Know Your Rights

Right to Accountability from Suppliers 

 

What does this mean for the ordinary consumer? 

 

Your right to protection in lay-bye agreements

             
Consumers are entitled to the following, in lay-bye agreements:

  • Purchase goods and services via lay-bye agreements. In this case, if the suppliers fail to deliver any goods, these suppliers must, at the discretion of the consumers, supply equivalent or superior products;
  • Full refund of money paid, plus interest; and
  • Keep their deposits in an interest-bearing account. 

         

Your right to protection with regard to prepaid certificates, credits and

vouchers, and access to prepaid services and service facilities

         

Suppliers in possession of any prepaid certificates, credits, vouchers, membership fees or other money belonging to the consumers, must do the following:

  • Not treat such property as theirs;
  • Exercise care, diligence and skill; and
  • Assume liability for any losses suffered by consumers in this regard.

            

WHERE TO COMPLAIN

 

The Consumer Protection Act aims to promote consumer activism, by making provision for the accreditation of consumer groups tasked with lodging complaints on behalf of consumers, as well as making available support for activities, such as consumer advice, education, publications, research and alternative dispute resolution through mediation or conciliation.

 

As such, the Act gives rise to the establishment of the National Consumer Commission, a body assigned to investigate consumer complaints, as well as the National Consumer Tribunal, the latter of which was created by the National Credit Act in September 2006, and is responsible for the adjudication of violations and transgressions of the National Credit Act and the Consumer Protection Act.

 

Consumer Help Line, via

  • the dti Customer Contact Centre: 0861 843 384
  • the dti Office of Consumer Protection (OCP) : (012) 394 1436 / 1558 /1076
  • E-mail:
  • the dti Website: www.thedti.gov.za
  • National Consumer Tribunal (NCT): (012) 663 5615
  • NCT E-mail:
  • NCT Website: www.thenct.org.za

        

Know Your Rights

Right to Fair Value, Good Quality and Safety

 

What does this mean for the ordinary consumer?

 

Your right to demand quality service


Consumers are entitled to the following, when entering into agreements/contracts with suppliers:
 

  • Timely performance and completion of those services;
  • Timely notice of any unavoidable delays in the performance of the services;
  • High-quality services, which consumers are entitled to expect; and 
  • Use, delivery or installation of goods that are free of defects and of a quality that persons are generally entitled to expect, if any such goods are required for performance of the services.
  • Suppliers are required to remedy any defects in the quality of services performed or goods supplied; or refund the consumers a reasonable portion of the price paid for the services performed and goods supplied, in the event of these being sub-standard.

      

Your right to safe, good quality goods

  • Consumers are entitled to receive goods or services that are of good quality, in good working order and free of any defects, and that comply with any applicable standards set under the Standards Act, No. 29 of 1993 or any other public regulation.

      

Your right to implied warranty of quality

  • In any transaction or agreement pertaining to the supply of goods to consumers, it is an implied provision that the producer or importer, distributor and retailer each warrant that the goods comply with the requirements and standards of being safe, of good quality and durable.
  • Consumers are permitted to return goods to suppliers, without penalty and at the suppliers’ risk and expense, within a period of six (6) months after delivery of such goods, if the goods are of inferior quality, unsafe or defective.
  • Suppliers are obliged to refund, repair or replace the failed, unsafe and defective goods.

        

Right to Fair Value, Good Quality and Safety continued

  • Suppliers are obliged to replace goods or refund the consumer the price paid for the goods within a period of three (3) months after repairs have been done, if the repaired goods are found to be defective, have failed or are considered unsafe.

         

Your right to a warranty on repaired goods

  • Suppliers are obliged to warrant every new or reconditioned part installed during any repair or maintenance work, and the labour required to install it, for a period of three (3) months after the date of installation or a longer period, as the supplier may specify in writing.

NB! Warranties are null and void if consumers are found to be misusing or abusing goods or property, while under warranty.

 

Your right to receive warnings on the fact and nature of risks

  • Suppliers are obliged to make consumers aware of any risks of an unusual character or nature, risks of which consumers could not reasonably be expected to be aware, or which ordinarily alert consumers could not reasonably be expected to contemplate, depending on the specific circumstances or risk that could result in serious injury or death.
  • Suppliers are obliged to bring to the consumers’ attention notice/labelling of any hazardous or unsafe goods, and provide the consumers with adequate instructions for the safe handling and use of those goods.

         

Your right to recovery and safe disposal of designated products or components

  • Suppliers are responsible for accepting and disposing of waste deemed unsuitable for disposal in common waste systems, if so specified in any national legislation.

          

Your 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.

         

Your right to claim damages for injuries caused by unsafe/defective goods

  • Producers, importers, distributors or retailers of any goods are each liable for any harm caused wholly or in part, as a consequence of the following:
  • Supplying any unsafe goods;
  • Product failure, defect or hazard in any goods; or
  • Inadequate instructions or warnings provided to the consumer pertaining to any hazard arising from or associated with the use of any goods, irrespective of whether the harm resulted from any negligence on the part of the producers, importers, distributors or retailers, as the case may be.

