Bloemfontein - Issues with motor vehicles form the bulk of the complaints investigated by the Free State consumer protection office, a spokesperson said on Tuesday.
Of all the complaints received, 30% were about motor vehicles, said economic affairs department spokesman Elsie Ntsane.
She said 20% of the complaints were about furniture and 20% about electrical appliances, 15% were about housing problems and 15% were about clothing, cellphones, toys, medical aid and guesthouses.
Ntsane said the motor vehicle complaints were mainly about dealers failing to provide after-sales services and documents, including proof of purchase or payment and agreement contracts.
The complaints about furniture and electrical appliances were mainly about dealers refusing to take back defective goods.
She said the office received 164 complaints in the first quarter of the financial year.
Of these, 144 cases were investigated and resolved by trade and industry advisers in the office. The other 20 were resolved by the Free State Consumer Court.
Ntsane said many unsuspecting consumers fell prey to harmful business practices because they were not aware of their rights.
The Free State Consumer Protection Act recognises eight consumer rights: the right to be heard, to safety, to redress, to a healthy environment, to be informed, to choose, to consumer education and to satisfaction of basic needs.
Ntsane said consumer complaints could be lodged telephonically or in writing, either by fax or post, or in person.
She said the services of the consumer protection office are free.