Message on World Consumer Rights Day
Today marks World Consumer Rights Day which is an important global event aimed at promoting the basic rights of all consumers and highlighting market abuses and social injustices.
Consumers International has declared theme for this year as Trusted Smart Products. In the Western Cape, the focus is on Section 56 of the Consumer Protection Act which deals with the right to return goods.
Minister of Economic Opportunities, Beverley Schäfer said: "Consumer rights are at the heart of sound economic practices and we encourage all of our citizens to know and understand their rights and commend those businesses that respect and honour the rights set out in the Consumer Protection Act."
The provincial office of the Consumer Protector (OCP) will celebrate World Consumer Rights by conducting awareness activities and workshops across the province throughout the month of March.
These information sessions and workshops will focus on providing basic information to consumers, business and other interested parties on Section 56 of the CPA.
Some of the important consumer protection topics will include:
- The 9 consumer rights as contained in the Consumer Protection Act
- Misleading advertising
- The legally prescribed six-month statutory warranty in terms of the CPA
For consumers who are unsure of their rights with regards to Section 56, below are some frequently asked questions:
When can a consumer return goods to the supplier?
A consumer may return goods to the supplier within six months after the day of purchase if the goods have a material defect.
What does material defect mean
Any material imperfection in the manufacture of the goods or components, or in performance of the services, that renders the goods or results of the service less acceptable than persons generally would be reasonably entitled to expect in the circumstances.
What are the rights of the consumer regarding returns and refunds?
All goods purchased by a consumer are subject to an implied warranty of quality and suppliers cannot contract out of this provision. This means that a consumer has the right to receive goods which are:
Of good quality and are reasonably suited for the purpose for which they are intended, failing which the consumer has the right to return the goods and ask for either a replacement, repair or refund.
Consumers who have questions or complaints can contact the Office of the Consumer Protector on:
Toll free number: 0800 007 081
Post/Walk in: Ground Floor, Waldorf Building 80 St Georges Mall, Cape Town
Fax: 021 483 9474
Spokesperson for the Ministry of Economic Opportunities
Cell: 072 372 7044