Usful tips for consumers when buying goods | Western Cape Government

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Usful tips for consumers when buying goods

(Provincial Cabinet, Western Cape Government)

Useful tips for consumers when buying goods

·        The OCP would like to advise consumers that it is crucial for them to know their rights when transacting with a business. This is essential especially if problems with products or services are encountered.

·        Consumers must also take responsibility, and conduct research on the business as well as on the product before purchasing. It is always best to be fully informed before making a purchase.

·        Consumers should ask all the right questions before entering into any kind of agreement with a supplier.

For example, when buying goods there are a number of options and these include a lay-by, hire-purchase and cash. Consumers should know what remedies they have should problems be encountered with the product after its purchase.

For example, with lay-by agreements, the Consumer Protection Act provides that if a consumer buys goods on lay-by and on the date of their last instalment they are told that the goods cannot be supplied the consumer has the right to choose any one of following:

(1) Replacement goods of the same quality; or

(2) if the non-availability of the goods was due to factors outside the control of the business then a full refund of the money paid plus interest can be claimed; or

(3) If the non-availability of the goods was due to factors within the control of the business then a refund equal to double the amount that the consumer has paid can be claimed.

A second example of how the Consumer Protection Act assists consumers can be seen in the example of a statutory warranty. In terms of Section 56 of the CPA an implied statutory warrantee of 6 months is applicable. This means that goods are warrantied for a period of 6 months and a consumer can rely on this warrantee in the event of the product becoming defective. However, the responsibility on the part of consumer is to use and care for these goods as prescribed in the operational manual. If the goods become defective in spite of the consumer using them as prescribed, the consumer has the right to demand a refund, or to be given a replacement for the same value or ask the supplier to repair the defective product. This section cannot be used if a consumer merely changes their mind about the purchase. The test is whether the product is defective.

The OCP wants consumers to be aware of their rights and enforce them where necessary.

The content on this page was last updated on 12 July 2019