Under the spirit and letter of the Consumer Protection Act (CPA), SANRAL ought to do more to educate consumers as to how the toll road e-billing system will work, their financial obligations (which should be clearly broken down) and other onerous terms – in particular those that constitute an assumption of risk or liability on the part of the consumer. This is according to Chris Charter, a Director in the Competition and Regulatory practice at Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr business law firm.
“The CPA introduces and entrenches the rights of consumers to disclosure of relevant information in plain and understandable language,” Charter says.
“While it may be that a specific term is not objectively unfair or unreasonable, failure to adequately bring them to the attention of consumers in plain and understandable language may render the provisions unfair,” he explains.
He adds that it is also worth bearing in mind that SANRAL is dealing with the quintessential “man in the street”, who in most cases has no choice but to contract with SANRAL.
“This relationship places an added burden on SANRAL to be wholly transparent and approachable in its dealings with consumers.”