Display of Goods for Sale, Advertisements and the Consumer Protection Act

Authors Hanri du Plessis

ISSN: 1996-2177
Affiliations: Lecturer, School of Law, University of South Africa
Source: South African Law Journal, Volume 132 Issue 1, 2015, p. 150 – 169


The article investigates the influence of the Consumer Protection Act 68 of 2008 (‘the CPA’) on the general rule that the advertising or display of goods for sale at a certain price is an invitation to do business and not an offer to sell. The article critically discusses the common-law position and argues that although a general rule exists in favour of advertisements being regarded as invitations to do business, no such general rule exists in respect of the physical display of goods at a certain price. Furthermore, although it remains a factual question whether an offer exists, the underlying policy considerations must also be taken into account. Thereafter, the article investigates the meaning and influence of the CPA on the common-law position. It is argued that the relevant provisions in the CPA (ss 23, 29 and 30) require that the display of goods at a certain price generally would be viewed as an offer. Furthermore, it is argued that while the CPA has not amended the common-law rule in respect of advertisements, it has improved the consumer’s position by prohibiting misleading advertisements and by placing certain obligations on a supplier if it cannot fulfil the promises in its advertisements.