(July 27, 2009) It was reported on July 15, 2009, that a new South African consumer protection law, already passed by parliament and signed into law by the President of the country but not in effect until April 29 of 2010, will provide tools for consumers to reject unwanted sales solicitations by traders and to compel businesses to change such practices. (Sanchia Temkin, New Laws Aim to Protect Consumers from Unscrupulous Marketers, BUSINESSDAY, July 15, 2009, available at http://www.businessday.co.za/Articles/Content.aspx?id=75776.)
The new law provides that a person has the right to refuse to accept any communication from a direct marketer. When approached in person for the purpose of direct marketing, an individual may, under this law, at any time request that the person who initiated the communication desist from initiating further communication.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the law is the right it affords consumers to preemptively block direct communication through any medium. To this end, it calls for the National Consumer Commission to establish a registry, much like the U.S. National Do Not Call Registry, that preemptively blocks most telemarketers from calling registered telephone numbers, for the purpose of registering a “preemptive block, either generally or for specific purposes, against any communication that is primarily for the purpose of direct marketing.” (Consumer Protection Act No. 68 of 2008, 526: 32186 GOVERNMENT GAZETTE 1-184 (Apr. 29, 2009), available at http://www.info.gov.za/view/DownloadFileAction?id=99961 (last visited July 16, 2009).)