World Consumer Rights Day
The 15th of March is known as World Consumer Rights Day. Many organisations use the day to raise awareness of consumer rights in their country and also to try to get people involved in demanding that their rights be respected.
Why March 15?
Back in 1962 US President John F Kennedy sent a message to the US Congress about consumer rights and the date kind of just stuck. In 1983 consumer movements first officially chose the day to use to raise awareness about consumer rights.
‘Consumers…are the only group whose views are often not heard’- JFK
South Africa has a Consumer Protection Act which has helped protect consumers. Though many companies still ignore requirements of the Act, it does allow consumers recourse when service providers and companies try to abuse them or fail to provide the service offered.
A big part of the Consumer Protection Act is that you be provided with a clear indication of what services you will receive (normally in a written contract which you sign or very detailed quotation).
This year the National Credit Regulator has urged consumers not to pay upfront fees when applying for loans (as that is normally a scam where you lose whatever you pay) and to beware of any offers that seem too good to be true.
Debt Counsellors also urge consumers to learn more about their right to make use of the provision of Debt Counselling and Debt Review as set out in the National Credit Act. If you are struggling to pay everyone what you owe and still look after your families financial needs each month then you probably qualify to get help through the courts and debt review. If you are stressed about collections calls and your debt then exercise this right.
Free Credit Bureau Reports
Organisations like CONFEF ( The Consumer Financial Education Foundation) are also helping consumers know more about their credit status by offering free credit bureau reports. You can get one here: http://www.confef.org.za/2017/10/05/free-credit-reports/
If you feel that your rights are not being respected or that you are being taken advantage of then speak up and ask for help.