MIO – IGNORANCE IS NO EXCUSE

IGNORANCE IS NO EXCUSE

“I didn’t know.” It is the most-often heard excuse from people in the automotive and related industries for not registering with the Motor Industry Ombudsman of South Africa (MIOSA). Or. “I am not aware that I am compelled by law to register my business with the MIOSA.” Indeed, the MIOSA is constantly confronted with excuses from individuals for not registering with the MIOSA.

All major industry associations discussed the South African automotive industry code of conduct (Code) before it was referred to the National Consumer Commission (NCC). The two major associations were in fact part of the drafting committee. Before the draft code was submitted to the NCC the industry participants funded advertisements in national publications and the government gazette for comments. All comments received were entertained by the drafting committee. Some associations even held road shows to inform their members regarding the implications of the proposed code. Many companies commenced with lectures to familiarise their staff members with the proposed code.

The NCC decided to again advertise the code in national publications and the government gazette before it was submitted to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). Comments received were again entertained. The DTI published the proposed code again for comments in the government gazette. This made the code one of the most published pieces of legislation ever. In view of the above, it is difficult to comprehend how an industry participant can claim to be ignorant of the MIOSA’s existence. The MIOSA is only able to furnish invoices to known industry participants.

If an industry participant neglects or refuses to register and is eventually identified by a MIOSA inspector, invoices will be created and forwarded to such participants to pay all arrears dating back to 17 January 2015. Section 82(8) of the Consumer Protection Act (CPA) must always be kept in mind. It reads: “A supplier must not, in the ordinary course of business, contravene an applicable industry code”.

 

Johan van Vreden

Motor Industry Ombudsman of South Africa