more usefull info from IOL ...Days are numbered for those no returns signs
August 18 2010 at 06:42AM
The Consumer Protection Act will be a godsend for consumers when it becomes fully effective on October 24, but it will only really empower you if you know how it applies to your life.
So I was gratified to discover the Department of Trade and Industry has embarked on a campaign to raise awareness among consumers and businesses about a key part of the act - returns and refunds.
Department of Trade and Industry officials will be addressing communities in halls in rural areas - the sorts of places where some of the worst consumer abuses occur because consumers are generally unaware of their rights and thus unlikely to make a fuss when they're denied them.
How wonderful that they're going to discover retailers will have to rip down those nasty "No refunds, no returns" signs.
If they don't remove the signs - which have always denied consumers their common law protection against being sold goods with latent defects - I hope word spreads so far and wide about what the act prescribes about returns so that such retailers come under intense pressure from their customers to stop denying them their rights.
In my experience, shoe shops and small boutiques are among the worst offenders when it comes to refusing to take responsibility for dodgy goods.
So here's what the act states, in short: consumers are entitled to refunds if goods do not perform in a way they were made to believe they would; or if goods are inherently faulty and they were not aware of this at the time of purchase; or if the goods turn out to be not the same as those shown to them prior to delivery.
A typical example of the last scenario is the customer who sees a lounge suite on display on a showroom floor, orders one and later takes delivery of one that is slightly different - usually not in a good way.
(Tip: Always take photos of a demonstration item before placing your order.)
You will have the right to return unsafe or defective items within six months of purchase or delivery. You will be entitled to return the item to the supplier - without any penalty, at the supplier's risk and expense - if it is defective or not what you were sold. This is especially empowering in the case of mail order purchases.
And here's the really good part. You decide whether you want a refund, a replacement or a repair - not the company.
If you opt for a repair and it fails within three months, the supplier is obliged to replace the item or refund you what you paid for it.
But as in any sphere of life, consumers have responsibilities regarding returns, too - you must examine what you're buying carefully, keep your slips and adhere to the manufacturer's operating or cleaning instructions.
These rights don't apply in the case of abuse of goods.
You also have no right of return if the item is not defective and you simply had a change of heart.
Many retailers do exchange goods in such circumstances, and will continue to do so as a customer service, but they cannot be forced to do so.
This article was originally published on page 11 of The Star on August 18, 2010
...Delays in consumer protection
39 minutes ago
Pretoria - The Consumer Protection Act is supposed to come into force in two months’ time, but key staffing positions for the structures that have to apply the law are still being advertised.
The closing date for the positions of commissioner and deputy commissioner of the National Consumer Commission is only the end of August.
The Consumer Protection Act (which is to be policed by the commission) should come into force on October 24.
The draft regulations that offer guidelines on how the new act is to be applied have however not been published yet.
At this stage it appears that these will come out at the beginning of September, when opportunity for comment will be given for at least a month.
Nomfundo Maseti, chief director of policy and legislation at the department of trade and industry, said the minister has the power to postpone the commencement of the act.
She said that if the administrative processes are not in place to apply the law appropriately the minister could announce a postponement.
She said the possibility of a postponement could not be ruled out. It was very possible that it would in fact happen, she then added.
On Friday she told Sake24 that the composition of the commission had not been finalised, and that the commission had no offices.
It however seems that they will be situated on the department of trade and industry’s campus in Pretoria.
The act was signed on April 24 last year and is supposed to come into force 12 to 18 months after being signed.
According to the advertisements for the post of Commissioner, the incumbent will earn R1.3m a year and his or her deputy R976 317.
Diane Terblanche, chairperson of the Consumer Tribunal, said companies have had a year to prepare for the coming into force of the act.
The tribunal will hear cases referred to it by the commission and it will mainly deal with prohibited practices contained in Chapter 2 of the act.
Also included are aspects such as the consumer's right to privacy, the right to choose, the right to disclosure of information and the right to fair and honest treatment.
Consumers, said Terblanche, will first have to try to resolve their problems or differences themselves.
The tribunal and commission will not be the first step in the consumers' search for justice.
in all honesty i don't mind paying more as long as i get the service i pay for. these days we get ripped off to often so i'm willing to accept this new act wholeheartedlyI don't think this is going to be all good news for consumers. Suppliers are most definitely going to up their prices to allow for the additional costs of doing business. Yes we'll be better protected, but we're going to have to pay for that priveledge
very true indeedI don't think this is going to be all good news for consumers. Suppliers are most definitely going to up their prices to allow for the additional costs of doing business. Yes we'll be better protected, but we're going to have to pay for that priveledge
The only companies who will raise their prices to compensate is those who are dodgy anyway. Above board companies that act responsibly and give refunds where necessary are already doing their part and wont be hit. Those doing the dirty will be hit, and will either go out of business due to their shady business practices, be forced to swallow the cost, or pass it onto the consumer. If they pass it onto the consumer, it could result in lower sales as remember they still have to compete.I don't think this is going to be all good news for consumers. Suppliers are most definitely going to up their prices to allow for the additional costs of doing business. Yes we'll be better protected, but we're going to have to pay for that priveledge