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Dissemination of Consumer Law and Policy in South Africa

  • Tjakie Naude
Original Paper
  • 24 Downloads

Abstract

This article considers to what extent some important areas of South African consumer law have been influenced by the laws of international bodies, other countries or regional bodies or, in turn, influenced other laws in Southern Africa and beyond. It focuses on rules on product safety, product liability, remedies for defective quality of goods, some basic rules on unfair commercial practices and various aspects of consumer law relating to the use of mobile phones by South African consumers. The main piece of legislation considered is the Consumer Protection Act 68 of 2008 (“CPA”), which came into force in 2011. The article considers whether aspects of this legislation were influenced by the EC Product Safety Directive, EC Product Liability Directive, EC Consumer Sales Directive, EC Unfair Commercial Practices Directive and EC Directive on Misleading and Comparative Marketing. It shows how the relevant provisions of the CPA influenced the laws of some African countries. The article also considers various issues faced by consumers in the mobile phone sector, including defective handsets, defective services, the high cost of mobile calls and data, the lapsing of “unused” data after short periods, data “disappearing” faster than expected, unfair contract terms, unsolicited marketing and the complexity of mobile phone contracts, which leads consumers to overestimate or underestimate their future usage, therefore paying too much because they are on an ill-suited plan. Conclusion of agreements via mobile phones, marketing of additional services like ringtones and apps and unsolicited marketing via mobile phones are also considered. Some complaints regarding the use of mobile phones should be better provided for in legislation, and enforcement of consumer rights in this sector could be improved.

Keywords

Consumer law Product safety Product liability Defective goods Mobile phones 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Private LawUniversity of Cape TownCape TownSouth Africa

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