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The Consumer Protection Act, No. 68 of 2008 was signed on 24 April 2009.

It 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.

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 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. Right 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.