Advocate Neville Melville, appointed as the Consumer Goods and Services Ombudsman

Former Ombudsman for Banking Services, Advocate Neville Melville, has been appointed as the Consumer Goods and Services Ombudsman. Advocate Melville has extensive experience in the dispute resolution field, having cut his teeth at the National Peace Accord in turbulent KwaZulu-Natal in the run-up to South Africa’s first democratic election.

He founded the Independent Complaints Directorate which dealt with complaints regarding police misconduct nationally under the Nelson Mandela administration before becoming Banking Ombudsman, in which capacity he served for seven years, commencing in 2000. Since then he has been involved in assisting various ombudsman offices locally and in other African countries in setting up their offices, training their staff members, compiling manuals, reviewing their processes and conducting research.

Melville is well versed in consumer law, having compiled the book The Consumer Protection Act Made Easy and co-authored Know your Consumer Rights. He has assisted various blue chip companies and other organisations in implementing the Consumer Protection Act or in improving upon their complaint-handling capacities.

Melville holds an LLM degree from the University of Natal and attended the Harvard Business School / Wits Senior Executive Programme and the Altex Company Director’s Induction course. He is a member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (London).

The office of the Consumer Goods Services Ombud (CGSO) has been established to provide guidelines for the consumer goods and services industry on the minimum conduct standards expected when engaging with consumers and to assist in resolving disputes. The Ombudsman will deal with consumer complaints against suppliers within the consumer goods and services industry, including retail, manufacturing, and wholesale sectors.

Melville said, “It is the aim of the CGSO to relieve the pressure currently being experienced by the National Consumer Commission, thereby freeing it up to focus on its regulatory mandate, as is envisaged in the Consumer Protection Act 68 of 2008 (CPA)”. The appointment is in line with the CPA, which came into full effect on 1 April 2011, and is fully supported by the Consumer Goods Council of South Africa (CGCSA) and its members.

Consumers with complaints should first approach the supplier involved, which they may do directly or through the CGSO sharecall number (0860 000272) or by emailing info@cgso.org.za or visit the www.cgso.org.za