With new age technology these days most businesses use websites to promote their business. Some, just to make it easy for their clients to find them and other as an e-commerce platform. If your company uses its website to conclude transactions you will need to ensure that you pay attention to the requirements set out in the Electronic Communications and Transactions Act (ECTA) and the Consumer Protection Act (CPA). Here are a few aspects you can consider:
- You will need to determine when a transaction is concluded on your website.
This can only be done by making sure there is a consensus between contracting parties by making a valid offer and this offer is then accepted. Furthermore, you will need to have the legal capacity to conclude the transaction and ensure that all legal formalities are met.
- You will need to know when the CPA is excluded.
This can be determined by ensuring you know when the ECT Act is applicable. Some of the important aspects of the ECT Act refer to how long it takes you to process the order, is the price displayed on the goods offered and is all the required information displayed.
- Ensure that the correct procedure is followed to conclude an agreement.
In the case of Spring Forest Trading CC v Wilberry t/a Ecowash and Another 2015 (2) SA 118 (SCA), the Court ruled that “…when there are formal requirements of writing and signature imposed by statute or the parties to the transaction, these can generally be satisfied through electronic transactions. There are, however, exceptions where agreements may not be generated electronically. These are the agreements for the sale of immovable property, wills, bills of exchange and stamp duties.”
- You need to ensure that a safe and secure method of payment is used.
This is to provide peace of mind to the consumer, you can be held liable if they suffer damages as a result of an unsecured payment method.
These aspects mentioned does not cover all the bases of the ECT Act and CPA but only gives you an idea of what the ECT Act and CPA requires from a website.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ruan Pretorius is a SEESA Consumer Protection & POPI legal advisor in Pretoria. He obtained his BCom Law and LLB degrees from the University of Pretoria and completed his articles of clerkship at Geyser and Coetzee Attorneys in Centurion, before starting his career at SEESA in 2017.