Law No. 2011/012 of 6 May 2011 enacted by the President of the Republic after deliberation by the National Assembly was a significant milestone in protecting consumers’ rights.
If the adage “customer is the king” is anything to go by, then in actual effect, the customer who by implication is the consumer has inalienable rights for consuming goods and services. It is therefore against this backdrop that the government tabled a bill to the National Assembly in 2011 relating to the protection of consumers’ rights. The law establishes the legal framework for consumer protection in country. This was the first piece of legislation entirely consecrated to consumer protection in Cameroon. Before 2011, consumer protection was regulated by Part IV of the 1990 law on commercial activity in Cameroon. This law applies to all transactions relating to the supply, distribution, sale and exchange of technology, goods and services relating to consumer protection. These transactions include health, pharmacy, food, water, housing, education, financial services, banking, transport, energy, and communication sectors. These are the usual areas in which persons acquire property or services primarily for personal, family or household purpose. Mindful of the proliferation of transactions in technology, the legislator has expressly listed technology alongside goods and services among the areas of consumer law in Cameroon. According to Atanga Law office in its appraisal of the instrument, the framework law guarantees consumers’ adequate protection against unfair trade and credit practices in consumer goods and services as well as against faulty and dangerous goods, restrictive business practices, unfair business practices and abusive clauses have been unequivocally defined. The definition of these terms is particularly relevant because the framework law expressly proscribes their inclusion in all contracts and transactions governed by the framework law The spirit underlying the May 6, 2011 framework law on consumer protection is highly protective of the consumer. This law incorporates by reference consumer rights contained in applicable treaties, laws and regulations and in addition, sets out six principles which encapsulate fundamental consumer rights. To guarantee to consumers a maximum protection, the framework law has put in place restrictions and sanctions on the providers of consumer technologies, goods and services. It also takes into consideration the right to physical safety and healthy environment of consumers. Consumer goods and services posing a risk either to human or animal health or to the environment must include a user manual in English and in French, comprising readily visible warnings to allow normal use under maximum security conditions.