The Consumer Protection Act 68 of 2008 does exactly what the same says; it protects the rights of the consumer.
In terms of Section 55, a consumer has the right to safe, good quality goods; however, when one looks at Section 56, the consumer has a right to an implied warranty of quality. In short, this section states that within 6 (six) months after the delivery of any goods to a consumer, the consumer may return the goods supplied without penalty and at the supplier’s risk and expense.
Section 57, however, refers to warranty of repaired goods whereby a service provider warrants every new or reconditioned part installed during any repairs or maintenance work and the labour required to install it, for a period of three (3) months after the date of installation or such longer period as the supplier may specify in writing.
These are only three of the numerous sections of the Consumer Protection Act which are troublesome for the Motor Industry.
When you work within the motor industry, all matters referred will most likely end up at the Motor Industry Ombudsman of South Africa (MIOSA). MIOSA is tasked to make sure that all complaints in the motor industry regarding a consumer are dealt with correctly and fairly.
The problem is that many businesses do not understand the importance of dealing with a MIOSA complaint correctly from the start and sometimes just ignore letters they receive regarding complaints regarding an implied warranty. They even ignore the recommendation of the ombudsman.
In a recent case where a company had failed to follow a MIOSA recommendation and just left the case, the National Consumer Commission (NCC) referred the case to the National Consumer Tribunal (NCT) for an order to adhere to their recommendation. This could have a financial implication on your business as you will have to defend the matter by appointing an Attorney or even an Advocate.
We have seen in recent matters that the NCC, for non-compliance with the Consumer Protection Act, also requests for an administrative fine to the amount of R1 000 000.00 (One Million Rand), which puts the financial impact this matter can have on your business so much higher.
Therefore, when a formal complaint is made against your business, it is of the utmost importance to make sure you respond correctly and in line with the Consumer Protection Act as anything and/or everything that you state can be used against you and may be seen as an admittance of non-compliance with the Consumer Protection Act which warrants the administrative fine.
At SEESA, we assist you with the correct advice and drafting the correct responses to the Ombudsman, making sure that your business does not run the risk of being fined for non-compliance with the Consumer Protection Act.
About The Author:
Gysbert Janssen started his career at SEESA in 2017 and is currently a Labour, Consumer Protection Act & POPI Legal Advisor at SEESA’s East London branch. He is a High Court Admitted Attorney.
The Consumer Protection Act 68 of 2008
- Section 55
- Section 56
- Section 57