On 3 October 2014, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) published a draft Code of Conduct (Code) for the Consumer Goods and Services (CGS) industry for public comment.
The draft Code, published under the Consumer Protection Act 61 of 2008 (CPA), was established to guide the CGS industry on the minimum standards of conduct expected when engaging with consumers and to assist in resolving disputes that arise between consumers and the CGS industry under the CPA. The draft Code, inter alia, provides for the establishment and powers of a Consumer Goods and Services Ombud whose functions include resolving disputes arising from complaints about non-compliance with the Code by participants in the CGS industry. Click here for more information on the Code.
Once in force, the Code will apply to retailers, suppliers, wholesalers, distributors, manufacturers, producers, importers, logistic and supply chain agents and their intermediaries across a wide range of industries. A non-exhaustive list of consumer goods and services is provided in the Code, which includes food, tobacco and beverages, pet products, electrical appliances and general merchandise. A number of industries are specifically excluded - among these are the motor vehicle, banking and insurance, petroleum, estate agents, leasing, certain telecommunications services and complaints against the State.
The draft Code is open for public comment for a period of 30 days from publication, which was on 3 October 2014.