We purchase a lot of goods and services in our daily life. But sometimes we do not sense pleased with the product we buy. Because there may be a poor quality of product, higher charging by the seller, minor amount of contents, deceptive commercial etc. We cannot permit these practices to go on. As a result, we need an Act or law which can protect the consumer.
When the CPA was passed in 1986, the major objectives of the Act are to offer better protection to consumers and successful defend in opposition to unlike types of misuse such as imperfect commodities. From 2011 and after the accomplishment of the Consumer Protection Act South African customers will be among the best protected clients in the world. The Act chairs immense weight on candid and fair transactions as well as liable manner of service providers within the Republic of South Africa.
SALIENT FEATURES OF CPA 1986 (CONSUMER PROTECTION ACT)
ü It applies to the entire goods & services and undue deal or trade practices except particularly exempted by the Central administration.
ü It covers all areas whether private, public or supportive.
ü It gives for establishment of customer defense at the middle, state and area levels to encourage and defend the rights of clients and three tier quasi legal apparatus to contract with customer grievances and disputes.
ü It offers a constitutional gratitude to the six rights of clients.
GOODS AND SERVICES COVERED UNDER CPA 1986
It includes all types of movable assets other than cash and includes stocks and shares, rising crops, etc. The term ‘service’ means service of any depiction made accessible to latent users and includes banking, financing, accommodation, insurance, amusement, convey, provider of electrical and additional power etc. The services of doctors, engineers, lawyers etc are integrated beneath the requirements of CPA.
MEANING OF CONSUMER
Consumer is a person who consumes or uses any goods or services. Goods may be like milk, salt, sugar etc. or long-lasting stuff like TV, refrigerator, bed etc. Services can be medical, electricity, transportation etc. Usually, it is the utilization of goods and services that makes the individual to be called as ‘consumer’
CONCEPT OF CONSUMER PROTECTION
Consumer security or protection means protection the interest and rights of customers. On the other hand, it refers to the actions adopted for the defense of customers from unprincipled and immoral malpractices by the industry and to offer them immediate redressal of their complaints.
NEED FOR CONSUMER PROTECTION
The obligation of adopting procedures to defend the attention of consumers arises mostly due to the helpless situation of the customers. In attendance there is no denying information that the customers have the fundamental right to be confined from the defeat or wound caused on report of faulty goods and insufficiency of services, it is essential to offer them corporeal security, defense of financial welfare, right of entry to information, and suitable product standard.
POSITIVE EFFECT ON CONSUMER PROTECTION LAW
ü The other main arguments in favor of consumer protection are as follows:
(a) Communal Responsibility
The company must be operated by definite societal and moral norms. It is the ethical liability of the firm to provide the interest of customers. It is the responsibility of marketers to provide accurate quality and amount of commodities at reasonable prices to the customers.
(b) Increasing Consciousness
The clients are flattering extra mature and aware of their privileges against the malpractices by the company. There are many customer organizations that are making hard work to construct customer consciousness.
(c) Consumer Happiness
Mahatma Gandhi once told to producers & marketers to “treat your consumers as god”. Consumers’ pleasure is the key to achievement of business. So, consumer self satisfaction is ensured by the consumer defense law.
(d) Standard of Societal Fairness
Utilization of customers is alongside the instruction ideology of state strategy as laid behind in the Constitution of India. Maintenance in line up with this standard, it is predictable from the manufacturers to abstain from malpractices and take care of customers’ interest.
(e) Endure and Enhance of Business
The business has to serve customer wellbeing for their endurance and expansion. On globalization and improved struggle, any business firm which fails to offer better services to their vital customer shall come across it complicated to keep on. That’s why; they have to in their individual attention, turn into customer leaning.
RIGHTS OF CONSUMERS
John F, Kennedy, the ex- USA leader, in his message to customer had given six rights to clients.  These rights are the followings:-
- 1. Right to Safety
It is the right of the customers to be protected adjacent to merchandise and services which are harmful to physical condition, right to protection is an significant right existing to the customer which ensures that the manufacturers shall not manufacture and put up for sale poor quality and unsafe products.
- 2. Right to be Informed
The right to be informed is a vital factor of customer safety. The customers have to be provided with sufficient and exact information concerning class, amount, transparency, standard and the cost of the commodities and services. The manufacturers give complete information regarding the contents of the product, date of manufacturing & expiry etc.
- 3. Right to Choose
The right to choose means that the customer ought to be guaranteed, at any time possible, right of entry to a diversity of merchandise and services at aggressive prices. If the marketplace has sufficient varieties of products at extremely competitive prices, the consumer have a chance of broad selection.
- 4. Right to be Heard
This right means that clients have a right to be consulted by administration when decisions and policies are prepared moving customer wellbeing. Also, customers have a right to be heard by manufactures, dealers and advertisers about their view on manufacture, advertising decisions and any grievances of the clients.
- 5. Right to Seek Redressal
The customers have been specified the right of redressal of their grievances connecting to the performance, rating, excellence etc. of the commodities and services. The CPA has suitably provides for a fair arrangement of actual grievances of the clients.
- 6. Right to Consumer Education
In this way the customer relations, educational organizations and the strategy makers can play an important part. Successful & effective customer education leads to an enlarged stage of buyer attentiveness and help them to put into effect their rights more efficiently, and defend themselves against deceptive, fraudulent and disgustingly false announcement, cataloging, etc.
