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Thread: The consumer protection bill

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    The consumer protection bill

    The Consumer Protection Bill looks like a new piece of legislation that business will have to navigate in the not-to-distant future.

    I can see a mixed bag of cheers and jeers in this one already.
    South Africans' consumer rights will be among the best protected in the world if a new piece of legislation aimed at promoting a fair and equitable marketplace for consumers is accepted in its present form.

    Consumer groups have welcomed the Consumer Protection Bill, which they say will promote international consumer rights such as the right to access safe products, to choose, be informed and obtain redress, including the speedy resolution of complaints which had previously ended up in court.

    The bill aims to protect all consumers, in particular the previously disadvantaged, disabled and illiterate, who often fall prey to unfair and deceptive business practices in the marketplace.

    It prohibits unconscionable behaviour by businesses, including one-sided contracts, misleading and unfair business practices, and protects consumers from unsafe and inferior products.

    Practices such as bait marketing to attract consumers into a store for non-existent specials, misleading marketing, telling customers untruthfully that they have won a prize in a competition they have never entered, or where payment must be made to enter, are also prohibited by the bill.

    Stores will be prohibited from discriminating against consumers based on race or economic status by charging different prices or providing different quality goods or services.

    The bundling of products is restricted so that consumers will enjoy the right to choose alternatives instead of being locked in with a particular company.

    Additional proposals include a minimum warranty period of three to six months on products; restrictions on work-from-home schemes; a 10-day cooling off period for franchise purchase agreements; grey or reconditioned goods must be clearly marked; a five-year expiry date for credit and gift vouchers; a do-not-call pre-emptive block register for consumers who do want to be targeted by direct marketers; and it gives the minister powers to restrict the days and times such calls can be made.

    It provides for consumers to receive refunds with interest for pre-booked services, which will have major implications for airlines.

    The bill gives consumers the right to cancel deliveries without penalty if a company does not comply with the agreed delivery date and location.
    full story from IOL here
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

  2. #2
    Administrator I Robot's Avatar
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    Trade and Industry to table Consumer Protection Bill, 16 Oct

    The Department of Trade and Industry (the dti) to table the long-awaited Consumer Protection Bill to the Select Committee on Economic and Foreign Affairs

    15 October 2008

    The Department of Trade and Industry (the dti) will present tomorrow, 16 October 2008, the Consumer Protection Bill, 2008, in Parliament, to the Select Committee on Economic and Foreign Affairs for final consideration. The Bill was debated and passed late last month by the National Assembly with certain amendments.

    If the committee approves the amendments, the Amended Bill will be considered by the National Council of Provinces (NCOP), and thereafter directed to the Presidency for signature.

    The Bill introduces general principles of consumer protection and serves as an overarching governing statement on consumer protection matters in South Africa. It seeks to regulate the commercial relationship between a supplier and a consumer to ensure fair and competitive markets.

    The Department of Trade and Industry's (the dti's) Director of Consumer, Competition Law and Policy, Nomfundo Maseti, says the Bill gives consumers the right to cancel fixed term contracts, the right to receive documentation that is written in plain and understandable language, prohibiting unfair contract terms, enhancing consumer choice by requiring disclosure and information as regards prices, the right to demand quality service and good quality product, fair contract terms, safety, guarantees, and warranties.

    Maseti acknowledges the Bill's incorporation of fair and responsible advertising and marketing aimed at protecting consumers from fraudulent or deceptive practices. The Bill also gives consumers the right to restrict unsolicited direct marketing and to demand the solicitor to desist from initiating any further communication.

    She further says that the Bill makes provision for a system of product liability and improved redress. "Producers, distributors or suppliers, will be liable for any damages in the form of death, injury, loss, or damage to property and economic loss, to the consumer or third party. This Bill decriminalises certain conduct and subjects it to administrative sanctions, while also ensuring that serious misconduct is dealt with criminally, subject to normal court procedures," notes Maseti.

    The Bill promotes consumer activism by proposing a partnership between government and civil society. According to this Bill, such a partnership recognises the need to build the capacity of the consumer non-profit sector and suitably equip it to provide face-to-face services such as consumer advice, consumer representation and mediation.

    The Bill replaces, 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 to 13, and 16 to17).

    More...
    Last edited by Dave A; 16-Oct-08 at 08:12 PM.

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    Silver Member Vincent's Avatar
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    ...telling customers untruthfully that they have won a prize in a competition they have never entered,...
    At least once a month, I get a call telling me that I entered a 'win-a-car' competition and I'm one of the finalist. I usually tell the tele-canvasser that I don't enter these types of competitions and they must remove me from there data base. Hopefully this new bill will put a stop to this now.
    Vincent Marino
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    Hopefully this new bill will put a stop to this now.
    Happy waiting.......

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    I can see lots of happy people - until the unexpected lawsuits start rolling in.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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