Ahead of the anticipated annual Black Friday rush, the National Consumer Commission (NCC) says it is important for consumers to do their research so they don’t fall prey to any unfair marketing tactics by sellers.
“It is vitally important for consumers to know the original prices of items they intend buying during this period and satisfy themselves that the sale price is indeed a bargain.
“In a case where a product was cheaper throughout the year and come Black November/Friday the price is increased, consumers must exercise their right to choose a supplier and go where the product is cheaper,” the NCC’s acting commissioner, Thezi Mabuza, said.
The NCC also warned suppliers against using misleading advertising tactics during Black Friday.
Mabuza’s comments followed consumers’ complaints that some retailers hiked prices on certain products ahead of Black Friday, just to make the Black Friday sale look more attractive.
One Twitter user, who did not want to be named, complained to City Press about the price of a TV set they had been eyeing throughout the year, saying it was more expensive.
“I had the TV on my wish list since July. The price always hovered around R5 000, it would dip to around R4 800 sometimes, but I wanted to wait till the Black Friday thinking that I would get a better deal. But around the start of November, the price of the TV set increased to R5 800.”
They are playing people. If you see that the price was R5 800 and now it is R5 200, you’d think you are saving R600 when you [are] actually not,” he said.
Mabuza said this practice was against the Consumer Protection Act (CPA).
“The CPA makes it prohibited conduct for any supplier to market any goods or services in a manner that is misleading, fraudulent or deceptive in any way.
“This includes the price at which the price may be supplied or the relationship of the price to any previous price or competitor’s price for comparable or similar goods or services,” the acting commissioner said.
Mabuza added, “Suppliers found to have contravened the act may face an administrative fine of R1 million or up to 10% of their total annual turnover, whichever is the greater.”
“We remind consumers to be vigilant before parting ways with their money. The purpose of the CPA is to promote fair business practices while protecting consumers from unconscionable, unfair, unreasonable practices.
“To ensure that the commission fully protects consumers and enforce the provisions of the Act, consumers are urged to monitor and report these tactics to the commission,” Mabuza said.