The Gauteng Office of Consumer Affairs (GOCA) was established by the Gauteng Department of Economic Development in terms of the Consumer Affairs (Unfair Business Practices) Act No. 7 of 1996 to protect and promote consumer rights.
What are consumer rights?
The Right to:
- Equality in the Consumer Market and Protection Against Discriminatory Marketing Practices;
- Disclosure of Information;
- Fair and Responsible Marketing;
- Fair and Honest Dealing;
- Fair, Just and Reasonable Terms and Conditions;
- Fair Value, Good Quality and Safety; and
- Accountability by Suppliers
Who can complain?
Any consumer may lodge a consumer complaint with the Gauteng Office of Consumer Affairs (GOCA). A Consumer is any natural person to whom any commodity or goods is offered, supplied, or made available where the person does not intend to apply the commodity for purposes of resale, lease, and the provision of services or the manufacture of goods for gain.
How to Lodge a Consumer Related Complaint?
A complaint may be lodged in the following ways:
- Contact the seller or supplier
First, complain to the management or manager or person in control of the business where you purchased the goods and services. You can also contact the supplier or manufacturer of the goods and services. This may also assist them in improving their services. Remain calm, cordial but firm when you state your complaint.
- Complaining to the Gauteng Office of Consumer Affairs
A complaint can be lodged by visiting our Head Office or one of our Regional Offices or the Consumer Affairs Office on Wheels (CAOW) or by emailing your complaint to the Head Office. For contact details, please click here. You may visit our Walk-In Centre at No. 124 Main Street, JHB. Click here for the Consumer Complaint Form
- Particulars of the complainant, (your full names, physical and postal addresses, your email address, your telephone and fax numbers, as well as your ID No).
- Particulars of the respondent (e.g. seller, supplier of goods/services), their contact details, full name of the business or the name that they are trading under, their physical, postal, web and /or email addresses (if known) as well as their telephone and fax numbers.
- Copies of all relevant documentation (receipts, contracts, invoices, job cards (and any terms printed on the reverse thereof) correspondence, faxes and emails).
- Relief sought by the complainant (what you would like the office to do for you).
How is the complaint handled?
- A complete complaint will be electronically registered, acknowledged in writing and referred to a complaints investigator for assessment and investigation.
- If there is an applicable Ombud/regulatory body with jurisdiction the matter will be referred to that Ombud/regulator if the respondent (supplier of the goods and services) is subject to the jurisdiction of such Ombud/regulator.
- Likewise, if the respondent is not subject to the jurisdiction of the afore mentioned Ombud, but an industry Ombud accredited in terms of Section 82(6) of the CPA exists, the complaint may be referred to the applicable industry Ombud by the complaints investigator.
- The complaint may also be referred to any relevant alternative dispute resolution agent serving a specific industry.
- If no such referral is done the respondent will be given an opportunity to respond to the complaint.
- If the complaint is unresolved, the consumer complaints investigator will refer it to the Consumer Protector.
- If the Consumer Protector finds reason to prosecute the matter, the complaint will be referred to the Consumer Affairs Court for adjudication. The Consumer Protector will represent the complainant in the Consumer Affairs Court.
- The Consumer Affairs Court was established as an administrative tribunal in terms of the Act to hear cases against persons or companies accused of conducting unfair business practices under the Act and may hear certain matters falling within its jurisdiction in terms of the CPA.
The Court has the power to:
- Issue an order prohibiting unfair business practice.
- Confirm arrangements negotiated by the Consumer Protector.
- Declare certain business practices to be unfair.
For more information on the Gauteng Office of Consumer Affairs, please click here.
How to contact the office?
The South African Savings Institute (SASI)
The National Consumer Commission (NCC