1 October 2009

The Consumer Protection Act, 2009 (the Act) was signed into law by the President on 24 April 2009

In terms of the Act, those provisions under which regulations are to be promulgated, and those under which the watchdog Consumer Protection Commission will be created, will come into effect on the "early effective date", 24 April 2010. The remaining provisions of the Act, and notably those with which supplier compliance is required, are expected to come into effect on 24 October 2010, "the general effective date".

A vast number of everyday transactions between suppliers and consumers will then be regulated in a myriad of ways by the Act. Suppliers need to be poised for compliance on the general effective date as the sanctions for transgressions of the Act can be severe.

Supplier firms requiring assistance and advice in respect of compliance or commenting and making submissions on the draft regulations soon to be published under the Act should seek expert advice.

This newsletter highlights just a few of the many new forms of consumer transaction regulation introduced by the Act.

The Act is a radical attempt to reform the consumer market in order to provide a codified system of protection for all consumers, in all parts of the country.

The far-reaching provisions of the new Act are bound to redefine the way ordinary South Africans do business. While this may bring South Africa in line with international standards, the concern that the Act will create complex legal and practical problems is a real one and may even have an opposite effect to that intended, as it is apprehended that businesses may, in some cases, have to hike prices to pay for compliance efforts.

Nick Altini,
Director, Competition

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