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Aspects of Unsolicited Goods or Services in Terms of the Consumer Protection Act 68 of 2008: An Analysis

5 May 2014
– 2 Minute Read


The CPA came into full operation on 1 April 2011 (GN 917 in GG 33851 of 23 September 2010). The CPA replaced the fragmented and outdated South African framework ofconsumer law contained in several pieces of legislation (the Business Names Act 27 of 1960; the Price Control Act 25 of 1964; the Sale and Service Matters Act 25 of 1964; the Trade Practices Act 76 of 1976; and the Consumer Affairs (Un-fair Business Practices) Act 71 of 1988). The CPA serves as a comprehensive source of consumer law and, together with the National Credit Act 34 of 2005 (NCA), forms a South African framework of consumer law (see also Woker 2010 Obiter 217–231 for a discussion of reasons why the Department of Trade and Industry deemed it necessary to introduce consumer protection legislation)

The CPA introduced several concepts and principles which are new to South African law. One such concept is so-called unsolicited goods and services and the prevention thereof as provided for in terms of section 21 of the CPA. Unsolicited goods and services can, in laymen’s language, be described as unrequested or unwanted goods or services and, in the narrow sense, as goods or services that are delivered to a consumer without the consumer’s knowledge or consent for which the consumer is expected to pay. A well-known example of this is where a consumer receives books in the post without having ordered them, together with an invoice in respect thereof, indicating that the consumer will be automatically bound by a purchase agreement with the supplier if the books are not returned to the latter.

This analysis by Philip Stoop and Heidi Taylor was first published by SSRN