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Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  17 Sep 2010

CONSUMER LAW: How the Consumer Protection Act Will Affect Your Business

 





Recent Gauteng Business News

The Consumer Protection Act is poised to shift the power dynamic towards the customer – and smart businesses can stay ahead of the pack by attending free talks on the new law during the Business Opportunities and Franchise Expo, at the Coca-Cola Dome from 16 to 19 September 2010.

The legislation will have a direct impact on large and small enterprises alike, whether they are in the services, manufacturing, retail, consumer goods or other sectors. The Act has a number of far-reaching implications that savvy businesses should be mindful of.

During the expo, jointly presented by the Thebe Exhibitions and Projects Group (TEPG) and the Eskom Foundation, Tracy Lawler, the Managing Director of 2iC, will be conducting free talks seminars on the Consumer Protection Act (CPA), in partnership with Wilken Duff Attorneys.

The CPA is designed to protect consumers from unfair marketing practices and shoddy workmanship and, together with a raft of related legislation, will make South Africa one of the most consumer-empowered societies in the world.

The Act will make businesses more liable – and thus more accountable – to their clients for not just what they produce, but how they sell it. In short, it is set to revolutionise the business landscape as we know it.

2iC Lawler will be enlightening seminar audiences on what the new Act means for South African businesses, how they can become compliant with its provisions, and what could happen should they fail to comply.

Like a sports team, businesses who want to get the best out of their “players” need a good coach. As a business coach, Lawler helps companies to identify what they are trying to achieve and to leverage each individual’s skills while entrenching a common company culture that all employees can buy in to.

“It’s not just about having vision and mission statements stuck to the wall of the office,” she says. “Processes, procedures and systems are only as good as the people who work with them. You cannot discount the human factor: businesses are people, not bricks and mortar.”

Therefore, when it comes to a complicated new piece of legislation that will substantially affect the way a company operates, interactive business coaching can be far more effective than handing each staffer a stack of documents to wade through.

“The CPA could have a similar effect on businesses and consumers to that which the 1996 Labour Relations Act had on employers and employees,” explains Lawler. “Previously the balance of power lay chiefly with businesses; now it will rest squarely in the hands of the consumer.”

For example, companies will soon be legally compelled to disclose relevant product information and undertake responsible marketing practices, and consumers will be able to claim compensation if they are sold inferior-quality products or are treated unfairly.

Lawler says it is imperative that firms do not leave the understanding of such legislation to the company directors and legal eagles alone, but that the entire company should be educated to ensure that all employees are able to contribute to the enterprise operating in a responsible manner.
“Knowledge is not power – it’s the use of knowledge that constitutes power,” she points out.

The talks form part of the Business Opportunities and Franchise Expo – the ideal forum for both established and up-and-coming entrepreneurs to network while exploring a host of business options, from work-from-home ventures to large franchise operations across sectors ranging from agriculture and food to IT and renewable energy.

Among the attractions is the USB Business Buzz Zone where visitors can attend free entrepreneurial development workshops and the Conversations with Entrepreneurs lounge, hosted by Entrepreneur.co.za founder Brian Walsh, where visitors – from CEOs to SMMEs – can mingle, rub shoulders and exchange ideas with like-minded business people.

A limited number of spaces are available for the free seminars on the CPA, which are among several free talks at the USB Business Buzz Zone at the expo.

 
 
 
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