    

Know Your Rights

Right to Fair, Just and Reasonable Terms and Conditions

 

What does this mean for the ordinary consumer?

 

Your right to protection against unfair, unreasonable or unjust contract terms

  • Suppliers are not permitted to market, supply or enter into an agreement to supply goods or services at prices or terms that are unfair, unreasonable or unjust.
  • Suppliers are not permitted to require consumers to waive any rights, assume any obligations, waive any liability of the suppliers on terms that are unfair, unreasonable or unjust.

         

Your right to obtain notice for certain terms and conditions

  • Suppliers are required to provide consumers with prior written notice of clauses in agreements that may constitute a potential risk or liability to consumers.
  • Suppliers must specifically draw the fact, nature and potential effects of risks to the attention of consumers, in a conspicuous manner and form, to which the consumers accordingly accept responsibility.

     

Your right to obtain free copies of agreements/contracts

  • Consumers are entitled to obtain free copies or free electronic access to copies of agreements/contracts, irrespective of whether consumers have entered into such agreements/contracts.
  • Free copies should include an itemised breakdown of financial obligations under such agreements.
  • Suppliers are required to keep records of transactions entered into over telephone or other recordable forms, in the event of the consumer-supplier agreement not being in writing.

      

Right to Fair, Just and Reasonable Terms and Conditions

Your right to refuse prohibited transactions, agreements, and terms or conditions

Suppliers are not permitted to make a transaction or agreement if the terms and conditions:

  • Are contrary to this Act;
  • Mislead or deceive consumers;
  • Subject the consumers to fraudulent conduct;
  • Directly or indirectly deprives consumers of rights in terms of this Act;
  • Avoid suppliers’ obligations or duties in terms of this Act;
  • Limit or exempt suppliers of goods or services from liability for any loss, directly or indirectly attributable to the gross negligence of the suppliers or any persons acting for or controlled by the suppliers;
  • Constitute an assumption of risk or liability by the consumers for a loss;
  • Impose an obligation on consumers to pay for damage to, or otherwise;
  • Require the consumers to enter into supplementary agreements;
  • Falsely express an acknowledgement by the consumers that before the agreement was made, no representations or warranties were made in connection with the agreement by the supplier or a person on behalf of the supplier; or
  • Require the consumers to forfeit any money to the supplier.

     

Your right to approach the Court to ensure fair and just conduct, terms and

Conditions 

  • If consumers are not satisfied with the outcomes of the National Consumer Tribunal’s investigation into alleged unconscionable, unjust or unfair conduct on the part of the suppliers, they may approach the Court for its further consideration of these matters.

      

Know Your Rights

Right to Fair and Honest Dealing


What does this mean for the ordinary consumer?

 

Your right to protection against unconscionable conduct

  • Suppliers are not permitted to use physical force against consumers, coercion, undue influence, pressure, duress, harassment, unfair tactics or any other similar conduct when doing the following:
  • Marketing goods or services;
  • Supplying goods or services;
  • Negotiating, concluding, executing or enforcing agreements to supply goods and services;
  • Demanding or collecting payments for goods or services; and
  • Recovering goods or services from consumers.
  • Suppliers are not permitted to take advantage of consumers who are unable to protect their interests due to mental or physical disability, poor literacy, ignorance or inability to understand the language of an agreement or any similar factors.

 NB! Unconscionable conduct refers to behaviour that is unethical or improper.

       
Your right to protection against false, misleading or deceptive representations

  • Suppliers are not permitted to, directly or indirectly, provide consumers with false, misleading or deceptive representations regarding goods or services; and
  • Suppliers are not permitted to use exaggeration, innuendo or ambiguity when referring to goods or services or the benefits thereof.

          

Your right to protection against fraudulent schemes and offers

  • Persons are not permitted to initiate, sponsor, promote or knowingly participate in communication or activities, with the intent to defraud others.
  • Persons are not permitted to produce counterfeit currency, or purport to increase a sum of money, through scientific means or otherwise.
  • Persons are not permitted to engage in fraudulent or unlawful financial transactions.

     

Your right to protection against pyramid and related schemes


Persons 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 solicit or recruit participants, and obtain compensation for new recruits); or
  • Any other fraudulent schemes or scams.

         

Your right to assume that suppliers are entitled to sell goods

  • Consumers have the right to assume that suppliers have the legal right or authority to supply goods or products that are on sale or promoted by the suppliers.
  • Consumers have the right to assume that lessors have the legal right or authority to lease goods or products at the time that the lessees are to take possession of the leased goods.

