“Education is when you read the fine print. Experience is what you get if you don’t. (via Directory Journal)” Pete Seeger
The South African Consumer Protection Act, No 68 of 2008 was signed on 24 April 2009 and the purpose of the Act is to protect the interests of all consumers, ensure accessible, transparent and efficient redress for consumers who are subjected to abuse or exploitation in the marketplace and also to give effect to internationally recognised consumer rights. The Consumer protection Act define a consumer as any person to whom goods and services are marketed, who is a user of the supplier’s goods, enters into a transaction with the supplier or service provider of any services and products.
As a consumer you have certain rights and you must know your rights and consumers should be aware that they are entitled to enforce their rights. The consumer protection act and the Bill of Rights allow consumer certain rights and these include the following:
- 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.
- Right to Equality in the consumer market and protection against discriminatory marketing.
As leaders in the market we would like to explain your rights in more detail and in an understandable manner. We belief that our users are ordinary people that does not specialise in the Consumer Protection Act and should be able to understand the basics of the Act without any Legal Jargon and fancy Latin words.
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 can not 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
5) RIGHT TO FAIR AND RESPONSIBLE MARKETING
a) Right to protection in catalogue marketing
NB Catalogue marketing refers to any agreement, initiated by the consumer, by fax, telephone or other means, where the consumer could not properly inspect the goods.
Suppliers must disclose the following:
- Registered name or licence number
- Full address and contact details
- Currency for sales
- Sales records
- Delivery arrangements
- Instructions on lodging a complaint
- Policy regarding refunds, returns, exchange and cancellations.
6) RIGHT TO ACCOUNTABILITY BY SUPPLIERS
a) You have the following rights in any lay-Bye agreements
- Full refund of money paid plus interest
- Keep your deposits in an interest bearing account
- If the supplier fail to deliver goods, these suppliers must supply equivalent or superior products to the discretion of the consumer
7) RIGHT TO FAIR VALUE, GOOD QUALITY AND SAFETY
a) Right to demand quality service
Consumers are entitled to the following when entering into an agreement with a supplier
- Timely performance and completion of service
- Notice of any unavoidable delays in the completion of the service
- High quality of workmanship and service
- Use and installation of goods, free of defects and good quality
Suppliers must remedy and defects in quality or services or refund the consumer a reasonable amount of the price of the service or goods.
b) Right to safe, good quality goods
Consumers are entitled to products in good quality and safe working condition and free of defects.
Products must comply with the standards ACT NO 29 of 1993 or any other ACT REGULATIONS.
c) Right to implied warranty of quality
- The producer, importer, distributor and supplier must warrant that the goods comply with requirements of being of good quality, durable and safe for the use as advertised or designed.
- If goods are of inferior quality, unsafe or defective the consumer may return the product within a period of six months at the expense of the supplier.
- Suppliers are obliged to repair, refund or replace the failed, defective or unsafe products
8) RIGHT TO FAIR VALUE, GOOD QUALITY AND SAFETY
a) Right to quality service, when entering into agreements or contracts, consumers are entitled to the following:
- Goods that is free of any defects and of acceptable quality.
- High quality service that a consumer is entitled to.
- Timely performance and completion of the services.
- Notice of any unavoidable delays in the performance of the contract or service.
b) Right to safe and good quality.
- Consumers have a right to receive services and goods in working order, free of defects and good quality and the items must comply with any standards set under the Standards Act No 29 of 1993 and any other public regulations as published from time to time.
c) Right to implied warranty of quality.
- If goods or products are of inferior quality, unsafe or defective, the consumer are permitted to return the goods to the supplier without any penalty and at the suppliers risk and expense within a period of (6) six months after receipt.
- Suppliers are obliged to refund, repair or replace the defective goods at the discretion of the consumer.
d) Right to warranty on repaired goods.
- Every new or reconditioned part installed during any repair or maintenance task , including the labour to install it, must be guaranteed for a period of at least (3) three months.
NB! If consumers are found to be misusing or abuse goods or products while under warranty, the warranties are null and void.
e) Right to receive warnings on the facts and nature of risks.
- Consumers must be provided with adequate instructions for the safe handling of goods as well as any hazards when using the products.
- Suppliers are obliged to inform consumers of any risk of an unusual nature or character that consumers cannot reasonably predict, especially the circumstances that could result in serious injury or death.
f) Right to recovery and safe disposal of products or components.
- Suppliers are responsible for accepting and disposing of waste deemed unsuitable for disposal in common waste systems.
g) Right to have products monitored for safety and or recalled.
- Industry codes will make provision for the return / recall of hazardous, unsafe or defective goods.
h) Right to claim damages for injuries caused by unsafe or defective products.
Producers, importers, distributors or retailers of any products are liable for any harm caused by their products due to the following:
- Supplying of any unsafe products.
- Product failures, defects or hazards in any product.
- When inadequate instructions or warnings were provided to the end user, pertaining from the use of the product, irrespective of whether the harm resulted from any negligence on the part of the producers, importers, distributors or retailers.
SA Consumer Complaints as a private organisation and has no association with the National Consumer Commission or the Department of Trade and Industry.