Office of the consumer protector supports “smart” consumer spending during Covid
Today, 15 March marks World Consumer Rights Day. Celebrated internationally, this day is set aside to celebrate consumer rights across the globe. The Western Cape Office of the Consumer Protector (OCP) is using the day to highlight it’s services and specially designed advice guides for consumers of the Western Cape to help make them “savvy” spenders. This is especially important during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Consumers International (consumersinternational.org/) mobilises consumer protection agendas across the globe to commemorate World Consumer Rights Day, promote basic consumer rights and remind businesses of the importance of respecting and protecting the rights of consumers.
Due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on lives and livelihoods, the Consumer Protection Forum (CPF), a grouping of consumer protection agencies, decided to focus World Consumer Rights Day on the impact of Covid-19 on consumers. The national theme for this year is “Protecting Consumers during Covid-19.” The result of Covid-19 measures, such as the alert level restrictions, have seen some negative economic consequences and while the Western Cape economy continues to rebound, some consumers are still potentially faced with challenges such as:
- falling behind on debt repayment,
- failing to recoup refunds on cancelled transactions, and
- repossessions of assets.
These actions hurt people's credit report and credit score which is a also a decisive factor in their level of participation in the economy.
At a national level, the OCP will be joining other consumer protection agencies in assisting consumers on:
- how to apply for payment holidays,
- making payment arrangements,
- claiming credit insurance,
- process to follow to claim from insolvent businesses in terms of the Insolvency Act 24 of 1936,
- implied warranty of quality,
- how to spot a pyramid scheme,
- consumers’ rights to return goods,
- redress to consumers, and
- online shopping where consumers found themselves transacting with “imposters or scammers” as goods purchased were never delivered.
The Western Cape OCP wants to reiterate the importance of a clean credit record and a good credit score, and has several guides available to assist consumers in ensuring this including:
- a information guide for hire-purchase agreements,
- your guide to consumer rights and how to protect them,
- a basic guide to contracts and what they mean in our law, and
- your personal financial toolkit booklet (To help you make better financial decisions for you and your family).
These guides are all available at: https://www.westerncape.gov.za/your_gov/25/documents/guides/O/19010
Any businesses, communities, or organisations with access to digital platforms who are interested in workshops on these topics, can also contact the Western Cape OCP.
The Western Cape Office of the Consumer can be contacted on:
Tel: 0800 007 081
Fax: 021 483 5872
The Western Cape Office of the Consumer Protector provides access, information, education and compensation to consumers within the province who may experience consumer related disputes.
The Western Cape Office of the Consumer Protector is mandated to act as a consumer protection agency within the province by virtue of the provisions of national and provincial legislation.