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The Consumer Protection Act No. 68 of 2008: cracking codes

3rd January 2011

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The advent of the Consumer Protection Act No. 68 of 2008 (“the CPA”) has introduced and caused a paradigm shift in so far as an understanding of consumer rights and how they operate are concerned. There is much chatter and agitation about the introduction into South African law formally of a range of consumer rights. The introduction of these rights has an impact on suppliers as for every right there is a corresponding obligation and, more often than not, the obligation is imposed upon a supplier. However, how far reaching are these obligations and what are suppliers to do about dealing with these obligations in a predictable, certain and consistent manner?


The CPA is an exceptionally long piece of legislation and, at times, a complicated piece of legislation. The CPA endeavours to introduce an entire system of protection for consumers. Certain of the processes that the CPA contemplates and creates are importantly processes for the realisation of consumer rights in the resolution of consumer complaints. Bearing in mind that consumers, as do suppliers, function in various sectors and parts of our economy.

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Therefore, the question that arises is how does the CPA endeavour to deal with such different sectors of the economy for the purposes of enforcing dispute resolution mechanisms with reference to a relatively uniform set of consumer rights and supplier obligations?

Written by: Neil Kirby, Director at Werksmans Attorneys

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