The role of alternative dispute resolution in consumer protection in Lesotho

Master Thesis


Permanent link to this Item
Journal Title
Link to Journal
Journal ISSN
Volume Title

University of Cape Town

The absence of appropriate and effective mechanisms for consumer disputes in a legal system can result in a denial of access to justice. Consumers struggle to have their disputes settled because most of their claims are of small value and some consumers are low-income earners. Costs of litigating a claim in the formal court system are very high and the procedural formalities involved hinder consumers‟access to justice. As a result, alternative dispute resolution (ADR) seems to address that challenge as an appropriate approach to consumer disputes because it promises cost effective, efficient and fast mechanisms of resolving disputes. The purpose of this study is to examine the role of alternative dispute resolution in Lesotho in consumer protection. This is achieved by examining the available dispute resolution processes and how they function. Also, this study makes a comparison with the South African law regulating consumer protection in particular dispute resolution. It discusses ADR in consumer protection at international level as contained in the OECD report and EU Directives. The problem that exists in the market place is that bargaining power favours the sellers. As a result there are laws in place that protect consumers against manipulative or fraudulent sellers, but those laws do not mean anything to consumers if they cannot be enforced through proper channels for their benefit. Therefore, there have been various ADR mechanisms adopted by different legal systems in order to assist consumers to fully realise their rights. Some of these ADR mechanisms might be appropriate for consumer disputes but are very advanced and are not appropriate for a country like Lesotho due to the nature of consumers there and the country‟s economy. Despite South Africa being more economically developed compared to Lesotho it has introduced some of the ADR procedures which are easy to establish and seem to be working well to address consumers‟ claims. As a result, this study would recommend Lesotho to amend its laws in relation to consumer dispute resolution and revise Consumer policy which has been adopted recently.

Includes bibliographical references