The Consumer Protection Act: Why has it gone quiet?

The CPA was launched with much fanfare in March 2011. It heralded powerful new rights for consumers as the CPA is a globally recognised piece of legislation.

What is happening on the ground?

There is strong evidence that the larger retailers are aware of the CPA and act within its parameters.

But more and more we hear stories of smaller retail outlets still having signs saying “No refunds” or “No replacements or repairs”. Yet the CPA stipulates that the consumer has a six month warranty and the consumer (not the supplier) has the choice, if he/she returns defective goods, of:

• Getting a refund, or
• Replacing the product, or
• Having it repaired.

In fact, the CPA has more than forty provisions relating to how potential abuses are to be investigated, moving from conciliation to dispute resolution to summoning abusers, to issuing search warrants and finally to sanction – which could mean a R1 million fine or 10 years’ imprisonment.

Yet, complaints to the NCC (National Consumer Commission), the watchdog for the CPA, have all too often not been responded to.

Power to the people

In South Africa there are 5 million Facebook users and 2.4 million followers on Twitter. Companies tend to respond to complaints in the social media to prevent complaints going viral. That gives consumers a lot of power, and – as the public becomes more aware of its rights – businesses who flout the CPA do so at their peril!

© DotNews, 2005-2013. This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your financial adviser for specific and detailed advice.





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IC Marais

Professional experience:

IC Marais is a certified CA (SA) with public sector and private sector technical knowledge based on 5 years’ Public Sector accounting, auditing and financial management experience and 5 years audit, tax and accounting experience. Detailed knowledge of private and public sector accounting and auditing standards (GRAP, IPSAS, IFRS, IAS, ISA) and public sector financial legislation (MFMA, etc.)

He enjoys the outdoors, hunting and fishing.


Professional experience:

In 1995, Schalk started as a trainee at Warner and Newton (which became Moores Rowland in 1997 and then Mazars Moores Rowland in 2007) in Bloemfontein. In 1998, Schalk was appointed as manager at Moores Rowland, where he became a partner in 2003. Schalk received his Postgraduate Certificate in Advanced Taxation in 2006 and in 2009 he received his Certificate in the Administration of Estates.


Professional experience:

Cedric started as a trainee at Warner and Newton (which became Moores Rowland in 1997 and Mazars Moores Rowland in 2007), Bloemfontein, in 1986. After completion of his articles, he joined the Special Investigations Division of the Department of Finance (SA Revenue Services) as a senior inspector from 1990 to 1991.


Professional experience:

Lucha started her career as a tax inspector at the Inland Revenue Department of New Zealand. After this she worked in commerce in Canada, Mexico and the United States.

On her return to South Africa, she completed her CA training contract with us and has been with Newtons ever since. She became a Partner in 2012.

Apart from her CA(SA) qualification she also holds a postgraduate certificate in Advanced Taxation (2005) and has the overall responsibility for training as our Training Officer.