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Thread: M Ntuli on Consumer Protection Act

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    M Ntuli on Consumer Protection Act

    "Implementation is key for the new consumer legislation," says Department to Trade and Industry Deputy Minister Maria Ntuli

    5 March 2010

    The Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Maria Ntuli, says the new Consumer Protection Act is a world class piece of legislation that will require world class implementation if it is to make any difference in the lives of the South African citizens.

    Ntuli was delivering a keynote address at national Consumer Protection Law conference at the Gallagher Estate in Midrand yesterday. The conference was held under the theme “Changing the Consumer Protection Landscape in South Africa”.

    “The Consumer Protection Act provides a framework to place consumer protection on the national agenda. The Act provides easy and simplified access to redress. But it is imperative that we give special attention to all the vulnerable consumers, particularly the low-income earners and those who live in remote areas, as well as the minors and senior citizens,” said Ntuli.

    Ntuli added that one of the ways in which the new act would benefit consumers was that they would no longer be required to go to courts at great financial costs. Instead, consumers will be assisted through redress mechanisms established and promoted by initiatives such as the National Consumer Commission, National Consumer Tribunal, ombud schemes and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that will be accredited to deal with consumer rights and complaints.

    The NGOs will play an important role and will be afforded support in activities such as the provision of consumer advice and educational activities, market monitoring, promotion of consumer rights and advocacy of consumer interest.

    The conference was also addressed by the President of the Congress of the Traditional Leaders of South Africa, Chief Phathekile Holomisa, who spoke on community and traditional structures as consumer complaints points.

    Holomisa said people who live in the rural areas, and those that are in the informal settlements of the urban areas, are the ones who bore the most brunt of violations of consumer rights. He said traditional leaders have an important role to play in educating people about their consumer rights because they are close to the people. He also said it was crucial that the new act was made available in all of the South African languages in order for everyone to understand how it will protect consumers.

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    Last edited by Dave A; 08-Mar-10 at 12:02 PM.

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    There's a little voice in my head that says this is trouble coming.

    What are the chances we're going to see a horde of "tata ma chance" type claims like we see with the CCMA process of the Labour Relations Act?
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    Diamond Member tec0's Avatar
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    “The Consumer Protection Act provides a framework to place consumer protection on the national agenda. The Act provides easy and simplified access to redress. But it is imperative that we give special attention to all the vulnerable consumers, particularly the low-income earners and those who live in remote areas, as well as the minors and senior citizens,” said Ntuli.
    this I like

    The truth is you will always get the abusers and yes this “new system” will make it easy to victimise business, however if you did nothing wrong then all you have to do is stick to your guns and get a public voice.

    But that being said, I do feel we need a properly working consumer council system. I cannot even begin to count the times where I was ripped off by shops that sold me faulty equipment “such as printers, screens, computer hardware and YES computer Software.

    This can be a brilliant tool for both customer and “honest” shop owner....

    Granted the shop owner has much more to lose but again if the system protects the shop owner against abusers then I think we will get some real value out of this system.

    still time will tell
    peace is a state of mind
    Disclaimer: everything written by me can be considered as fictional.

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    Platinum Member sterne.law@gmail.com's Avatar
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    At this stage the tribunals or commisions have not been established and hence no rules have been set. It will, I believe, follow a very similiar module as the CCMA.
    If one looks at the marketing and press it is certainly being positioned as a very one sided affair and sending the message that the consumer has power.
    There is however no doubt that there will be far reaching implications in the way e do business.
    Anthony Sterne

    www.acumenholdings.co.za
    DISCLAIMER The above is merely a comment in discussion form and an open public arena. It does not constitute a legal opinion or professional advice in any manner or form.

