Consumer Protection Act – Part 1
As we head in to the “big days” of shopping, it is important to remember that the rights of South Africans are protected by the Consumer Protection Act. It is also important to acknowledge that our consumer rights, are in no way negated or taken away, when we buy goods on sale.
Our main consumer rights are :
- Right to privacy.
- Right to choose your product.
- Right to fair and honest dealing.
- Right to disclosure of information.
- Right to fair and responsible marketing.
- Right to accountability by suppliers.
- Right to fair value, good quality and safety.
- Right to fair, just and reasonable terms and conditions.
1) RIGHT TO PRIVACY
Consumers have a right to refuse unwanted direct marketing such as telephone calls, sms’s, spam e-mail or letters. Once opted out the supplier is not entitled to continue any unsolicited direct marketing.
2) RIGHT TO CHOOSE YOUR PRODUCT
- a) Right to select supplier
As a consumer you have the right to shop around for the best products and services and the most economical prices.
- b) Right to renew or cancel a fixed term agreement:
- Consumers may terminate fixed term agreements upon expiry without any changes or penalties.
- If consumers fail to cancel fixed term agreements, the supplier must extend the agreement on a month-to-month basis.
- Consumers are obliged to give suppliers at 20 business day’s written notice for the cancellation or a fix term agreement. Suppliers may charge reasonable penalties on early cancellations.
- c) right to request pre-authorisation for maintenance and repairs
- Suppliers may not charge for any diagnostic work or inspections to prepare quotations or estimates unless there was a prior agreement.
- You have a right to refuse or preauthorise additional maintenance or repairs.
- Consumers have a right to requests a written quotation prior to executing any repairs or maintenance
- Suppliers are not allowed to charge a consumer for preparing a cost estimate
- Consumers cannot be held liable to pay any maintenance or repair, done without the Consumer’s prior consent.
- d) right to return goods and seek redress for unsatisfactory services
- Right to return goods that could not be examined prior to delivery.
- Consumers may return defective or unsafe goods and request a full refund, provided it is done within a reasonable period.
- e) RIGHT TO RETAIN UNSOLICITED GOODS WITHOUT PAYMENT
- Consumers may return unsolicited goods or services at the expense and risk of the suppliers.
- Unsolicited services and goods may be retained after twenty Business days.
- f) RIGHT TO CANCEL DIRECT MARKETING CONTRACTS WITHIN THE COOLING-OFF PERIOD
- You are entitled to cancel agreements within the prescribed cooling-off period without incurring penalties of providing reasons for your decision.
- Suppliers must refund within 15 days of receiving the cancelation notice
- All direct marketing transactions must include a cooling off period of at least (5) Business days.
- g) RIGHT TO CANCEL ADVANCE RESERVATIONS, BOOKINGS OR ORDERS
- You have the right to cancel any advanced order, bookings or reservation.
- Depending on the nature and circumstances, suppliers are entitled to request a reasonable charge for the cancelation.
- Suppliers are entitled to a reasonable deposit for bookings, orders and reservations.
- h) RIGHT TO CHOOSE OR EXAMINE GOODS, EVEN AFTER PURCHASE AND DELIVERY
- Consumers may reject goods if it did not correspond with the examined samples.
- Consumers can refuse items that were on display and request unopened new goods.
- Consumers have a right to examine any item purchased or delivered.
- Suppliers may charge consumers for loss or damage of goods if it resulted from any deliberate action, recklessness or gross negligence of the consumer.
3) RIGHT TO FAIR AND HONEST DEALING
- a) RIGHT TO ASSUME THAT SUPPLIERS ARE ENTITLED TO SELL GOODS
- It is a consumer’s right to assume that the supplier have the Legal right to sell the products and goods on promotion by the supplier or that the lessor have the authority to lease goods or products.
- b) RIGHT TO PROTECTION AGAINST PYRAMID AND RELATED SCHEMES.
Persons are not permitted to join, promote or participate in the following schemes:
- Any fraudulent schemes or scams.
- Chain letter schemes.
- Multiplication schemes offering interest rates of 20% above the Reserve Bank repo rate.
- Pyramid schemes, receiving compensation from recruitment of other participants.
- c) RIGHT TO PROTECTION AGAINST FALSE, MISLEADING OR DECEPTIVE REPRESENTATIONS.
- Suppliers are not permitted to provide false, deceptive or misleading representations regarding services and products.
- It is not permitted to use innuendo, ambiguity or exaggeration when referring to products or the benefits thereof.
4) RIGHT TO DISCLOSURE OF INFORMATION
- a) Right to information in plain and understandable language.
- Consumers have the right to demand agreement, contracts and other documents in a plain and understanding language.
- b) Right to sales records
- Consumers are entitled to invoices and receipts
- Suppliers must include the following in their invoices;
- Supplier’s full contract information, business name and VAT
- Name and description of goods
- Transaction date
- Unit price of items
- Quantity of items
- Total price, including TAXES
Source: SA Consumer Complaints