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ABOUT THE GAUTENG OFFICE OF CONSUMER AFFAIRS

The office was established in terms of the Consumer Affairs (Unfair Business Practice) Act 7 of 1996 to protect and promote consumer rights.

Functions of the Office:

  • To receive, investigate and dispose of cases of alleged unfair business practices.
  • To initiate investigations even if no cases were lodged and publish the findings in the provincial gazette.
  • To advise consumers on consumer related issues.
  • To perform any functions assigned to it under the Consumer Affairs Act no. 7of 1996.

How to Complain

A complaint may be lodged in the following ways:

a. Contact the seller or supplier

First complain where you purchased goods and services. Keep a record of your conversation of who you spoke with, when and the action promised. You can also contact the supplier or manufacturer of the goods and services. They may be grateful that you complained. It also assists in identifying problems that are bad for business.

b. Complaining to the Gauteng Office of Consumer Affairs

  • You may call the Gauteng contact centre on 0860 4288634 and select option 4 or you may lodge your complaint via email on consumer@gauteng.gov.za or online via http://consumer.gauteng.gov.za . A complaint should be in writing, brief but detailed. All consumer complaints lodged with the office are dealt with free of charge.
  • Visiting the office or various regional offices

A complaint should  include the following information:

  • Particulars of the complainant and the respondent (e.g. seller, supplier of goods/ services), their contact details and addresses.
  • Copies of all relevant documentation (receipts, contracts etc.).
  • Relief sought by the complainant (what you would like the office to do for you).

SPEND WISELY TIPS

Do you hate it when you really need money, but your wallet is empty? No matter how little or how much money you have, spending it wisely is a good idea; it enables you to get the most for your Rand.

Follow these tips to reduce expenditures in key areas and adopt a safer overall approach to shopping. 

CREATE A BUDGET.
Track your spending and income so you have an accurate picture of your financial situation. Save receipts or write down your purchases in a notebook as you make them. Review your bills each month and add those expenses to your budget.

  • Organize your purchases by category (food, clothing, entertainment, etc.). Categories with the highest monthly amounts (or monthly amounts you consider surprisingly high) may be good targets for saving money.
  • Once you've tracked your purchases for a while, create a monthly (or weekly) limit for each category. Make sure the total budget is smaller than your income for that period, with enough left over for savings if possible.

PLAN YOUR PURCHASES IN ADVANCE.

Making spur of the moment decisions can balloon your expenditures. Write down what you need to buy while you're calm and at home.

AVOID IMPULSE PURCHASES.

If planning your purchases in advance is a good idea, buying something on the spur of the moment is a terrible one. Follow these tips to avoid making shopping decisions for the wrong reasons:

  • Don't browse store windows or shop for fun. If you're only buying something because you find the act of shopping fun, you'll likely to end up spending too much on stuff you don't need.
  • Don't make purchasing decisions when your judgment is impaired. Alcohol, other drugs, or sleep deprivation can harm your ability to make sensible decisions. Even shopping while hungry or listening to loud music can be a bad idea if you don't stick to your shopping list.

SHOP ALONE.

Children, or friends who love shopping, or even just a friend whose tastes you respect can influence you to spend extra money.

  • Do not take advice from store employees. If you need a question answered, politely listen to their response but ignore any advice on purchasing decisions. If they won't leave you alone, leave the store and return later to make your decision.

PAY IN FULL AND IN CASH.

Credit and debit cards increase spending for two reasons: you have much more money available to spend than you normally would, and because no visible money is changing hands, it doesn't register as a "real" purchase.

  • Don't bring more cash with you than you need. If you don't have the extra money, you can't spend it. Similarly, withdraw your weekly budget from an ATM once a week rather than filling up your wallet whenever you run out.

DON'T BE FOOLED BY MARKETING.

Outside influences are a huge factor affecting what we spend our money on. Be vigilant and try to be aware of all the reasons you're drawn to a product.

  • Don't buy something on the basis of an advertisement. Whether on television or theproduct's packaging, treat ads with skepticism. They are designed to encourage you to spend money and will not provide an accurate portrayal of your options.
  • Be aware of pricing tricks. Translate that "R999" price into "R1000". Judge the price of an item on its own merits.

WAIT FOR SALES AND DISCOUNTS.

If you know you'll need a particular item but don't need it today, wait until it ends up in the bargain bin.

  • Only buy items on sale that you absolutely need. The attraction of a cheaper price is an easy way to get customers to buy something they don't need.
  • Buy products only useful at particular times of year during the off season. A winter coat should be cheap during summer weather.

DO YOUR RESEARCH.

Before making expensive purchases, shop around for the best deal. Find the product within your budget that will last longest and meet your needs best.

TAKE ALL THE COSTS INTO ACCOUNT.

You'll end up paying a lot more than the sticker price for many big-ticket items. Read all the fine print and add up the total amount before making your decision.

  • Don't be fooled by lower monthly payments. Calculate the total amount you'll spend (monthly payments x number of months until fully paid) to find out what the cheapest option is.
  • If you're taking out a loan, calculate how much total interest you'll have to pay.

GIVE YOURSELF OCCASIONAL, INEXPENSIVE TREATS.

This may sound foolish (isn't this buying something you don't need?) but in fact, it's easier to maintain your spending goals if you give yourself the occasional reward. Try to go cold turkey on unnecessary spending and you may eventually "crack" and splurge much more than you should.

  • Set aside a very limited amount of money in your budget for these treats. The goal is to give yourself a small reward to keep your spirits up and prevent a giant splurge later.

Click here to read about the Gauteng Consumer Affairs Court
Click here to read the Consumer Information Booklet

Contact Details
Tel: 011 355 8006 / 011 355 8000
Email: consumer@gauteng.gov.za / gdedenquiries@gauteng.gov.za

Head Office
56 Eloff Street, Umnotho House, Marshalltown, Johannesburg