Consumer Protection Law

The Consumer Protection Act 68 of 2008 (the CPA) came into force on 1 April 2011. The CPA applies concurrently with various other pieces of consumer protection legislation such as the National Credit Act, the Electronic Communications and Transactions Act, the Medical Schemes Act, the Foodstuffs, Disinfectants and Cosmetics Act and the Financial and Intermediary Services Act to name but a few. This means that it is always necessary to take an holistic view of the legislative landscape within which a business operates in order to ensure compliance.

Constitutional Court considers whether unregistered credit providers can reclaim loans

The Constitutional Court has been asked to consider the constitutionality of s 89(5)(c)(i) and s 89(5)(c)(ii) which provides that an unregistered credit provider looses the right to collect on loans. This right either gets 'cancelled' or is forfeited to the state.

It appears likely that if the court finds that the section is unconstitutional, the order will be suspended to allow parliament time to revisit the section.

Consumer Commissioner Mohlala-Mulaudzi's reign comes to an end

The Department of Trade and Industry has announced that Chief Commissioner Mohlala-Mulaudzi's employment contract will not be automatically renewed when it comes to an end on 3 September 2012. She would of course be free to submit an application for the job. At least, that is the implication of the DTI's statement. I would however hope that those applications have closed given that 3 September is barely 14 days away. However, it is probable that the protracted legal battle between the Commissioner and the DTI has delayed the search for her replacement.

Protection of Personal Information Bill one step closer to being enacted?

According to this Business Day report the Justice Committee may vote on the Bill as early as next week after much deliberation by the Portfolio Committee over the past weeks. This means that the Bill will be one step closer to being tabled in parliament and becoming an Act.

Watch the August edition of the Consumer Law Review for an article on whether the Bill proposes an opt in or opt out approach to direct marketing.

Another one bites the dust: Cell C compliance notice set aside

The NCC has lost another battle before the NCT. The compliance notice which was issued against Cell C for the alleged contraventions of (amongst others) s 14 and s 63 of the CPA has been set aside. These sections deal with cancellation penalties for the early cancellation of subscriber contracts and the validity period of prepaid vouchers for services such as airtime or data bundles, both incredibly important issues for consumers.

Minister of the DTI to decide Commissioner Mohlala-Mulaudzi's fate

Business Day reports that the Chief Commissioner of the NCC has lost her third urgent application in the protracted dispute regarding the renewal of her employment contract when it comes to an end at the end of August. In the latest application Mohlala-Mulaudzi contended that the decision regarding the renewal of her contract should not lie with the Minister of the DTI, but with a parliamentary commission.

'Consumer watchdog gets savage mauling' (Times)

The National Consumer Tribunal was asked to compile a 'confidential report' on the National Consumer Commission. Given the increasingly aggressive tone of the decisions by the NCT and the NCC's papers in the Gauting North High Court it comes as no surprise that it was not favourable. See this article published in the Times.

NCC loses urgent application to review Auction Alliance descision

The National Consumer Commission (NCC) has lost its urgent application to review the National Consumer Tribunal's (NCT) descision to set the compliance notice against Auction Alliance aside (for a full discussion of the battle between the NCC and Auction Alliance see the July edition of Consumer Law Review at www.jutalaw.co.za).

Commissioner Mohlala-Mulaudzi's never ending employment saga

Here is the latest on Commissioner Mohlala-Mulaudzi's never ending employment saga. Her contract with the Department of Trade and Industry runs out on 25 August 2012 (or 3 September 2012, both these dates have been reported). She is asking that the renewal of her contract must be considered by someone else, not the DTI. The matter was postponed because neither Mohlala-Mulaudzi nor her advocate appeared in court.

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