Rural consumers' consciousness and use of the Consumer Protection Act in the Valspan community within the Phokwane Municipality
Pretorius, Louise Stephanie
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The Consumer Protection Act (68 of 2008) (CPA) in South Africa was created with the main purpose of protecting the interests of South African consumers and especially those of the disadvantaged consumers who are often found in rural areas. Rural consumers are considered disadvantaged as they often have a lack of resources such as basic education and sufficient income needed to address basic life needs. These characteristics cause the rural consumer to be in a disadvantaged position and vulnerable to exploitation from unethical retailers in the marketplace. In order for rural consumers to protect themselves in the marketplace, they need to be conscious of the CPA and be able to effectively use it when they encounter problems with purchases. Due to a lack of research regarding rural consumers’ consciousness of the CPA and accordingly also their use thereof, a dire need to explore this phenomenon was identified. Therefore this study aimed to explore and describe rural consumers’ consciousness and use of the CPA in order to create a platform for future education and interventions regarding the CPA if needed. This research study explored and described rural consumers’ post-purchase behaviour regarding defective goods, rural consumers’ consciousness of the CPA with regard to defective goods as well as rural consumers’ use of the CPA. A mixed method research approach, involving an exploratory sequential design, focused on instrument development, was followed during this research study. Research of both qualitative and quantitative phases was conducted in the Valspan community within the Phokwane Municipality Northern Cape Province, South Africa. The qualitative findings from 14 one-on-one semi-structured interviews were utilised to develop the questionnaire for use in the quantitative phase. The qualitative findings were thematically analysed and themes regarding rural consumers’ post-purchase behaviour with regard to defective goods was identified. The quantitative data was collected by means of 249 interview-administered questionnaires in Valspan. The quantitative results indicated that the majority of respondents’ defective purchases consisted of food products which were mostly returned to the retailer as the preferred postpurchase behaviour. The majority of respondents were not conscious of the CPA and consequently did not use the CPA when they encounter problems with purchases. Additional results revealed a relationship between respondents’ income and education levels with their consciousness and use of the CPA. A definite need for education regarding the CPA was also determined among rural consumers whereby consumer education and interventions was recommended for the establishment of responsible consumer behaviour in the marketplace, which in turn would lead to improved consumer protection and well-being.
- Health Sciences 
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