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tec0 View Post
    The truth is you will always get the abusers and yes this “new system” will make it easy to victimise business, however if you did nothing wrong then all you have to do is stick to your guns and get a public voice.
    Just like at the CCMA

    You can have done everything exactly right, have a watertight case and you'll still lose a day of your time "sticking to your guns" as an employer at the CCMA. Yes, you "win" - but you've lost a day of your time for what was essentially a nuisance suite brought without a shred of legitimate cause. Been there, done that, got the T-shirt.

    To some extent it's still manageable when it comes to employees, but I'm sure the ratio of dismissed employees vs number of clients for the typical business is a very high one. For myself, I just need 1% of clients doing the "tata ma chance" thing and it's going to get ugly.

    The problem with the CCMA system is there's no pre-screening to check for valid cause and no penalty on the employee if there is indeed no valid cause. If the NCA system uses the same process...

    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    Diamond Member tec0's Avatar
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    You can have done everything exactly right, have a watertight case and you'll still lose a day of your time "sticking to your guns" as an employer at the CCMA. Yes, you "win" - but you've lost a day of your time for what was essentially a nuisance suite brought without a shred of legitimate cause. Been there, done that, got the T-shirt.
    Well there is always the labour broker system that basically exonerates you from any responsibilities. I personally would love to see labour brokers outlawed but they are here to stay. So get a good labour broker and for your money you get staff that will come and go and be replaced even before it becomes a problem.

    See with labour brokers you can just say X and Y is problematic and their contracts will not be renewed and they are gone no reasons needed because the contract has been completed payment was given and you can continue this way and you don’t have to worry about anything other than getting the work done.

    Now from the business point of view labour brokers is a godsend because you can scale up or scale down to your needs. From the employee side it sucks because he or she will never have job security... Still this will save you time and CCMA pains almost like a magic pill...
    Last edited by tec0; 08-Mar-10 at 06:27 PM.
    peace is a state of mind
    Disclaimer: everything written by me can be considered as fictional.

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    Platinum Member sterne.law@gmail.com's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave A View Post
    Just like at the CCMA


    The problem with the CCMA system is there's no pre-screening to check for valid cause and no penalty on the employee if there is indeed no valid cause. If the NCA system uses the same process...

    I think that pre screening is becoming more and more neccesarry. It is common in other systems around the world. Of course a cost order does not help, as if employee is unemployed, and even then, unlikely you will get paid.
    I think the consumer side will see even more exploitation of the opportunity to get revenge and a bit of one's own back. The consumer will be seen as the underdog and nothing better for the ego than telling the okes around the braai or the girls at the coffee shop, how you took so and so on.
    Unfortunately doing everything right will not guarantee having to defend oneself, as per CCMA, but it will be imperative to get the basics in place, at the very least.
    Last edited by sterne.law@gmail.com; 08-Mar-10 at 07:25 PM. Reason: Spelling
    Anthony Sterne

    www.acumenholdings.co.za
    DISCLAIMER The above is merely a comment in discussion form and an open public arena. It does not constitute a legal opinion or professional advice in any manner or form.

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sterne.law@gmail.com View Post
    it will be imperative to get the basics in place, at the very least.
    Well there's the next thing. I'm seeing very little being said about what "the basics" might be. The legislation seems to leave this up to the tribunals to set precedent, so any measures one might try to adopt would seem to be speculative at this point.

    There is no clear, official indicator as to where the dividing lines might fall.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    Platinum Member sterne.law@gmail.com's Avatar
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    Scouring a few blogs, it seems people are licking their lips already.
    An interesting comment by a writer - "the CPA will do for consumers what the LRA did for employees"
    Anthony Sterne

    www.acumenholdings.co.za
    DISCLAIMER The above is merely a comment in discussion form and an open public arena. It does not constitute a legal opinion or professional advice in any manner or form.

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Ultimately businesses trade for profit and unprofitable businesses fold. Watch the consumer bitch as the budget for sitting at NCA tribunals increases and the cost is passed on.

    Again, I have no problem with the consumer having easy access to justice when they need it. Abuse needs to have consequences - but it needs to cut both ways for balance to be achieved.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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