The rise of self-service retailing and the intervention of computers in the relationship between consumers and suppliers necessitated the development of strict consumer protection.
The second edition of Consumer Protection Law in South Africa is a must-read for suppliers, consumers, enforcement institutions, students, practitioners, researchers and regulators.
This edition deals with consumer rights in the e-commerce space, as consumers who transact online experience many of the same problems that offline consumers experience, such as delayed delivery, defective orders, mistakes in billing, warranty, misleading and deceptive or unconscionable conduct.
What I found interesting in this book is that a body of law (jurisprudence) around consumer protection is beginning to develop in SA. The two authors of this book, Evert van Eerden and Jacolien Barnard, have refined what the Act tries to achieve.
A number of consumers, myself included, thought the National Consumer Commission was sleeping on its mandate. But after reading Van Eerden and Barnard's work, my fears were allayed.
The National Consumer Commissioner is hard at work, making institutions like Vodacom, City of Johannesburg, Telkom, Toyota Financial Services, know there is a new enforcement regime in place. There are more cases emerging from courts, focusing on the issue of consumer rights and challenging accepted legal principles.
This edition includes discussions of decisions that have been handed down by the National Consumer Tribunal.