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The Consumer Protection Act (CPA)

What are Consumer Rights?

The Bill of Rights enshrines the rights of all South Africans – including consumer rights. The Consumer Protection Act further outlines these key consumer rights, of which all South African consumers should be aware. These include the following:

  1. cpaRight to Equality in the Consumer Market and Protection Against Discriminatory Marketing Practices;
  2. Right to Privacy;
  3. Right to Choose;
  4. Right to Disclosure of Information;
  5. Right to Fair and Responsible Marketing;
  6. Right to Fair and Honest Dealing;
  7. Right to Fair, Just and Reasonable Terms and Conditions;
  8. Right to Fair Value, Good Quality and Safety; and
  9. Right to Accountability by Suppliers.

(Please click on each one of the links above for more information about each of your rights as a consumer)

Who is a ‘Consumer’?

Consumers are persons to whom goods or services are marketed, who have entered into transactions with suppliers, users of particular goods or recipients/beneficiaries of services.

What is the Consumer Protection Act?

Consumers are persons to whom goods or services are marketed, who have entered into transactions with suppliers, users of particular goods or recipients/beneficiaries of services.

The Consumer Protection Act , 2008, (No 68 of 2008) was signed into law on 24 April 2009 and came into effect on 31 March 2011. 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.

Download the following Documents:

The Consumer Protection Act aims to:

  • Promote a fair, accessible and sustainable marketplace for consumer products and services;
  • Establish national norms and standards to ensure consumer protection;
  • Make provision for improved standards of consumer information, to prohibit certain unfair marketing and business practices;
  • Promote responsible consumer behaviour;
  • Promote a consistent legislative and enforcement framework, related to consumer transactions and agreements;
  • Establish the National Consumer Commission; and
  • Replace, in a new and simplified manner, existing provisions from five acts, including the Consumer Affairs (Unfair Business Practices) Act of 1988; Trade Practices Act of 1976;
  • Sales and Service Matters Act of 1964; Price Control Act of 1964; and Merchandise Marks Act of 1941 (specifically Sections 2-13, and 16-17).

Who may lodge consumer complaints:

  • An individual;
  • An authorised person acting on behalf of another;
  • A person acting as a member or in the interest of an affected group or class; or
  • A person acting in the public interest (amicus curiae/leave of tribunal or court association, acting on the interests of its members).

The Consumer Protection Act applies to the following:

  • Every transaction occurring within the Republic of South Africa;
  • Promotion or supply of any goods and services occurring within the Republic; and
  • Goods or services that are supplied or performed, in the Republic, in terms of transactions mentioned in the Act.

The Act is not applicable in respect of:

  • Goods or services promoted or supplied to the state;
  • Industry-wide exemption being granted to regulatory authorities;
  • Credit agreements, in terms of the National Credit Act, but not goods or services;
  • Services under employment contracts;
  • Agreements giving effect to collective bargaining agreements; and
  • Agreements giving effect to bargaining agreements (Section 213 of the Labour Relations Act).

The Consumer Protection Act has two (2) implementation dates:

  1. Early effective date: Twelve (12) months after signature (April 2010) – Chapters 1 and 5, Section 120 (regulations) will become operational; and
  2. General effective date: Eighteen (18) months after signature (October 2010) – date on which all provisions of the Act will be applicable.