The Regulation of False Advertising in South Africa: An Analysis of the Consumer Protection Act 68 of 2008 and Self-Regulation
Authors: Yeukai Mupangavanhu and Dominique Kerchhoff
Affiliations: Associate Professor, University of Western Cape; Former student, University of the Western Cape
Source: South African Mercantile Law Journal, Volume 33 Issue 2, 2021, p. 260 – 288
The Consumer Protection Act 68 of 2008 (CPA) regulates the provision of goods and services, the conclusion of consumer contracts as well as the promotion and marketing of goods and services. It also protects consumers from unscrupulous advertisers who use false and misleading advertisements to induce consumers to enter into contracts which they would otherwise not have concluded. This article seeks to critically analyse the legislative provisions relating to false, misleading, and deceptive advertising, and the seemingly accessible and efficient legal redress mechanism created under the CPA. Self-regulation by bodies such as the Advertising Regulatory Board, which is responsible for the regulation of the advertising industry in South Africa, is also discussed in detail. The article concludes that the co-existence of the CPA and self-regulation is pertinent to ensure that consumers are adequately protected from unscrupulous advertisements. This is because self-regulation provides an additional layer of protection to consumers. It is also argued that the forums created under the CPA should be given powers to declare certain promotional activities and advertisements unfair, unjust or unreasonable.