Summary: National Consumer Commission head Mamodupi Mohlala says consumers can use the CPA to return their BlackBerry devices and claim a refund.
Commissioner Mamodupi Mohlala said consumers would find protection under sections 55, 56 and 61 of the Consumer Protection Act, which provided rights on the quality of goods, and liability for damage caused by goods.
Everyone who was involved in the value chain could be held liable in terms of section 61 of the act.
Some commentators said this might be difficult because the system failure occurred outside South Africa.
BlackBerry traffic is routed through two main centres, in Waterloo for North America, and in Slough, southern England, for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Business Day continued.
Mohlala said consumers who had bought their BlackBerry handsets after April could return them and demand another brand with an equal value, or a refund because the service promised was not delivered.
The commission had received one complaint so far.
Meanwhile, services appeared to have resumed on Thursday.
According to a statement on BlackBerry’s South Africa website the company was working on clearing up the message backlog.
Comment was not immediately available on the company’s approach to compensation.
There were around two million BlackBerry handsets in South Africa –around 70 percent of the local smartphone market.