New consumer act under spotlight

Monday, September 6, 2010

Bushbuckridge - The communities of Mashishing, formerly Lydenburg, and Bushbuckridge in Mpumalanga will learn about their rights as consumers at special workshops hosted by the Department of Trade and Industry this week.

According to Sidwell Medupe, the department's head of communication, the workshops are aimed at empowering consumers to understand their rights and obligations under the Consumer Protection Act, which will come into effect in October.

They will also assist business owners in preparing themselves for compliance.

"The workshops will focus on the returns and refunds aspects of the new act. For example, in terms of the act consumers are entitled to refunds if goods do not perform according to the standards that the customer was made to believe they would, if goods are faulty and the customer was unaware or not advised of the fault during the time of purchase, and if the goods are not the same as those shown to the customer prior to delivery," Medupe said.

He added that consumers also had the right to return unsafe or defective goods within six months after their delivery.

"The consumer may return the goods to the supplier without any penalty, at the suppliers' risk and expense, if the goods fail to satisfy the requirements and standards. The consumer has the right of choice regarding refund, replacement or repair," Medupe explained.

He said that these statutory warranties would hopefully result in suppliers purchasing good-quality products from manufacturers and clearly displaying appropriate return and refund policy statements.

"But consumers also have obligations and must act responsibly when buying goods or services. They are encouraged to always examine goods before purchase, adhere to the manufacturer's specifications and keep their receipts," Medupi said.

He also pointed out that, in some instances, returns may be prohibited, such as in the case of medicine.

The workshop will be held in Mashishing City Hall from 10am on Tuesday, and in the community hall in Arthur's Stone village from 10am on Wednesday.