RESPONSIBILITIES OF CONSUMERS
We should know our duties and responsibilities to defend ourselves from the fraud marketers or manufacturers in our society. If we will become a victim so that we can case a file under Consumer Protection Act against those fraud marketers. These can be done by following steps:
- 1. Be quality conscious
It is the task of all clients to be alert of the quality of manufactured goods they purchase. They should seem for the better quality guarantee symbols while making the purchases.
- 2. Beware of confusing advertisements
The clients must not rely only on the commercial ads, billboards, posters etc. They need to check the goods & services before making a purchase.
- 3. Responsibility to examine a diversity of merchandise prior to making choice
Customer should examine a diversity of commodities before trade. For this reason customers can emphasize the excellence, cost, stability, following sales service etc to enable the top alternative within the perimeter of their own assets.
- 4. Collect evidence of deal
The customer must persist on a legal documentary proof such as bill, statement, cash memo, invoice etc linking to pay for of merchandise or availing of any services and maintain it in a safe place. This is required for filing a complaint.
- 5. Clients have to be conscious about their rights
The consumers must be aware of their rights while trade merchandise and services. For example, it is the accountability of a customer to keep trying on getting all information about the quality of the goods or services.
- 6. Complaint for authentic grievances
As a customer if you are unhappy with the product or services, you can ask for redressal of your grievances. In this case, you have to file a appropriate claim with the corporation first. But your claims have to state genuine loss and the recompense claim must be logical.
- 7. Appropriate utilize of manufactured goods/services
It is anticipated from the clients that they utilize and grip the manufactured goods/services accurately. It has been noticed that through agreement period, people tend to irresponsible utilize of the manufactured goods, belief that it will be replaced throughout the warranty period. This practice ought to be avoided.
NEGATIVE EFFECT ON CONSUMER PROTECTION LAW/ ACT (CPA)
According to me, Consumer protection law is necessary in our society to protect consumer rights & interests. If there is no law then marketers, manufacturers are become dishonest sometimes & they provide bad quality products towards consumer. Without CPA consumers can poorly treated by the marketers. Customers are become helpless without this Act. So, Consumer protection law is mostly beneficial for the entire society because by this law consumer become more conscious, more responsible & aware while they are engaging any kind of purchase. As a result, marketers are also aware to provide best quality product with a competitive price.
But sometimes CPA may be harmful if any buyer complaint a false statements against any producers or marketers to gain self-interest or earn extra money intentionally. So, marketers should also keep the purchase documents of their customers & also monitor their activities.
So, there is a little bit risk on CPA, otherwise, in general CPA brings overall satisfaction both marketers & clients in a society.
From the above research of CPA, we can state that, CPA is necessary for manufacturers, marketers & as well as consumer to do business fairly where people can get their high quality products with a competitive price. Customer defense refers to the measures adopted for the safety of clients from unprincipled and unprincipled malpractices by the business and to offer them immediate redressal of their grievances. The need for CPA arises due to the defenselessness of customers. By this Act people & marketers both are well treated in the society. So, CPA plays a vital role for each & every individual.
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 See, http://consumerprotectionact.co.za/
See , http://www.iol.co.za/news/south-africa/consumer-protection-act-explained-1.1041008
 The Acting Deputy Director General in the Department of Trade and Industry, Ms Nomfundo Maseti, says “the primary purpose of the CPA Act is to protect consumers from exploitation and unfair practices in the marketplace from unscrupulous businesses, and to empower consumers to make wise purchasing decisions. It achieves this by introducing, amongst others, a system of product liability and improved redress.”
“Producers, distributors or suppliers, will be liable for any damages in the form of death, injury, loss, or damage to property and economic loss, to the consumer or third party. This Act decriminalizes certain conduct and subjects it to administrative sanctions, while also enables consumers to demand refund if the goods are of inferior quality”.
“Consumers may return the goods to the supplier, without penalty and at the supplier’s risk and expense, if the goods fail to meet the required standard”, added Maseti.
 See, http://www.preservearticles.com/2011100814953/what-are-the-salient-features-of- consumer-protection-act.html
 See, Van Eeden E (2009) A Guide to the Consumer Protection Act, Durban: LexisNexis.
 See at, CPA ACT, 1986, the word Consumer has been defined separately for the purpose of goods and services.
(a) For the purpose of goods, a consumer means (i) one who buys any goods for consideration; and (ii) any user of such goods other than the person who actually buys it, provided such use is
made with the approval of the buyer. (The expression ‘consumer’ does not include a person who obtains such goods for resale or for any commercial purpose.) (b) For the purpose of services, a consumer means (i) one who hires any service or services for consideration; and (ii) any beneficiary of such service(s) provided the service is availed with the approval of such person.
 See, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consumer_Protection_Act_1987
 These rights had paved the way for organised consumer movement in the USA and later it spread all over the world. In India, the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 has also provided for the same rights to consumers.
 See, http://www.cuts-international.org/consumer-rights.htm
 See, from http://www.consumerdaddy.com/a-13-consumer-rights-in-india.htm
 They are expected to impart information and knowledge about (i) the relevant laws which are aimed at preventing unfair trade practices, (ii) the ways and means which dishonest traders and producers may adopt to deceive the consumers, (iii) insistence on a bill or receipt at the time of purchase, and (iv) the procedure to be followed by consumers while making complaints.
 See, http://www.crcp.org.pk/cons_right_responsi.htm
 In case of durable goods the manufactures generally provide the warrantee/guarantee card along with the product. It is the duty of consumers to obtain these documents and ensure that these are duly signed, stamped and dated. The consumer must preserve them till the warrantee/ guarantee period is over.
 If the manufacturer/company does not respond, then you can approach the forums.
 At no cost fictitious complaints should be filed otherwise the forum may penalise you.