Fundamental Consumer Rights Under the Consumer Protection Act 68 of 2008: A Critical Overview and Analysis




Contract law, consumer protection, consumer rights, equality, privacy, choice, disclosure and information, fair and responsible marketing, fair and honest dealing, fair or unfair contract terms, fair value, quality and safety, product liability.


South Africa was in need of a comprehensive framework of legislation, policies and government authorities to regulate consumer-supplier interaction. The Consumer Protection Act 68 of 2008, which was signed by the President of the Republic of South Africa on 29 April 2009 and published in the Government Gazette on 29 April 2009, now provides an extensive framework for consumer protection and aims to develop, enhance and protect the rights of consumers and to eliminate unethical suppliers and improper business practices. Certain areas of the common law regarding consumer rights have been codified by the Act and certain unfair business practices that were previously unregulated are now governed by the Act. The Act has a wide field of application. It applies to every transaction occurring within South Africa for the supply of goods or services or the promotion of goods or services and the goods or services themselves, unless the transaction is exempted from the application of the Act. The Act also specifically regulates aspects of franchise agreements. In terms of the Act, consumers obtain several new rights and some existing rights are broadened and reinforced. These rights are: the right to equality in the consumer market; privacy; choice; disclosure and information; fair and responsible marketing; fair and honest dealing; fair, just and reasonable terms and conditions; and fair value, good quality and safety. The last right in terms of the Act deals with a supplier's accountability to consumers. The authors critically analyse and discuss these rights. It is clear that the Act is written in favour of the consumer. Various provisions of the Act make inroads into the common-law position to strengthen the position of the consumer vis-à-vis the supplier and suppliers are undoubtedly facing an onerous task to prepare to comply, and eventually attempt to comply, with the Act. Although the Act has its own interpretation clause, which provides that it must be interpreted in a manner that gives effect to the purposes of the Act, the Act poses many uncertainties and interpretational and practical challenges. Many questions are therefore raised, some of which remain unanswered. These questions illustrate some of the uncertainties concerning the scope and possible interpretation of the fundamental consumer rights.



Download data is not yet available.


Metrics Loading ...



Botha Wetsuitleg

Botha CJ Wetsuitleg: 'n Inleiding vir studente (Juta Cape Town 1991)

Campbell "Consumer Protection Bill"

Campbell N "Consumer Protection Bill" (Unpublished paper delivered at Consumer Protection Bill Seminar 2009 of the Law Society of South Africa and Legal Education and Development 10 June 2009 Midrand)

Christie Law of Contract

Christie RH The Law of Contract in South Africa 5th ed (LexisNexis Butterworths Durban 2006)

Cornelius Principles

Cornelius SJ Principles of the Interpretation of Contracts in South Africa (Butterworths Durban 2002)

Currie and De Waal Bill of Rights Handbook

Currie I and De Waal J The Bill of Rights Handbook 5th ed (Juta Cape Town 2005)

Davel and Jordaan Law of Persons

Davel CJ and Jordaan RA Law of Persons 4th ed (Juta Cape Town 2005)

De Beer Butterworths Forms and Precedents Commercial Transactions 2

De Beer C 2004 Butterworths Forms and Precedents Commercial Transactions (Butterworths Durban 2004)

De Ville Constitutional and Statutory Interpretation

De Ville JR Constitutional and Statutory Interpretation (Interdoc Consultants Cape Town 2000)

Dinnie Financial Mail

Dinnie D "Legal era" Financial Mail 29 August 2008 112

Dinnie 2009 HASA

Dinnie D "Consumer Protection Act and hospital–patient relationship" 2009 HASA Newsletter: Industry News April/May 8–9

Dinnie 2009 Healthcare Review

Dinnie D "Protecting the patient through new legislation" 2009 Healthcare Review 1 June 59–60

Donneley Mail & Guardian

Donneley L "Save consumers, but smother suppliers?" Mail & Guardian 1 May 2009 15

Du Preez 2009 TSAR

Du Preez ML "The Consumer Protection Bill: A few preliminary comments" 2009 TSAR 58–83

