Consumer Law > Consumer Rights under the Consumer Protection Act, 2008 (CPA)
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Consumer Rights under the Consumer Protection Act, 2008 (CPA)

The CPA came into effect on 1 April 2011. It sets out what the law is when consumers buy goods and/or services for cash or sign fixed term contracts. It also provides for the establishment of the National Consumer Commission (NCC), which oversees compliance of the Act by companies and service providers.

When you assist a consumer, always check the date that the contract was signed. To be able to use these laws the contract will have to be signed on or after 1 June 2007 (NCA) and 1 April 2011 (CPA). For consumers the CPA means that there is guaranteed respect and fairness when they buy goods or services, or have repairs done, or enter into gym contracts, or buy on auction. Consumers can now insist on a pre-quote for repairs, and not pay for shoddy work, return defective goods, and have goods replaced if they are repaired and remain defective. Consumers can even stop those unwanted daily calls offering loans or cellphones or insurance.

And when they do not get the respect and fairness that the Act requires, consumers now have access to numerous free complaints mechanisms from existing and possibly new ombuds offices, to the new Consumer Commission which is established in terms of the Act to oversee compliance with the CPA (similarly as the National Credit Regulator oversees the National Credit Act). Consumers will also in some cases be able to have their cases referred to the National Consumer Tribunal which will hear cases in terms of breaches of both the consumer laws.

In this section some of the key rights and remedies that the Act provides to consumers are discussed. The Act is detailed and sometimes complicated, as with all laws, so if you have a specific issue, you may need to read the law itself to understand exactly what the rights and remedies are in a particular situation.