SA Banks urged to take precautions with clients’ personal information: With the Protection of Personal Information Bill (POPI) expected to be promulgated this year, the focus on
Secret to Enterprise Social Networking Success: These days, if it seems as if everyone and their dog have a presence on social media,
A+ A A-

SA Customer Service Levels set to improve

With Launch of New Online Guide to the CPA


was launched recently by specialist liability insurance underwriter, Camargue Underwriting Managers and Madeasy Business Consultants ( in response to a need for a ‘simple language’ version of the new Consumer Protection Act (CPA) that came into effect in April 2011. The launch version of the mobi site also directs users, both business and consumers, to valuable resources and further information. In the second phase of development, it will be a portal for formal complaints.


Advocate Neville Melville, author of the bestselling, Consumer Protection Act Made Easy of Madeasy explains, “The CPA requires that any supplier of services or goods in South Africa conform to a number of qualitative standards and both the private sector, as well as some spheres of government are subject to it.”


Effectively consumers enjoy protection and assurance of recourse should products and services offered to them not meet accepted requirements. The consumer also no longer has to prove negligence in order to succeed in a legal claim where injury or damage has been caused by a defective product.It also places the onus on businesses and organisations to meet accepted standards and norms as outlined in the Act.


Simon Colman, general liability director at Camargue, joint partner in the consumer education initiative explains, “Since April 2011 the National Consumer Commission (NCC) has dealt with and resolved many cases, but at end January 2013, was still saddled with a backlog of 9 965 unresolved complaints. A large number of these cases have arisen out of the confusion that exists around what the Consumer Protection Act covers and how it can be enforced.”


For the Act to be truly effective in improving standards and protecting consumers and businesses alike, rights and obligations need to be properly understood. “What we have found though,” says Advocate Melville, “is that both consumers and businesses are finding it hard to navigate the ‘legalese’ of the Act. We launched to give individuals and organisations a ‘plain-language’ view, as well as very practical, real life examples, of when rights may have been infringed upon and what can be done to resolve the issue/s.”


The South African mobi site is a web application and essentially an electronic pocket guide to the Consumer Protection Act (CPA); a guide that enables, educates and protects consumers and businesses alike. Colman says he believes the site will be the cursor to better customer service in South Africa.


While the business exposures and risks presented by the CPA are undoubtedly very real, Camargue and Madeasy believe businesses should view the Act through a different lense. “The CPA can be considered a double-sided coin. It’s true that on the side of compliance, hefty fines of R1million or 10% of turnover, whichever is the greater, are payable if found guilty of non compliance. But on the other side, it is the ultimate customer service blueprint which, if implemented successfully, has the potential to add tremendous value to a business,” says Colman. “With the entire supply chain impacted and open to potential severe liability, this is a golden opportunity to align an organisation’s focus and achieve better customer service focused values and behavior, and in turn capture market share from competitors,” says Colman.


Advocate Melville adds that “The Consumer Commission is not out to get you if you are doing the right thing and resolve issues with your clients. It’s therefore best to know your rights, as well as those of your customers, and then behave accordingly.”


A practical step-by-step approach has been adopted on the mobi site, which can be accessed through the web, on smart phones and other handheld devices such as tablets, making it readily available to a wider audience.


Users of the easy-to-navigate site are directed through a number of key portals: rights, scenarios, complaints and business help. The aim is to: give visitors an idea of their rights in various circumstances according to the Act; provide typical scenarios they may identify with; offer places to seek advice or resolution, and to educate businesses of their obligations.


Each category where the Act might typically be applied is addressed through five initial portals:

  • Retail shopping
  • Dining out
  • Services
  • Agreements
  • Advertising and marketing


Scenario examples

Helpfully, an entire portal is dedicated to typical scenarios customers and consumers may face. If for example you are buying a pair of sunglasses but two different prices are displayed for the same sunglasses, which price you are obliged to pay by law? The mobi site, under Scenarios, may offer a similar situation and the legal standpoint to answer the question.


Says Advocate Melville, “Frequently found situations or scenarios have been included as a quick reference tool for similar issues. If this can help educate and resolve issues quickly, legally and clearly, it saves customers, businesses and the National Complaints Commission time and money.”


Information on the site is provided free, but additional detailed information for a specific query or topic can be accessed as a paid-for option for a period of an hour, a month or a year - either by topic or for full access to the site.


Business Matters

Importantly, the site is for businesses or organisations, as well as consumers. Madeasy Business Consultants and Camargue have spent a considerable amount of time applying their collective expertise to interpreting the Act as it relates to businesses. They have developed a practical bridge between the Act and the functionality of business. “The site definitely has the potential to focus an entire business on CPA compliancy and help increase productivity at the same time,” says Colman.


Information and links are in place for advice in implementing the Act as a business or making a legal claim as a consumer. An extensive list of relevant consumer bodies is also provided if additional information, advice or action is required.


Colman concludes, “We’d like to think that this free service will provide a valuable, accessible tool for all users and help to demystify the Act. The site should serve as an easy-to-use guide, but does not replace legal advice nor liability cover for a business; both these services should be sought out and purchased should the requirement exist.”


For more information on Camargue visit or find us on Facebook.

Authorised Financial Services Provider                                   License Number 6344

For further details on Madeasy visit

Client Press Offices

SAPA South African Rewards Association (SAPA)


TheSALeader pressoffice




Copyright © 2013 gdmc (Geoffrey Dean Marketing Corporation cc). All rights reserved. Material may not be published or reproduced in any form without prior written permission. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy. External links are provided for reference purposes. is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites.

Login or Register