Harms Amler's Precedents

Harms LTC Amler's Precedents of Pleadings 6th ed (Butterworths Durban 2003)

Kerr Law of Sale and Lease

Kerr AJ The Law of Sale and Lease 3rd ed (LexisNexis Butterworths Durban 2004)

Kirby 2009 Without Prejudice

Kirby N "The privacy of the consumer" 2009 Without Prejudice 9(6) 28–29

Lötz and Nagel Besondere Kontrakte in die Hof

Lötz DJ and Nagel CJ Besondere Kontrakte in die Hof 2ed (Butterworths Durban 2002)

Loubser and Reid 2006 Stell LR

Loubser M and Reid E "Liability for products in the Consumer Protection Bill 2006: A comparative critique" 2006 Stell LR 412–453

Maphosa 2009 Without Prejudice

Maphosa J "Manufacturers and suppliers beware" 2009 Without Prejudice 9(5) 36–37

Moosajee Financial Mail

Moosajee A "Legalities: No more small print" Financial Mail 29 August 2008 113

Nagel et al Kommersiële Reg

Nagel CJ et al Kommersiële Reg 3rd ed (LexisNexis Butterworths Durban 2006)

Narsigan Witness Weekend

Narsigan N "Protecting SA's consumers" Witness Weekend 18 April 2009 19

Narsigan Business Brief

Narsigan N "Ignorant customers!" Business Brief 1 June 2009 13

Naudé 2006 Stell LR

Naudé T "Unfair contract terms legislation: The implications of why we need it for its formulation and application" 2006 Stell LR 361–385

Naudé 2007 SALJ

Naudé T "The use of black and grey lists in unfair contract terms legislation in comparative perspective" 2007 SALJ 128–164

Neethling, Potgieter and Visser Law of Delict

Neethling J, Potgieter JM and Visser PJ Law of Delict 5th ed (LexisNexis Butterworths Durban 2006)

Otto 1992 De Jure

Otto JM "Bêrekoop: 'n dekade later" 1992 De Jure 71-82

Otto National Credit Act Explained

Otto JM The National Credit Act Explained (LexisNexis Butterworths Durban 2006)

Pile Financial Mail

Pile J "Enforcement Agencies" Financial Mail 29 August 2008 114

South African Law Commission Unreasonable Stipulations

South African Law Commission Report Project 47 Unreasonable Stipulations in Contracts and the Rectification of Contracts 1998

Stassen 2009 De Rebus

Stassen P "New legislation: Selected aspects of consumer protection" July 2009 De Rebus 41-44

Stoop 2008 De Jure

Stoop PN "'n Kritiese evaluasie van die toepassingsveld van die 'National Credit Act'" 2008 De Jure 352–370

Stoop 2008 SA Merc LJ

Stoop PN "The current status of the enforceability of contractual exemption clauses for the exclusion of liability in the South African law of contract" 2008 SA Merc LJ 496–509

Van der Merwe et al Contract

Van der Merwe SW et al Contract: General Principles 3rd ed (Juta Lansdowne 2007)

Van Eeden Guide

Van Eeden EA Guide to the Consumer Protection Act (LexisNexis Durban 2009)

Waite Little Oxford

Waite M (ed) The Little Oxford Thesaurus 3rd ed (Oxford University Press New York 2006)

Register of legislation

Administration of Estates Act 66 of 1965

Attorneys Act 53 of 1979

Banks Act 94 of 1990

Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996

Consumer Protection Act 68 of 2008

Draft Consumer Protection Bill of 2006

Consumer Protection Bill of 2008

Electronic Communications and Transactions Act 25 of 2002

Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services Act 37 of 2002

Labour Relations Act 66 of 1995

Long-term Insurance Act 52 of 1998

Mutual Banks Act 124 of 1993

National Credit Act 34 of 2005

Prescribed Rate of Interest Act 55 of 1975

Promotion of Equality and the Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act 4 of 2000

