The Consumer Protection Act No 68 of 2008 (CPA): Chapter 3: Protection of Consumer’s rights and Consumers Voice: Continued:
Section 70: Alternative Dispute Resolution; and
Section 71: Initiating complaint to Commission:
As we saw in our last blog; Chapter 3 of the CPA deals with the protection of the consumer’s rights and gives the consumer a voice where he/she can be heard.
It consists of Part A to Part D; and it covers sections 68 to 78 of the CPA.
In our last blog we looked at section 69.
Today we turn our attention to sections 70 and 71 of Chapter 3 of the CPA.
Section 69 dealt with the ways that a consumer can enforce their consumer rights mainly through a court, an Ombud or via the Tribunal.
Section 70 deals with Alternate dispute resolution.
Section 70 (1):
“A consumer may seek to resolve any dispute in respect of a transaction or agreement with a supplier by referring the matter to an alternative dispute resolution agent who may be (a)…an Ombud,,,,(b) an industry Ombud,,,, (c) a person or entity providing conciliation, mediation or arbitration services….….or (d) applying to the consumer court…
Section 70(2): then goes on to say that “if an alternative dispute resolution agent concludes that there is no reasonable probability of the parties resolving their dispute, through the process provided for, the agent may terminate the process by notice to the parties, whereafter the party who referred the matter to the agent may file a complaint with the Commission in accordance with section 71.
Section 70 (3) deals with the situation where the dispute resolution agent resolves the matter in the mediation and section 70 (4) deals with a consent order possibly including an award of damages to the complainant.
We again suggest that you seek proper, our professional legal advice and legal services when dealing with any of the issues raised in section 70 of the CPA as it requires legal knowledge and experience to deal with these issues.
Lastly; section 71 deals with the process of initiating a complaint to the Commission in the prescribed manner and form alleging that a person has acted in a manner which is inconsistent with the CPOA. It also deals with the situation where the Commission itself initiates a complaint concerning any alleged or prohibited conduct on its own motion when directed to do so by the Minister; or on the request of a provincial consumer protection authority; other regulatory authority or an accredited consumer protection group. These latter referrals are rare however and once again require expertise.
Part B deals with Commission investigations including section 72; the investigation by the Commission, section 73: the outcome of an investigation; section 74: Consent orders: Section 75: Referral to Tribunal; all of which are very technical and require expertise again.
Once again; we must stress that it is always advisable for you as a consumer to seek proper, professional legal advice and legal services when dealing with complex factual and legal issues as we reiterate once again that the CPA and its contents can sometimes can be confusing and complicated, especially in its correct interpretation; and needs a trained experienced and legal mind to interpret it correctly and as accurately as possible in any given circumstances.
If you have experienced difficulties with enforcing your consumer rights or with compliance with the CPA; contact The Legal Advice Office at www.legaladviceoffice.co.za or write to one of our email addresses; either firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Should you wish to comment on this or any other legal topic; just send us an e-mail; and we will respond as soon as we can.
The Legal Advice Office Team.