Original Research

Discrimination against customers by retail chain stores and the impact of the law

K Reddy
South African Journal of Economic and Management Sciences | Vol 8, No 2 | a1223 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajems.v8i2.1223 | © 2014 K Reddy | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 25 September 2014 | Published: 20 October 2014

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K Reddy, Durban Institute of Technology

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Abstract

Profit and other related objectives of business emphasise the need to distinguish between different customers or groups of customers. The South African Constitution, on the other hand, specifically prohibits unfair discrimination. This paper examines the legal principle of non-discrimination, as set out in the Constitution and the Equality Act, as well as the impact that these provisions have on discrimination against customers. The literature study shows that there is a legal obligation on business to ensure the provision of equitable customer service. An exploratory study was conducted among the customers of retail chain store outlets in Clermont, a historically disadvantaged area, to identify examples of differentiated treatment of customers by retail chain stores. Customer perceptions have in fact shown areas of differentiation which could be viewed as unfair discrimination unless justified


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