Public Finance Management Act 1 of 1999

Public Service Act 103 of 1994

Sale and Services Matters Act 25 of 1964

Short-term Insurance Act 53 of 1998

Standards Act 29 of 1993

Register of government publications

South African law

GN 1957 in GG 26774 of 9 September 2004

GN 713 in GG 28893 of 1 June 2006

GN R1234 in GG 7068 of 13 June 1980

GN R 1814 in GG 7200 of 29 August 1980

European law

Council Directive 85/374/EEC of 25 July 1985 on the approximation of the laws, regulations and administrative provisions of the Member States concerning liability for defective products OJ 1985 L 210 29

Register of cases

Afrox Healthcare Bpk v Strydom 2002 6 SA 21 (SCA)

Alpha Trust (Edms) Bpk v Van der Watt 1975 3 SA 734 (A)

Bank of Lisbon and South Africa Ltd v De Ornelas 1988 3 SA 580 (A)

Barkhuizen v Napier 2007 5 323 (CC)

Broodryk v Smuts 1942 TPD 47

Burger v Central South African Railways 1903 TS 571

Cairns (Pty) Ltd v Playdon and Co Ltd 1948 3 SA 99 (A)

Dibley v Furter 1951 4 SA 73 (C)

Holmdene Brickworks (Pty) Ltd v Roberts Construction Co Ltd 1977 3 SA 670 (A)

Independent Electoral Commission v Langeberg Municipality 2001 3 SA 925 (CC)

Lynn & Main Inc v Brits Community Sandworks CC 2009 1 SA 308 (SCA)

Magna Alloys and Research (SA) Pty Ltd v Ellis 1984 4 SA 847 (A)

Mdakane v Standard Bank of South Africa Ltd 1999 1 SA 127 (W)

Mercurius Motors v Lopez 2008 3 572 (SCA)

Naude v Harrison 1925 CPD 84

Ngxuza v Permanent Secretary, Department of Welfare, Eastern Cape 2001 2 SA 609 (E)

Plaaslike Boeredienste (Edms) Bpk v Chemfos Bpk 1986 1 SA 819 (A)

Preller v Jordaan 1956 1 SA 483 (A)

SA Oil and Fat Industries Ltd v Park Rynie Whaling Co Ltd 1916 AD 400

Sasfin (Pty) Ltd v Beukes 1989 1 SA 1 (A)

Shatz Investments (Pty) Ltd v Kalovyrnas 1976 2 SA 545 (A)

Trumen v Leonard 1994 4 SA 371 (SE)

Van der Merwe v Meades 1991 2 SA 1 (A)

Van Zijl v Hoogenhout 2005 2 SA 93 (SCA)

Wagener v Pharmacare Ltd; Cuttings v Pharmacare Ltd 2003 4 SA 285 (SCA)

Young's Provision Stores (Pty) Ltd v Van Ryneveld 1936 CPD 87

Register of Internet resources

Dinnie 2007

Dinnie D 2007 Product liability developments product_liability_developments/news [date of use 25 Nov 2010]

Dinnie 2009

Dinnie D 2009 "Exposure to the consumer court under the Consumer Protection Act – More litigation for the medical industry?" (Paper presented at the Deneys Reitz Attorneys Medical Law Seminar 3 June 2009 Sandton) [date of use 24 Nov 2010]

Maphosa 2009

Maphosa J 2009 If you do not buy it, you still benefit from the purchase agreement: Overview of the Consumer Protection Bill, 2008 [date of use 25 Nov 2010]

Narsigan 2009

Narsigan N 2009 Implications of the CPA [date of use 25 Nov 2010)

Reed 2008

Reed D 2008 "Consumer Protection Bill" (Paper presented at the Deneys Reitz Attorneys Commercial Law Seminar 6 November 2008 Sandton) [date of use 25 Nov 2010]

Weston 2007

Weston G 2007 "The Consumer Protection Bill" (Paper presented at the Deneys Reitz Attorneys Commercial Law Seminar 31 May 2007 Sandton) [date of use 25 Nov 2010]



How to Cite

Jacobs, W., Stoop, P. N., & van Niekerk, R. (2017). Fundamental Consumer Rights Under the Consumer Protection Act 68 of 2008: A Critical Overview and Analysis. Potchefstroom Electronic Law Journal, 13(3), 301–406.




Similar Articles

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 > >> 

You may also start an advanced similarity search for this article.