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Consumer Protection Bill has ramifications for marketers

Do you want to be told how to market and sell your products? Do you want to be dictated to on how you are to treat your customer and client? The new Consumer Protection Bill will contribute to the regulation of the marketplace according to marketing pundits and the Corporate Lawyers Association, who are calling on all marketers to make submissions to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) on the new Bill.
The fledgling new Marketing Association, represented by Chartered Marketer, Enrico du Plessis, and Alison Lee, CEO of the Corporate Lawyers Association, have called two workshops next week to involve the industry in the submissions to DTI - which has moved the public comment date from May 26 to May 15 with little warning. Marketers should be concerned for the following reasons:
  • The consumer will now have the right to cancel certain transactions subject to certain time limits and the retailer is obliged to accept the returned goods.
  • The consumer has to be provided with a written record of each and every transaction which he enters into with a supplier.
  • The consumer must be provided, under certain circumstances, with written contracts which must comply with certain laid down requirements set out under the Bill.
  • Consumer guarantees and warranties in terms of the Bill will be entrenched.
  • The Bill seeks to outlaw indemnities.
  • The Bill will ensure that overselling and over booking is outlawed and where infringed, will demand double penalties.
"Whilst the Consumer Protection Bill recently published for comment by the DTI seeks to protect your rights as a consumer, it at the same time will drastically infringe, frustrate and curtail your rights as a: manufacturer, service provider, sales person, sales representative, marketer, promotions and advertising agency, telemarketer, auctioneer, coupon and voucher vendor, attorney, provider of a continuous service, retail trader, wholesale trader, company which engages in promotional activity such as competitions and trade promotions using coupons, plumbers, electricians, motor mechanics, companies who offer and provide installation, maintenance and repair services, produces of labels and packaging, associations and collective organisations who are governed and abide by codes of practice, labour brokers, franchisees, those companies who sell and trade with their 'customer lists' and 'consumer information' such as banks, cell phone companies and consumer marketing companies, mail order companies, companies who engage in the provision of unsolicited goods or services, design houses, and companies who make use of catalogue or electronic marketing or subscribe to consumer loyalty programmes.

"The act will apply to each and every transaction occurring within or having an effect within South Africa, between parties dealing at arms length, except insofar as such transaction concerns services to be supplied under an employment contract or a credit agreement as defined under the National Credit Act."

Du Plessis and Lee add emphasise that the Bill has major ramifications for manufacturers, distributors and retailers along with all forms of service providers in South Africa. "All traders, retailers and suppliers, no matter how big or small their concern, will be affected in some way or another by the content of this Bill - affecting their processes, their capacity and most importantly, affecting the way in which they do business.

"In particular, companies such as Woolworth's, Pick and Pay, Game, Chubb, SAB, ABI , Barloworld, Rennies Travel, Avis Car rental, estate agents, shopping malls, auctioneers, the Virgin gyms, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), MNet, Vodacom, MTN, Cell C, Discovery Health, SAA Voyager and Edgars, to name a few... should sit up and take note of the bill and its resultant effects."


In an attempt to unpack and to examine the provisions of the Bill and how it will affect all industry players, a half day workshop is being jointly hosted by the Corporate Lawyers Association and The Marketing Association of South Africa (the new body of concerned marketing professionals) in association with SBS Conferences. These will take place in Johannesburg at Vodaworld on May 10, and in Cape Town on May 11.

The aim of the workshops are:
  1. To explain the key areas of the bill and its overall intent.
  2. To obtain clarification from the market place and affected industries on their respective viewpoints of the bill and how it will impact and impinge on their trading and operating practices.
  3. To investigate and analyse the ramifications of the Bill for companies operating in South Africa.
  4. To look at and focus on areas of concern which require reworking and/or redrafting.
To summarise and consolidate comments received from interested, affected and concerned participants who have attended the workshops to feedback to DTI with a written submission paper. In this regard, copies of the consolidated input will be supplied to all participants before the deadline date so individual companies can make their own input in addition to the consolidated report.

The workshop presenter will be Lee, currently the CEO of the Corporate Lawyers of South Africa, and a partner at CJ Lee Attorneys. The summation of input will be handled by Du Plessis, who has over 10 years experience in marketing and is the former CEO of the National Occupational Safety Association. He is the driving force behind marketing professionals interested in forming a new marketing body in South Africa.

For further details and online booking, visit:

For more on the Consumer Protection Bill, see
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About Louise Marsland

Louise Marsland is currently Africa Editor:; a Content Strategist and Trainer; and Trend Curator for and her own She has been writing about the media, marketing and advertising communications industry in South Africa for over 20 years, notably, as the previous Editor of Media & Marketing; Editor-in-Chief AdVantage magazine; Editor Marketing Mix magazine; Editor Progressive Retailing magazine; Editor Business Brief magazine and Editor FMCG Files ezine.