Consumer Protection Act

68 of 2008

The purpose of the Act is “to promote and advance the social and economic welfare of consumers in South Africa.” (Section 3(1)).

The Act aims to achieve this objective through, inter alia, establishing a legal framework for maintaining a fair, accessible and efficient marketplace for consumers; reducing the disadvantages experienced in accessing goods or services by vulnerable consumers; protecting consumers from unfair trade practices; encouraging responsible consumer behaviour; promoting consumer empowerment and providing an efficient system of redress for consumers.

Consumer protection is important in every market, particularly in the South African context. The more vulnerable consumers, the more protection is required. The Act acknowledges the reality of many South African consumers: high levels of poverty, illiteracy and other forms of social and economic inequality; living in remote or low-density population areas; being minors, seniors or other similarly vulnerable consumers; having a limited ability to read and comprehend advertisements, agreements, instructions, warnings, etc. as a result of low literacy levels, vision impairment or language impediments. (Preamble of the Act)

The Act refers to the need to “fulfill the rights of historically disadvantaged persons and to promote their full participation as consumers”.

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