The highly anticipated Consumer Protection Act comes into effect this Friday 1 April, and the consumer market is going to be changed almost beyond recognition. Read other posts on CPA: The Practical Stuff and What does the CPA mean for me, the consumer
As of this Friday you, the consumer have the right to demand quality service as well as full disclosure of the price of the goods or services you are acquiring.
In layman’s terms it means you now have legal protection against false, misleading and even deceptive advertising.
In legal terms, we’re referring to Section 56 of the CPA: “Implied warranty of quality”.
For whatever reason over the years, the South African retail market has developed the stance that once goods have been purchased, they cease to become the problem of the retailer whether goods are defective or not.
BEFORE: Your options include holding on to your broken goods/service because the retailer is unwilling to accept a returned item. Or you get given credit for the store for something of similar value. The cash is not given back so you can go to another store and get better after-sales service. You’re locked in.
AFTER: The consumer now has the power to decide how they should be compensated should goods or service fail. You can choose from three options:
There is an exception to this rule, if you knowingly purchase low quality or defective goods, then the supplier can choose to either replace or refund the goods.
We anticipate a lot of disputes for both consumers and suppliers.
Two weeks ago we mentioned that all products, almost without exception will now carry a six month guarantee whether or not they had any guarantee terms previously.
How does this apply to the scenario of an expensive cotton polo shirt that shrinks and fades in 5 months The consumer may deem this to be a failure of the product bought claiming that there was no warning against said shrinking or fading. The supplier will argue that the shirt’s state is merely an effect of normal wear and tear, or perhaps that the consumer left the shirt out in the sun for elongated periods of time causing fading.
It may be a while before both consumers and suppliers get onto the same page. Suppliers however need to get ahead of the curve sooner rather than later to avoid penalties and harmful claims against them.