Chapter 3 A

Consumer's right to be heard and obtain redress Protection of consumer rights 68. (1) If a consumer has exercised, asserted or sought to uphold any right set out in this Act or in an agreement or transaction with a supplier, the supplier must not, in response – (a) iscriminate directly or indirectly against that consumer, compared to the supplier's treatment of any other consumer who has not exercised, asserted or sought to uphold such a right; (b) penalise the consumer; (c) alter, or propose to alter, the terms or conditions of a transaction or agreement with the consumer, to the detriment of the consumer; or (d) take any action to accelerate, enforce, suspend or terminate an agreement with the consumer. (2) If an agreement or any provision of an agreement is, in terms of this Act, declared to be void, or is severed from the agreement in terms of section 52(4), the supplier who is a party to that agreement must not, in response to that decision – (a) directly or indirectly penalise another party to that agreement; (b) alter the terms or conditions of any other transaction or agreement with another party to the impugned agreement, except to the extent necessary to correct a similarly unlawful provision; or (c) take any action to accelerate, enforce, suspend or terminate another agreement with another party to the impugned agreement. Enforcement of rights by consumer 69. A person contemplated in section 4 (1) may seek to enforce any right in terms of this Act or in terms of a transaction or agreement, or otherwise resolve any dispute with a supplier, by – (a) referring the matter directly to the Tribunal, if such a direct referral is permitted by this Act in the case of the particular dispute; (b) referring the matter to the applicable ombud with jurisdiction, if the supplier is subject to the jurisdiction of any such ombud; (c) if the matter does not concern a supplier contemplated in paragraph (b) – (i) referring the matter to the applicable industry ombud,accredited in terms of section 82(6), if the supplier is subject to any such ombud; or (ii) applying to the consumer court of the province with jurisdiction over the matter, if there is such a consumer court, subject to the law establishing or governing that consumer court; (iii) referring the matter to another alternative dispute resolution agent contemplated in section 70; or (iv) filing a complaint with the Commission in accordance with section 71; or (d) approaching a court with jurisdiction over the matter, if all other remedies available to that person in terms of national legislation have been exhausted. Alternative dispute resolution 70. (1) A consumer may seek to resolve any dispute in respect of a transaction or agreement with a supplier by referring the matter to an alternative dispute resolution agent who may be – (a) an ombud with jurisdiction, if the supplier is subject to the jurisdiction of any such ombud; (b) an industry ombud accredited in terms of section 82(6), if the supplier is subject to the jurisdiction of any such ombud; (c) a person or entity providing conciliation, mediation or arbitration services to assist in the resolution of consumer disputes, other than an ombud with jurisdiction, or an accredited industry ombud; or (d) applying to the consumer court of the province with jurisdiction over the matter, if there is such a consumer court, subject to the law establishing or governing that consumer court. (2) If an alternative dispute resolution agent concludes that there is no reasonable probability of the parties resolving their dispute through the process provided for, the agent may terminate the process by notice to the parties, whereafter the party who referred the matter to the agent may file a complaint with the Commission in accordance with section 71. (3) If an alternative dispute resolution agent has resolved, or assisted parties in resolving their dispute, the agent may – (a) record the resolution of that dispute in the form of an order, and (b) if the parties to the dispute consent to that order, submit it to the Tribunal or the High Court to be made a consent order, in terms of its rules. (4) With the consent of a complainant, a consent order confirmed in terms of subsection (3)(b) may include an award of damages to that complainant. Initiating complaint to Commission 71. (1) Any person may file a complaint concerning a matter contemplated in section 69 (1)(c)(ii) or (2)(b) with the Commission in the prescribed manner and form, alleging that a person has acted in a manner inconsistent with this Act. (2) The Commission may directly initiate a complaint concerning any alleged prohibited conduct on its own motion, or – (a) when directed to do so by the Minister in terms of section 86(b); or (b) on the request of – (i) a provincial consumer protection authority; (ii) another regulatory authority; or (iii) an accredited consumer protection group.