      

Right to Fair and Honest Dealing continued

Procedure for sales by auction

  • Suppliers are required, when auctioning goods or products in lots and unless otherwise stated, to auction lots separately, via separate transactions.
  • Auctioneers are required to close auctions by visibly or audibly announcing their completion.
  • Auctioneers should give notice that a sale by auction is subject to a reserved or upset price, and the right to bid by or on behalf of the owner/auctioneer.

        

Your right to changes, deferrals and waivers, and substitution of goods

  • Suppliers are required, in the event of deferrals, waivers and substitutions to original agreements, to treat these as changes to existing agreements and not as grounds to enter into new agreements.
  • Consumers have the right to substitute goods or products, and are entitled to protection of these substituted goods or products, from the date of delivery.
  • Suppliers are required to deliver to consumers, amended sales agreements or records, describing the substituted goods, but without making other changes to the original agreements or records.

       

Your right to protection against over-selling and over-booking

  • Suppliers are not permitted to accept payment or other consideration for any goods or services, if:They have no intention of supplying those goods or providing those services; and
  • They intend to supply goods that are materially different from the goods or services, for which payment was accepted.
  • Suppliers are required to honour the supply of goods or services on specified dates, times and other particulars, if committing to such arrangements in reservations or bookings.
  • Consumers have the right to demand refunds for full amounts paid in respect of commitments or reservations, together with interest, at prescribed rates, from the dates of payment until the dates of reimbursement.

       

Know Your Rights

Right to Fair and Responsible Marketing

 

What does this mean for the ordinary consumer?

 

Your right to protection against bait marketing

  • Suppliers are not permitted to mislead consumers in respect of pricing, the nature, properties, advantages or uses of goods or services advertised, if such goods or services are not actually available for purchase or procurement in accordance with these standards.
  • Suppliers are obliged to include limitations in respect of the availability of goods or services when advertising such items, and honour such agreements.

       

Your right to protection against negative option marketing

  • Suppliers are not permitted to promote any goods or services or automatically enter consumers into agreements for the supply of goods or services, i.e. if consumers receive unwanted or unsolicited goods or services, they are under no obligation to pay for these goods or services.

       

Your right to protection against direct marketing

  • Suppliers or service providers that directly market any goods or services to consumers must inform them of their right to cancel the agreements within the cooling-off period of five (5) business days.
  • Suppliers or service providers, which directly market any unsolicited goods or services to consumers, are not permitted to solicit payment for these items, subject to certain conditions.

Right to Fair and Responsible Marketing continued

 

Your right to protection in catalogue marketing

         
Suppliers are required to disclose the following:

  • Supplier name and registration/licence number;
  • Address and contact details;
  • Sales records;
  • Currency for sales;
  • Delivery arrangements;
  • Cancellation, return, exchange and refund policy; and
  • Instructions on lodging a complaint.

NB: Catalogue marketing refers to an agreement entered into by telephone (initiated by the consumer), fax or postal order, where the consumer is not given the opportunity to inspect goods.

            

Your right to protection in terms of trade coupons and similar promotions

  • Persons are not permitted to make promotional offers with the intention of not fulfilling them, or fulfilling them in a manner other than as offered.
  • Persons making promotional offers are required to adhere to the following: 
  • Nature of price, reward, gift, free goods or services, price reduction, enhancement of
  • quality or quantity of goods, discounted of free thing being offered;
  • Goods or services to which the offer relates;
  • Steps required by consumers to accept the offers or receive the benefits of the offers;
  • Particulars of any person from whom, any place where, and any date and time on or at which, the consumer may receive the prize, reward, gift, free good or service, price reduction or concession, enhancement of quantity or quality of goods or services or other discounted or free thing;
  • Ensure that the supply of the particular prize, reward, gift, free or reduced price good, or the capacity to provide enhanced quality or services, is sufficient to accommodate all reasonably anticipated demands resulting from the offer;
  • Not limit or restrict capacity to supply any such goods or services in response to the acceptance of the offer, on any basis other than that it applies to such a supply in exchange for any other form of consideration; and
  • Not require the consumer to accept an inferior quality of any such goods or services than those generally available to any other consumer on the same date who tenders a different form of consideration; and
  • Not impose any monetary charge for the administration, processing or handling of a transaction, in respect of which the consumer tenders a trade coupon – this only applies where a membership fee is being paid.

 

Your right to protection in customer loyalty programmes

  • Persons must not offer participation in a loyalty programme, or offer any loyalty credit or award with the intention of not providing it or providing it in a manner other than as offered.
  • Any document setting out an offer must clearly state the following:Nature of the programme, credit or award being offered;
  • Goods or services to which the offer relates;
  • Steps required by consumers to participate in the programme or receive any benefits in terms of the programme; and
  • Contact details where consumers may gain access to the programme, or any loyalty credit or awards in terms of the programme.

        

NB: Customer loyalty programmes are loyalty credits or awards, which are a legal medium of exchange when offered or tendered as consideration for any goods or services offered, or transactions contemplated, in terms of such loyalty programmes/credits/awards.

        

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