Monthly Archives: October 2014

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The Act Regulates

  • Marketing of goods and services.
  • Warranties and guarantees.
  • Cooling off periods.
  • Lay-by’s.
  • Forfeiture of goods by suppliers.
  • Record keeping.
  • Delivery of goods and services.
  • Discrimination against consumers.
  • Consumer’s privacy.
  • Language to be used in documentation.
  • Franchise agreements.
  • Dispute resolution and consumer commission powers.
  • Fines and penalties to suppliers.

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Consumer Protection Act

The Consumer Protection Act , 2008, (No 68 of 2008) was signed into law on 24 April 2009. The Act sets out the minimum requirements to ensure adequate consumer protection in South Africa. This Act constitutes an overarching framework for consumer protection, and all other laws which provides for consumer protection (usually within a particular sector) will need to be read with this Act to ensure a common standard of protection.

All suppliers of goods and services will need to take note of the new measures and ensure that they are able to comply once the Act becomes effective.

Chapters 1 and 5 of this Act, section 120 and any other provision authorising the Minister to make regulations became effective one year after the signing of the Act by the President, which was 24 April 2010.

The Consumer Protection Act, 2008 came into effect on 31 March 2011.

The Minister of Trade and Industry has given notice on 14 March 2011 in the Government Gazette that the Consumer Protection Act application to municipalities, other than high capacity municipalities, will be deferred until further notice. This will have the implication that consumers cannot apply the protection of the Act to transactions with these municipalities.

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The Aim of This Bill

The Bill aims to protect our right to privacy by introducing measures
to regulate the collection, storage and distribution of personal
information. It aims to do so while achieving a balance between
a person’s right to privacy and other important societal interests
and rights such as the right of access to information and the
importance in today’s world of maintaining a free flow of information.

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Personal Information for an individual = POPI

Examples of “personal information” for an individual could include:

  • Identity and/or passport number
  • Date of birth and age
  • Phone number/s (including mobile phone number)
  • Email address/es
  • Online/Instant messaging identifiers
  • Physical address
  • Gender, Race and Ethnic origin
  • Photos, voice recordings, video footage (also CCTV), biometric data
  • Marital/Relationship status and Family relations
  • Criminal record
  • Private correspondence
  • Religious or philosophical beliefs including personal and political opinions
  • Employment history and salary information
  • Financial information
  • Education information
  • Physical and mental health information including medical history, blood type, details on your sex life
  • Membership to organisations/unions

It must however be noted that some personal information, on its own, does not necessarily allow a third party to confirm or infer someone’s identity to the extent that this information can be used/abused for other purposes. The combination of someone’s name and phone number and/or email address for example is a lot more significant than just a name or phone number on its own. As such the Act defines a “unique identifier” to be data that “uniquely identifies that data subject in relation to that responsible party”.

October 2014
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