What South Africans Need to Know About The Consumer Protection Act – What to KnowMarch 12, 2020
Just like with any other nation, the South African economy is plagued with elements that try to manipulate its citizens’ purchasing decisions. Influences like perceived prosperity, celebrity endorsements, gimmicky marketing campaigns, and promises of quick fixes distort the way South Africans view financial success. Unfortunately, impressionable and educated citizens alike can become pliant to these dirty schemes, leading to poor financial decisions.
This is where the Consumer Protection Act (CPA) comes into play. The country’s effort to promote a “fair, accessible, and sustainable marketplace for consumer products and services,” it outlines the rights of the consumer and the responsibilities of the supplier.
Consumer Protection Act
In certain contexts, every person in South Africa, regardless of their profession or background, is classified as a consumer. While the CPA does not fully dictate supplier and consumer laws, it ensures that consumers are protected and aren’t exploited by unethical service providers, marketers, and vendors.
To further understand how CPA empowers you as a South African consumer, here are some tips to keep in mind.
CPA can protect you from impulsive purchasing decisions.
Many retailers implement strategies to encourage buyers to make impulsive purchases. It can be a checkout aisle filled with last-minute items or irresistible discounts when buying products in bulk. Many of us can fall prey to these tactics and spend more than we intended to. Luckily, the CPA gives us the right to cancel a transaction or agreement that resulted from direct marketing within five business days. You don’t need to provide a reason as to why you’re backtracking from the sale, even though the goods are not defective. The supplier should be compliant and reimburse you within 15 business days.
CPA can shield you from dishonest marketers.
Have you ever experienced unwanted or unsolicited offers? You’re not alone. Everyone receives the occasional telemarketing call that forces you into buying things you don’t need. You have to keep in mind that you have the right to refuse this type of unsolicited marketing. It would be best if you only did business with suppliers who are responsible, fair, honest, and transparent. After all, it’s their responsibility to do so. Make it a point to only transact with retailers that lay out the offer clearly, along with the terms and conditions, financial implications, and pricing and cancellation options. In addition to retail, this can also be applied to contractual agreements.
CPA guarantees high-quality goods and services.
According to the CPA, all retailers or service providers must deliver high-quality products. Items of poor quality or defective products are simply unacceptable. The 2013 Consumer Goods and Services Ombudsman, Adv. Neville Melville previously explained that under CPA, all goods must be sold in mint condition, in perfect working order, suitable for the use intended, and durable for a reasonable amount of time.
CPA allows for clarity in terms and conditions.
Consumers don’t have the time to navigate complex terms and conditions. Fortunately, CPA requires retailers and marketers to provide product and service information that is plain and easy to digest, and where the pricing is visible and the labelling clear. It’s your right as a consumer to know what you are buying, what it contains, what its condition is, and the exact amount it would cost you.
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