FAQs

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What is a consumer?

Any person to whom any goods or services are marketed in the ordinary course of the suppliers business.

What is an Unfair Business Practice?

It is any business practice which directly or indirectly has or is likely to have the effect of:

  • Harming the relations between businesses and consumer
  • Deceiving any consumer
  • Unfairly affecting any consumer

What is a Complainant?

  • Any person who has filed a complaint with the Office of Consumer Protection in terms of section 71; or
  • The office of consumer protection in respect of a complaint that it has initiated, either directly or at the
  • Direction of the Minister in terms of 86(b) or
  • Request of the Provincial Consumer Protection Authority or other regulatory authority, as the case may be.

What is the Provincial Consumer Protection Authority?

It’s a body established within the provincial sphere of government, and designated by the responsible Member of the Executive Council of a province to have general authority to deal with consumer protection matters within the province.

What is the regulatory Authority?

An organ of state or entity established in terms of national or provincial legislation responsible for regulating an industry, or sector of an industry.

What is a Respondent?

Any person or a firm against whom a complaint or application has been initiated.

What is visual Representation?

Any representation or illustration capable of being reproduced upon a surface, whether by printing or otherwise, but does not include a trade mark

What are the eight consumer rights?

  • The right to Consumer Education
    Consumers must need to acquire knowledge and skills needed to make informed and confident choices about goods and services, while being aware of basic consumer rights and responsibilities and how to act on them.
     
  • The right to Disclosure and information
    Consumers must be provided with the facts needed to make informed choices and to be protected against dishonest or misleading adverting and labeling.
     
  • The right to Choice
    Consumer should be able to choose from a range of products and services, offered at competitive prices with an assurance of satisfactory quality.
     
  • The right to Representation
    Consumer interests should be represented in the making and execution of government policy, and in the development of products and services
     
  • The right to Redress
    Consumer must receive a fair settlement of just claims, including compensation for misrepresentation, or shabby goods or services.
     
  • The right to Safety
    From a trade and industry perspective, consumers should be protected against production processes, products and services that are dangerous to health or life.
     
  • The right to Healthy Environment
    Consumers should live and work in an environment that is not threatening to the well-being of present and future generations.
     
  • The right to access Basic Needs and Services.
    Consumers should have access to basic goods and services such as adequate food, clothing, housing, health care, education, clean water and sanitation.

What is alternative dispute resolution agent?

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

What are examples of Complaints that the OCP deals with?

  • Contract
  • Cooling off periods (gyms, pc contract, furniture, insurances)
  • Transport contract
  • Furniture
  • Work From home schemes
  • Money making schemes
  • Mail order marketing
  • Product Quality
  • Return of goods
  • Misleading selling adverts
  • Public Phones
  • Retirement Villages

What is direct Marketing

  • Means to approach a person, either in person or by mail or electronic communication, for the direct indirect purpose of :-
  • Promoting or offering to supply, in the ordinary course of business, any goods or services to the person, or
  • Requesting the person to make a donation of any kind for any reason.

What is a Service provider?

Any person who promotes, supplier or offers to supply any service.

Any goods that a supplier expressly or implicitly was required or expected to procure create or alter specifically to satisfy the consumer’s requirements.

What are Scams?

Scams are false business deals that are often linked to organized crimes.

What types of scams?

  • Investment scams
  • Airtime scams
  • Credit scams
  • Credit card scams
  • Work-from-home and business opportunity scams
  • Lottery scams

What is Lottery scams?

You received an SMS on your mobile phone or in your e-mail address, stating that you have won Lottery Jackpot, but before you can claim the price you will be required to deposit the money in their banking account

What are Easy-Money Making schemes? Also known as “Get-Rich-Quick” schemes

Participates are required to give money to the promoters, and they are also required to introduce new members to the scheme in order to benefits

Examples thereof:

  • Money revolving Schemes
  • Multiplication Schemes
  • Pyramid Schemes
  • Chain Letters

Note: often, these schemes do not last for a long period and promoters cannot fulfill their promises indefinitely

How do I know if a company is operating as a Pyramid Scheme?

The company/ scheme will concentrate on the commission earned by participants for recruiting new members, but ignoring the marketing or selling of an actual product.

How does the OCP ensure that consumers know about prohibited practice?

The OCP publishes Consumer Alerts and Prohibition Notices

What is a Contract?

A contract is an agreement between two or more parties. Once the parties sign a contract, it becomes legally binding and enforceable. This means that the parties agree to the terms and conditions in the signed contract

What is a Consumer Agreement?

An agreement between a supplier and a consumer other than a franchise agreement.

What is loyalty credit or reward?

  • Any benefits accruing to a consumer,
  • Right to any goods, service or other benefits granted to a consumer: or
  • Point, credit, token, device or other tangible or intangible thing which, when accumulated in sufficient quantities, entitles the holder to seek, request or assert a claim for any goods, service or other benefits, allocated to a consumer.

What are exemption clauses?

Exemption clauses is a clause contained in contracts exonerating the other party from any liability should he/she fail to honor the agreement or when then product agreed on does not serve the purpose for which it was acquired.

Are exemption clauses illegal?

Exemption clauses are not illegal; they are part of a legitimate contract. In circumstances were a consumer exempts him/herself and becomes negligent, he/she can be held liable. In circumstances where the service provider is found negligent in a court of law, the exemption clause will not be upheld.

What is a Warranty/Guarantee?

A warranty/guarantee is an undertaking by the supplier to repair a product supplied to a consumer should the product becomes faulty as a factory fault within a specified period of time under certain conditions.

What are Grey Goods/ Parallel Imports?

They are :

  • Unlicensed, branded imported goods;
  • Perhaps identical to products imported by the authorized local agents of the overseas manufacturer;
  • Adapted for use in areas other than South Africa; and
  • May not necessarily operate effectively in south Africa.