Lewis referred to the Consumer Tribunal again

By Danielle van Wyk

“Shareholders are advised that the National Credit Regulator (NCR) has referred Lewis’ operating subsidiary, Lewis Stores Proprietary Limited (Lewis), to the National Consumer Tribunal
(Tribunal) for alleged breach of the National Credit Act (NCA),” remarked Lewis on Monday. This marking the third referral of the Lewis in recent months.

The referral relates to the “costs charged by Lewis Stores under certain maintenance agreements concluded with its customers since 2007, in terms of which they have allegedly been provided with extended warranty cover, in addition to the cover available to them in terms of supplier and manufacturer warranties for the same period; and certain club membership fees charged by Lewis Stores to its customers since 2007,” explained Lewis.

The referral was based on the NCR’s alleged findings that the fees and costs charged to Lewis customers were in contravention of the NCA and therefore requests that Lewis reimburse all affected customers.

“The NCR further requests that the Tribunal restrains Lewis Stores from charging maintenance costs and club fees to customers in an unlawful manner in the future and seeks certain ancillary relief, including the imposition of an administrative fine of 10% of the annual turnover of Lewis Stores,” said Lewis.

Lewis have responded by saying that the accusations and findings of the NCR were inaccurate.

“Having considered the allegations contained in the referral along with Lewis’ external legal counsel, Lewis believes that the allegations are without merit,” stated the group.

Lewis has subsequently also instructed by its legal representatives to oppose the referral, and promised to keep all shareholders up to date with these developments.

“This is the third time that the NCR has referred Lewis to the tribunal, which has so far not ruled on any of the allegations against Lewis,” explained Business Day.

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