Bad news first
I hope you’re sitting down, because what I’m going to tell you might come as a bit of a surprise.
If you’re found guilty of contravening the Consumer Protection Act, you could end up in jail. Depending on the type of contravention, you could in fact face up to ten years in prison.
Oh, and I should probably add that South African estate agents who are found guilty of non-compliance could also pay fines of up to 10% of their annual turnover or one million Rand, whichever is the greater amount.
If you have a business (and a pulse… ), I’m sure that got your attention.
See why I asked if you contemporary meaning were sitting down?
But wait, there’s good news!
Don’t despair, though. It’s not as bad as you think.
You and your business are going to be alright.
What is this CPA business everybody talks about?
By the way, if I talk about the Act or the CPA, I’m referring to the Consumer Protection Act, 68 of 2008. It’s quite a hefty piece of legislation – 238 pages to be exact – so we’re obviously not going to be covering everything in detail. That would take far too long, and you would be begging for mercy by the time we reach paragraph 3.
Now let’s get back to the importance of the Act.
The name might give you a clue, so I’ll just go ahead and confirm it: The Consumer Protection Act aims to protect consumers. As an estate agent, your existing clients as well as your potential clients – those people you advertise your services to – will be regarded as consumers.
Estate agents and other businesses (also called “suppliers” in the Act), which regularly deal with consumers, must comply with certain rules, which are set out in the Act (and the regulations under the Act).
If you are an employer, you are also liable for the conduct of your employees. Section 113 provides that you are jointly and severally liable with your employees or agents if they contravene the Act in the course of their employment.
Luckily this doesn’t apply to criminal liability also, but you could still end up with a hefty fine if your employees contravene the provisions of the Act.
Simply put, ensure you provide proper child discipline laws california training on the Act for your staff.
It makes good business sense to get a proper understanding of the Act and its consequences for your real estate business.
Bad news first