Implications of Consumer Protection Act


By Jonathan Goldberg

On the 1st April 2011 the long debated Consumer Protection Act (the "CPA') 68 of 2008 came into effect. The CPA applies to all transactions in all sectors of the economy and also to the marketing and supply of goods and services. Therefore it applies to all employers in their dealings with their customers, and as employers are represented by their employers in such dealings, the provisions of the Act must of necessity have a direct and material impact on the duties and obligations of employees and the employment relationship.

The scope of the Act is wide-reaching and in particular, it deals with supply relationships, warranties, pricing, standards of service and quality, advertising, marketing and related issues. All of these have an impact on the duties of employees in terms of the employment relationship.

The Act also introduces a "bill of rights' granting consumers wide ranging powers to cancel contracts during "cooling-off' periods, to refuse to purchase "bundled' products or services, to cancel fixed term agreements if not satisfied with their terms and to block approaches by direct marketers. This will also have a direct impact on the employment relationship, not only with regard to the duties of employees, but also on issues relating to remuneration and commissions.

The issue of concern for employers is that the conduct of employees can be imputed upon the employer who has liability towards consumers in terms of the Act. It is for this reason that all employees involved in activities which are affected by the Act need to specifically be made aware of all the provisions and regulations as well as the consequences of non-compliance.

Employers are encouraged to not only educate themselves with the provisions of this Act but to provide training for employees as well.
Jonathan Goldberg, CEO of Global Business Solutions. Contact us at [email protected]
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