Notes: The legitimacy of the South African Consumer Goods and Services Ombud’s Code of Conduct: An analysis of Consumer Goods and Services Ombud NPC v Voltex (Pty) Ltd
Author: Tshepiso Scott & Obakeng van Dyk
Affiliations: Lecturer, Department of Mercantile Law, University of Pretoria; Independent Researcher
Source: South African Law Journal, Volume 139 Issue 2, p. 259-273
Alternative dispute resolution is one of the mechanisms envisaged by the Consumer Protection Act 68 of 2008 to provide consumers with access to cost-effective and speedy redress of consumer disputes. Accredited industry ombuds are one of the fora that give effect to this purpose. However, industry participants are not always willing participants, and may wish to challenge the legitimacy of such fora, particularly where the relevant forum is funded by these industry participants. This makes it challenging to give effect to the provisions of any applicable codes of conduct, and also frustrates the consumer’s pursuit for redress. These issues came to the fore in Consumer Goods and Services Ombud NPC v Voltex (Pty) Ltd  ZAGPPHC 309. In this matter, the Consumer Goods and Services Ombud sought a declaratory order from the court, confirming that its code of conduct was legitimate. The judgment is significant as it has an impact on the enforcement of consumer rights by this ombud, and has wider implications for other current and future accredited industry ombuds.