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CPA made easy, online

In response to the need of a ‚”simple language‚” version of the Consumer Protection Act, has been launched. The mobile site also directs users to resources and other information and will later be a portal from where consumers can lay complaints.

The National Consumer Commission (NCC), the body charged with the responsibility of enforcing and carrying out the functions assigned to it in terms of the Consumer Protection Act, has dealt with and resolved many cases since its inception. However, at end January 2013, it was still saddled with a backlog of 9 965 unresolved complaints. A large number of these cases have arisen out of the confusion that exists around what the Consumer Protection Act (CPA), which came into effect in April 2011, covers and how it can be enforced.

In response to the need for a ‚’simple language’ version of the CPA, has been launched by specialist liability insurance underwriter, Camargue Underwriting Managers and Madeasy Business Consultants. The mobi site also directs users, both business and consumers, to valuable resources and further information. In the second phase of development, it will be a portal for formal complaints.

Advocate Neville Melville, author of the bestselling Consumer Protection Act Made Easy, of Madeasy explains, ‚”The CPA requires that any supplier of services or goods in South Africa conform to a number of qualitative standards and both the private sector, as well as some spheres of government are subject to it.‚”

Effectively consumers enjoy protection and assurance of recourse should products and services offered to them not meet accepted requirements. The consumer also no longer has to prove negligence to succeed in a legal claim where injury or damage has been caused by a defective product. It also places the onus on businesses and organisations to meet accepted standards and norms as outlined in the Act.

Simon Colman, general liability director at Camargue, joint partner in the consumer education initiative explains, ‚”For the Act to be truly effective in improving standards and protecting consumers and businesses alike, rights and obligations need to be properly understood.

‚”What we have found though,‚” says Advocate Melville, ‚”is that both consumers and businesses are finding it hard to navigate the ‚’legalese’ of the Act. We launched to give individuals and organisations a ‚’plain-language’ view, as well as very practical, real life examples, of when rights may have been infringed upon and what can be done to resolve the issue/s.‚”

The South African mobi site is a web application and essentially an electronic pocket guide to the Consumer Protection Act (CPA): a guide that enables, educates and protects consumers and businesses alike. Colman says he believes the site will be the cursor to better customer service in South Africa.

A practical step-by-step approach has been adopted on the mobi site, which can be accessed through the web, on smart phones and other handheld devices such as tablets, making it readily available to a wider audience.


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