The National Consumer Commission (NCC) has drawn up draft best practices applicable to the motor industry. The proposed best practices was published for comment on 11 July 2016 and refers to alternative dispute resolution mechanisms for handling complaints to better achieve the purpose of the Consumer Protection Act (CPA).
The proposals were drafted in terms of Section 93(2) of the CPA, which empowers the NCC to develop and promote the voluntary use of Codes of Good Practice on alternative dispute resolution. The NCC believes that consumers and participants in the motor industry should benefit from the proposed practices, assisting in resolving disputes by making use of inexpensive alternative dispute resolution processes.
Amongst others, the proposed best practices sets out a general complaint resolution procedure in terms of Section 70 of the CPA, which provides clarity on the steps a reasonable consumer should follow in the event of a complaint.
Consumers are advised to pursue complaints as soon as possible and it is important for service providers to inform consumers of their rights in terms of the CPA and be open about parts fitted and when work is outsourced to sub-contractors.
The clarity that the proposed practices provides, should also assist with the efficiency and authority of The Motor Industry Ombudsman of South Africa (MIOSA), which is the government sanctioned dispute resolution agency dealing with complaints in the motor industry. The MIOSA acts as a referee between the industry and the consumer. It utilises good engineering practice, good customer care practice, good legal practice and fairness as a basis in its deliberations.
The necessity for best practices codes along with the introduction of Ombudsmen within various industries becomes evident in moving towards stricter compliance with the CPA.
ABOUT THE AUHTOR
Jan Oosthuizen is a SEESA Consumer Protection & POPI Legal Advisor. He obtained his LLB degree from the North-West University and completed his articles of clerkship at Braam Swart & Partners in George before starting his career at SEESA in 2015.