Applicability of ECTA & CPA
ECTA only applies to electronic transactions (section 42(1)) and only protects natural persons (section 1 definition of consumer). Its application extends to foreign vendors/suppliers (section 47) and any contractual provisions which seek to exclude any rights provided for in chapter 8 of ECTA are null and void (section 48). Any complaints must be lodged with the National Consumer Commission (section 49). Chapter 8 of ECTA provides for supplier duties, the regulation of certain marketing activities and consumer rights.
The CPA applies to all transactions, including electronic transactions, unless there is an express exclusion to its applicability to electronic transactions (see table below). Unlike ECTA, it extends consumer protection to legal persons with an annual turnover of less than R2 million (section 1 definition of consumer). It applies only to transactions occurring in South Africa (section 5). Like ECTA, the CPA provides that any contractual provisions which seek to exclude any rights it provides for are null and void (section 48(1) (c)). Consumer rights may be enforced by referring a matter to the Tribunal, an applicable ombud with jurisdiction, lodging a complaint with the National Consumer Commission or after the exhaustion of all remedies provided by applicable legislation, seeking recourse from a court with jurisdiction(section 69).Like ECTA, the CPA provides for supplier prohibitions and obligations as well as consumer rights. The aim of these provisions is to protect consumer rights.
The CPA does not apply to electronic transactions where ECTA already provides for equivalent or superior protection as depicted in the table below:
|Applicable ECTA provision
(if this section applies)
|Inapplicable CPA provision
(this section does not)
|Disclosure of price||s43||s23|
The key provisions of both pieces of legislation are summarised below.