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Introduction

Most lawyers are already aware that the Consumer Protection Act signals a bold new approach to consumer protection in South Africa.

It has levelled the playing field and has created an agency known as the National Consumer Commission which establishes a regulatory framework and directly intervenes in day-to-day commercial transactions to ensure compliance by suppliers and service providers. In this course, the everyday man on street consumer will also learn the most important ins and outs of this Act.

Before starting this course, it is important to keep in mind that the law is a reactionary field. This means that the law cannot pre-empt a situation or circumstances and can merely react to it once it is already in place. The reason for this is that the law cannot foresee every single possibility and only once it has happened for the first time, is the law able to address the situation and prohibit it from happening again. As such, laws or other legislative documents, such as Regulations, are developed because of certain happenings and through a process of legislative drafting.

We start this course by discussing the background to the Act, the reasons for the Act and its objectives or aims. This course will also cover the terminology used in the Act, the application of the CPA, the 9 fundamental consumer rights and the enforcement of these rights.