Kb PDF)
- 10 March 2011 - SAICA introduction letter on Enforcement guidelines (40Kb PDF)
- SAICA comment letter on Enforcement guidelines (250Kb PDF)