The 2004 National Consumer Survey found that very few South Africans know what their consumer rights are. This short publication sets out the eight internationally recognised consumer rights that underpin consumer rights organisations and campaigns. These rights are not the same as the human rights contained in the constitution, although they are complementary in many ways.
1 - Right to Satisfaction of Basic Needs
All consumers have the right to basic goods and services such as adequate food, drinking water, shelter, clothing, health care and education.
2 - Right to Safety
Consumers have the right to protect themselves against unsafe goods and services. Unsafe goods can lead to the destruction of property, injury and even death.
3 - Right to be Informed
Consumers are entitled to complete information on price, quantity and ingredients from providers of goods and services.
4 - Right to Choose
Consumers have the right to choose from a variety of quality goods and services sold at competitive prices.
5 - Right to be Heard
Representation: consumers have the right to be heard on issues, policies, plans, programmes and decisions which concern them.
6 - Right to Redress
Consumers have the right to redress on their grievances about substandard, unsafe, unduly expensive goods and services, unfair claims and other unfair consumer practices.
7 - Right to Consumer Education
Consumers have the right to education that will empower them to take informed and confident choices of goods and services.
8 - Right to Healthy & Sustainable Environment
Consumers have the right to live and work in an environment which does not threaten their health and life and which does not pose any danger to present and future generations.
For more information on consumer rights, visit the National Consumer Forum website.
Consumer Fair Trade (Department of Economic Development and Tourism, Provincial Government of the Western Cape)