Authors: Rohan Isaacs and Tatum Govender

Although the country is moving to level 3, more and more suppliers had already turned to online or telephonic sales to get their businesses starting up again. This is because these types of sales were largely permitted during level 4, in terms of directions issued on 14 May, and because consumers feel more at ease ordering online rather than shopping in-store. More people have also become accustomed to shopping online. Directions issued by government impose numerous obligations on suppliers, couriers and consumers, which are additional to those already imposed in other laws.

If you’re a consumer looking to buy goods online or by telephone during the lockdown, below are some* of the do’s and don’ts to be aware of:

DO’s   DON’T’S
Wear a cloth face mask or a homemade item that covers the nose and mouth when receiving goods from a courier or delivery person. Do not have physical contact with the courier or delivery personnel.
Maintain at least one and a half metres distance from the courier or delivery person. If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or have symptoms of COVID-19 or have been in contact with someone who has COVID-19, do not collect goods.
Disinfect goods using guidelines published by

  1. the National Department of Health; and
  2. the relevant retailer.
Do not order prohibited goods from blackmarket sellers.
When packaging goods for return, follow written guidelines provided by the retailer to safely disinfect the goods. Do not use online retailers that you do not trust. The COVID-19 pandemic has given rise to many scams.
If you have received goods from a courier or delivery person and subsequently are diagnosed with, or suspect that you are, COVID-19 positive, report that you have been in contact with the courier or delivery person to your healthcare provider.

*The regulations are detailed. This is a summary intended to provide an overview of the most important obligations. For specific advice, please contact us.

If you are a retailer, your obligations are set out here and if you are a courier, your obligations are set out here.


For more information, please contact Rohan Isaacs or Tatum Govender or your usual Herbert Smith Freehills:

Rohan Isaacs
Rohan Isaacs
Director, Johannesburg
+27 10 500 2667
Tatum Govender
Tatum Govender
Associate, Johannesburg
+27 10 500 2665