Evaluating the role of the National Consumer Commission in ensuring that consumers have access to redress
Authors Tanya Woker
Affiliations: Professor of Law, University of KwaZulu-Natal (Durban)
Source: South African Mercantile Law Journal, Volume 29 Issue 1, 2017, p. 1 – 16
An important aim of the Consumer Protection Act (CPA) is to ensure that consumers have access to accessible, transparent and efficient redress. In order to achieve this aim, a number of different dispute resolution forums have been introduced to assist consumers. Having an array of different forums for consumers to turn to may theoretically be very appealing, but in practice the picture is turning out to be quite different. This article seeks to shed some light on the reasons why consumers are experiencing such difficulties when it comes to enforcing their rights under the CPA and it makes some suggestions for improving the process. The article focuses on the role of the Consumer Commission because the Commission is primarily responsible for the administration of the CPA. It is argued that it is necessary for the Commission to take charge of the dispute resolution process, because whether or not the CPA succeeds in its aim of ensuring that consumers have access to redress, rests largely on the role undertaken by the Commission in this process.