5 Aspects of the Consumer Protection Act you should be aware of

BY MATTHEW KEMP - NOVEMBER 1, 2016

Nearly 8 years after it was assented to, many consumers and corporates remain ill-informed regarding their rights and responsibilities in terms of the Consumer Protection Act 68 of 2008 (the "CPA") .

Here are 5 important aspects of the CPA to be aware of:

  1. The CPA only applies to certain transactions.  For example,  it only applies to a supplier of goods acting in the ordinary course of business. It also does not apply to transactions where the consumer is a juristic entity with an annual turnover which exceeds the threshold stipulated by the Minister of Trade and Industry (R2 000 000.00). The CPA therefore does not apply to your typical "Gumtree sale" between two natural persons acting for their own account.
  2. There exists an implied warranty of good quality on goods and services supplied to a consumer. Within the first 6 months of receiving any goods which are defective the consumer may return such goods and demand either that the supplier rectify the defects or refund the full purchase price.
  3. Where the consumer elects to return the goods for the supplier to rectify any defects, a further 3 month warranty is imposed on such repairs.
  4. The CPA also applies to lease agreements.  Section 14 of the CPA regulates fixed term agreements.  Of importance is section 14(2)(b) which stipulates that the supplier may only cancel the fixed term agreement after 20 business days' written notice of the consumer's breach of contract,  and the consumer having failed to remedy such breach.  Be aware though that section 14 does not apply to agreements entered into between juristic persons,  regardless of their annual turnover.
  5. The CPA has all but done away with voetstoots clauses. Where goods are supplied and they are defective, the consumer retains his/her rights highlighted above with regards to a warranty of good quality, regardless of the existence of a voetstoots clause in the contract.  However, where all defects are disclosed to the consumer by the supplier. and the consumer purchases the goods expressly acknowledging the existence of the defects, that consumer cannot rely on the CPA to protect him/her against such defects. In this way, the voetstoots clause has survived the CPA.

For more information, contact Matthew Kemp on 041 501 9800.