Mislead the consumer at your peril

2011-03-16 00:00

DEVISING ways to persuade consumers to choose your goods or services over those of your rivals is a large component of a business.

The Consumer Protection Act, now less than a month away from implementation, places restrictions on marketing practices to ensure that consumers are not duped into buying things as a result of unfair or misleading marketing tactics.

The act places general restrictions on marketing.

Essentially a supplier cannot mislead consumers about information they need in order to make an informed decision on whether to enter into a transaction.

Representations must be accurate and any claims made must be capable of substantiation. Misleading consumers would include making them think (or not correcting their obviously mistaken assumption) that goods or services will have any features, qualities, associations or benefits they do not have.

A good example is claims on weight-loss products. The statement, “Take these pills and you will lose 10 kg a week”, will need to be justified.

The Consumer Protection Act also makes specific marketing practices unfair.

Bait-marketing, which is exactly what the name suggests, is outlawed.

Consumers will no longer be lured into a supplier’s premises on the promise of goods at very special prices only to receive a nasty shock when there are no goods left at the special price (or probably never were).

This technique is used to get feet into stores; once consumers are in the store, there is a real chance that they will buy something. In future, suppliers can offer special prices for restricted amounts of goods, but they must ensure that they tell you what is available and actually have the goods for sale.

Another no-no that is common is negative option marketing.

This happens when you are supplied with goods or services on the basis that, unless you respond to say you do not want the goods, then they are yours.

Consumers must be allowed to choose to enter an agreement and not have things thrust upon them. If this happens in future, the consumer will have all the rights.

Suppliers will need to review all their promotional material to ensure that marketing efforts do not get them into trouble.

Rosalind Lake, Associate, Deneys Reitz

The Witness in association with Deneys Reitz Inc. will publish a weekly column on the Consumer Protection Act, which comes into effect on April 1, touching on a variety of topics to inform businesses and consumers about the widespread and serious implications of the act.


Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


WATCH: Man films himself going down water slide upside down as things go very wrong…

What is at first an exciting tummy-turning adventure stunt, quickly turns into a scarily bad idea caught on camera. Take a look:


You won't want to miss...

WATCH: Conor McGregor: Notorious the trailer
Best date night restaurants in South Africa
WATCH: Ryan Reynolds offers fans a free tattoo in new Deadpool 2 teaser
Should you date your co-worker?
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.