The Consumer Protection Act (Act No. 68 of 2008) prescribes the manner in which suppliers of goods or services should interact with consumers. This is done by direct provisions in the Act itself and specific regulations covering specific areas, which are allowed in terms of the Act.
The Consumer Protection Act also allows for the acceptance by the dti of Industry Codes which regulate the behaviour of a specific Industry regarding the provisions of the Act. Such a Code effectively seeks to give clear Industry relevant definitions to the prescriptions of the Act and provide clear instructions for the behaviour of members of the Industry.
Impact of Consumer Protection Act
The primary areas of impact of Consumer Protection Act’s on the Aerosol Industry are:
- The safety and quality of aerosol products in the consumer’s hands must be assured, which has the following implications
- Any and all claims for the product must be fully “substantiated” and justified;
- The quality (every unit of the product sold should produce the same level of performance relative to claims) of the product must be assured;
- The safety of the product must be assured subject to reasonable, understandable warnings identifying the fact and nature of any applicable risks.
- Product may need to be recovered before entering the waste stream. Specifically, unlike many other consumer goods, aerosols are classified as dangerous goods in terms of SANS 10228 and thus, at some point, may be prohibited from entering into the common waste collection system, possibly in terms of the National Environmental Management Act. If so their recovery will be mandated.
- Safety of all aerosol products will require to be monitored and potentially defective products may need to be recalled.
This will require total traceability of all aerosol products manufactured.
- The liability for any loss or injury arising from the use of a product will be assumed to belong to the manufacturer/distributors (in the event that it can be shown to arise from the manner in which the product has been stored/handled by the distribution chain). The standard of proof is determined on the balance of probabilities.
Manufacturers will need to be able to demonstrate that the product has been developed and manufactured with due care to ensure that the product is safe in the hands of the consumer provided that the consumer follows reasonable prescribed handling and storage instructions.
- The implementation of deposits on prescribed packaging items is provided for.