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NCC and NCR celebrate International Consumer Rights Day Print E-mail
Thursday, 12 March 2015

World Consumer Rights Day (WCRD) is celebrated across the world annually on 15 March, since 1983. The very first consumer rights were pronounced in 1962, by the then President of the United States of America, John F. Kennedy. These rights have since evolved, and with time came to be adopted as part of the United Nations Guidelines for consumer protection. South Africa as a member country of the United Nations promulgated the Consumer Protection Act and the National Credit Act to give effect to consumer protection, consistent with the Constitution.

The Consumer Protection Act recognizes eight fundamental consumer rights which must be observed by business. These are: the right to equality in the consumer market, privacy, choose (choice), disclosure and information, fair and responsible marketing, fair and honest dealing, just and reasonable terms and conditions, as well as the right to fair value, good quality and safety.

For consumers who enter into a credit agreement with the credit providers, the National Credit  Act provides the following rights which must be observed by business all the time: right to apply for credit, protection against discrimination in respect of credit, right to reasons for credit being refused by a credit provider, right to information in official language, right to information in a plain and understandable language, right to receive documents under credit agreement, right to confidential treatment, right to access and challenge credit records and information held by the credit bureau, right to assistance for over-indebted consumers .

According to the Chief Executive Officer of the National Credit Regulator (NCR), Mrs. Nomsa Motshegare, every person has a right to be advised by a credit provider within a specified time before any prescribed adverse information is reported to a credit bureau and to receive a copy of that information upon request. Consumers should not hesitate to contact any credit bureau for a free copy of the credit profile.

“A consumer has a right to challenge the accuracy of any information held by the credit bureau. If a consumer has challenged the accuracy of information proposed to be reported to a credit bureau, a credit provider must provide a copy of any such credible evidence to the consumer who filed the challenge or remove the information, and all record of it from its files, if it is unable to find credible evidence in support of the information” added Mrs Motshegare.

The National Consumer Commission (NCC), in partnership with the NCR will from 14 – 20 March 2015 embark on a consumer awareness drive under the theme: “Consumer rights are Human Rights,” to particularly mobilise vulnerable consumers, to know, take ownership and demand their rights as key role players of economy. Some of the planned activities for the week includes an Imbizo in Kwa Thema Township, Ekurhuleni, mall and train station activations, as well as a consumer protection symposium for stakeholders in the consumer protection arena.

“It is indeed a fact that at the heart of any economy in the world lies the virtuous participation of consumers. Consumers play a critical part in the growth the economy. It is imperative that we create an enabling environment for them to participate easily, without discrimination, especially with the sluggish economic growth that we currently experience as a country,“ said NCC Commissioner, Ebrahim Mohamed.

“In my view, consumer rights day should be every day,“ added Commissioner Mohamed.

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) as the custodian of consumer protection policies, established the National Consumer Commission (NCC) as well as the National Credit Regulator (NCR) to implement policies that will amongst other things protect and enable citizens to be economically active

(Source - NCR Media Release)
 

 

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