Consumer protection rights in terms of the Consumer Protection Act
Consumer Protection Act contains four focus areas:
- Marketing and advertising practises;
- Consumer agreements and contracts;
- Franchise agreements and strict liability; and
- Specific rights of the consumer.
Right of Equality
Your right to equality prohibits any form of unfair discrimination in the consumer market. This right includes your right to:-
- Unlimited access to goods and services;
- High-quality goods and services;
- Fair pricing of goods and services; and
- To lodge complaints.
Right to privacy
Your right to privacy places certain limits on the unrestrained use of your personal information for uninvited direct marketing campaigns, by requiring all direct marketers to provide you with an “opt out” option for unsolicited marketing communication.
You can also register a pre-emptive block on a register.
Right to Choose
Your right to choose includes the following:
- Select a supplier of your own choice,
- Cancel or renew a fixed term contract without penalty or charge;
- Receive quotes prior to authorisation for repairs of maintenance;
- Cancel direct marketing transactions within five (5) business days (“cooling-off” period) without incurring penalties; and
- Return goods and receive refunds within fifteen days.
Disclosure and information
Your rights to disclosure and information facilitate the following:
- Simple and transparent contracts;
- Information in plain and understandable language;
- Compulsory display of prices and provision of transaction records,
- The right to sale records, such as receipts and invoices,
- Requiring product labels and trade descriptions not to be misleading; and
- The right to the identification of deliverers, installers and others.
Fair and responsible advertising, marketing and promotion
Your right to fair and responsible advertising and marketing bans the following unfair marketing practices:
- Bait marketing;
- Referral; and
- Negative option marketing.
It also sets standards for customer loyalty programs.
Fair and honest dealings
Your right to fair and honest dealing bans:
- False, misleading and deceptive representations;
- Overselling and overbooking; and
- Unconscionable conduct.
Right to fair, just and reasonable terms and conditions
Right to fair, just and reasonable terms and conditions:-
- Prohibits unfair, unreasonable or unjust contract terms;
- Requires you to be given free copies of contracts;
- Outlaws unilateral changes to contracts;
- Outlaws certain types of agreements (minors, negative option, etc.): and
- Prohibits any form of contracting out.
Right to Fair Value, Good Quality and safety
Your right to fair value, good quality and safety enables the following:
- Access to quality service;
- Access to safe goods and services;
- Access to redress by providing statutory warranties for safety and quality; and
- Extends strict liability to retailers for illness, injury, damage to property and death as a result of defective goods or improper labelling.
Right to Accountability from Suppliers
This right provides that if you are subject to lay-bye agreements:-
- You may be entitled to the supply of equivalent or superior products; alternatively
- You may request full refund of money paid, plus interest, where the goods or services provided are defective or improper.
Suppliers in possession of any prepaid certificates, credits, vouchers, membership fees or other money belonging to the consumers, must not treat such property as theirs; exercise care, diligence and skill; and assume liability for any losses suffered by consumers in this regard.