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Your Consumer Rights Simplified

Your Consumer Rights Simplified

Feige Lewin
  • what you should know about your consumer rights

There are plenty days in a calendar that aren’t given too much attention and fly under the radar. Today has got to be one of them. Today is World Consumer Rights Day. Yes I know…

 

World Consumer Rights Day is a day I’ve never paid attention to before. But, it’s kind of important.

World Consumer Rights Day was established in 1983 to promote the basic rights of consumers everywhere. The date traces back to the 15th March 1962, when then US President, John F Kennedy gave an address to the US congress. He addressed consumer rights in his speech, making him the first world leader to do so.

 

At the very least it should be a day where you take a moment to educate yourself on what your consumer rights in this country are.

And so, I set out to do just that. That is until I came across the full Consumer Protection Act of 2008 (the one that was signed almost seven years ago on the 24th of April 2009). Unfortunately, the 94 pages did not scream read me.

Lucky for me, I found a pretty useful pocket guide that cut down the 94 to 27. I recommend you take a look at it, but in case your interest levels fall below zero, I’ve pulled out some information that I found useful.

 

So before you;

Enter into a fixed agreement,

  • You have the right to cancel fixed-term agreements upon expiry of the contract period. Without penalty or charge.
  • If you cancel beforehand, you are obliged to provide suppliers with 20 business days’ notice. You can do so in writing or other recorded means. Reasonable penalties may apply.
  • If you fail to cancel and agreement after a fixed term, suppliers must extend it on a month-to-month basis.

 

Request a quote,

  • You have the right to request written quote from a supplier, prior to any repairs or maintenance services.
  • Suppliers cannot charge for drawing up a quote.
  • You are not liable to pay for repairs or maintenance services done without your prior approval.

Enter into, or cancel a contract,

  • Suppliers are required to include a ‘cooling-off period’ in direct marketing transactions. These generally span five business days.
  • You have the right to cancel agreements within the cooling-off period. You can do this without providing reasons or incurring penalties.
  • Suppliers are required to return payments received from you. This must be done within 15 business days of receiving the cancellation notice.
  • You have the right to demand contracts/agreements in easily-understood and plain language.

Make a booking,

  • You have the right to cancel any advance reservations, bookings or orders.
  • Suppliers are entitled to request a reasonable, advance deposit for reservations, bookings or orders.
  • Suppliers are entitled to impose a reasonable charge for the cancellation of reservations, bookings or orders.
  • In the event a supplier makes an overbooking, you have the right to demand a refund for the full amount paid. This can be with interest at prescribed rates, from the date of payment until the date of reimbursement.

Purchase a product without examining it first,

  • You have the right to refuse display items or opened goods, and request unopened/ new goods.
  • You are entitled to reject goods if they don’t match with what you pre-approved.
  • Suppliers are required to provide consumers with reasonable opportunity to examine goods that are purchased or delivered.

Spot two different prices advertising the same product,

  • You have the right to demand paying the lower price for goods that are displaying two varying prices. Suppliers are not permitted to charge you the higher price for the same goods. The next time you’re at the till and something is rung up wrong, don’t just let it slide.

Accept unsolicited goods,

  • You have the right to return unsolicited goods or services, at the risk and expense of the suppliers.
  • You are also entitled to keep unsolicited goods or services after 20 business days.

Allow a delivery/ installation crew into your home,

  • Deliverers and installers are required to visibly display their name badges or similar ID when delivering or installing goods/products.
  • You have the right to demand identification from the deliverers/ installers prior to allowing delivery or installation of goods/products.

Buy a product with a warranty,

  • You have the right to return goods to suppliers, without penalty and at the suppliers’ risk and expense, within a period of six months after delivery of such goods. You can do this if the goods are of inferior quality, unsafe or defective.
  • Suppliers are obliged to refund, repair or replace the failed, unsafe or defective goods.
  • Suppliers are obliged to replace goods or refund the consumer the price paid for the goods within a period of three months after repairs have been done. This is relevant if the repaired goods are found to be defective, have failed or are considered unsafe.
  • Warranties are null and void if you are found to be misusing or abusing goods or property, while under warranty.

 

Or

Enter into a scheme that sounds like Pyramid

Did you know that you are not permitted to, directly or indirectly, promote or knowingly join, enter into or participate in the following schemes:

  • Multiplication schemes. (Offering interest rates of 20% and above the South African Reserve Bank-regulated repo rate.);
  • Pyramid schemes. (Receiving compensation, primarily from the respective recruitment of other participants.);
  • Chain letter schemes. (Actively soliciting or recruiting participants, and obtain compensation for new recruits.)

You might want to click on the plus sign next to any of the above to reveal some useful info on each!

 

Need more info or have a complaint? Here’s some useful numbers;

The Consumer Help Line: 0861 843 384

The dti Office of Consumer Protection: (012) 394 1436 / 1558 /1076

The dti E-mail: contactus@thedti.gov.za

The dti Website: www.thedti.gov.za

National Consumer Tribunal (NCT): (012) 663 5615

NCT E-mail: Registry@thenct.org.za

NCT Website: www.thenct.org.za

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