Know Your Consumer Rights This Black Friday

Black Friday is fast approaching. Do you know your consumer rights? We breakdown the Consumer Protection Act and your rights to sale items.
Melissa Cohen
With Black Friday is here, and South Africans are getting ready to shop their hearts content. While all the commotion is taking place, some retailers might try pull a sneaky one on you. You might find yourself so overwhelmed by all the great deals available that you might forget your rights. Good thing that we have your back! Here is a breakdown of your consumer rights in spite of the sales.

Consumer Protection Act(CPA)

The Consumer Protection Act of 2008 is there to protect all consumers when it comes to purchasing goods or services from a retailer. The Act aims to:
  • Promote a fair, accessible and sustainable marketplace for consumer products and services;
  • Establish national norms and standards relating to consumer protection;
  • Provide for improved standards of consumer information;
  • Prohibit certain unfair marketing and business practices;
  • Promote responsible consumer behaviour;
  • Promote a consistent legislative and enforcement framework relating to consumer transactions and agreements.
The great thing about CPA is that, as a customer, you can return items and insist on a refund. This is as long as it is within the specified returns policy time period.
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When Can You Return Goods? 

Spending money spontaneously on an item you don't really need and then deciding against the purchase- does this sound like you? Did you know that legally, you aren't allowed to return the item because the decision to purchase the item was made irrationally. According to Michalsons Attorneys, there are four legal instances that will allow customers to return goods to a store. 1. Direct Marketing Ploy - if a customer has purchased an item due to direct marketing, they have five days after the purchase to qualify for the following:
  • A return;
  • Cancel the contract without a penalty;
  • Receive a full refund.
2. If you haven't seen the goods before your purchase - if the consumer hasn't seen the goods before they have purchased them, they are entitled to inspect them on delivery. If they didn't meet the initial description, then the customer can do the following:
  • Customer can refuse delivery;
  • Receive a full refund;
  • Order can be cancelled without penalty.
3. Items don't suit the purpose- If the items don't fulfill the customer's purpose, they have ten days from the day of purchase to:
  • Cancel the order without penalty;
  • Return the items if they aren't suitable.
4. Quality Reassurance Warranty - If the goods don't live up to the expressed warranty, then the customer has the option to do the following:
  • Return the items;
  • Get the company to replace the items;
  • Ask for the company to repair the goods.

Your Rights On Black Friday

According to the Director of the Western Cape Office of the Consumer Protector, Ashley Searle, consumers shouldn't be blinded by the deals.  Searle says that consumers shouldn't let retailers tell you otherwise regarding your consumer rights.
"The normal rules as contained in the Consumer Protection Act will apply. If a product is purchased on sale and it turns out to be defective within six months from the date of purchase then a consumer can return the goods and insist on a refund, repair or replacement."
Searle explains that although there are great deals on the day, consumers need to make wise decisions when it comes to spending their money. According to CPA Legal Expert, Vaughan Pierce, consumers need to ensure that they know what they are purchasing.
"Consumers must be mindful of bait marketing. Bait advertising is a common form of false advertising which the CPA prohibits. It occurs when an item is advertised at a sale price but the seller does not have sufficient stock to last until the end of the sale. Often consumers may purchase other more expensive items from the store instead."

5 Tips For Your Shopping Frenzy

Here are some tips from our experts to ensure a good shopping experience:
  1. Make sure that you do your research before buying anything. Make sure that the deals that you see are actually legitimate.  Find out what the normal price is and see if the “great deal and fantastic discount” is actually real;
  2. If you are purchasing online, make sure that you are transacting with a legitimate company. A website with “https” generally indicates that it has a safe platform – the “s” stands for secure;
  3. Make sure that you read the terms and conditions of your purchase. There might be some hidden costs that you don't know about;
  4. Some goods bought from other countries might not have warranties honoured locally so be aware of this;
  5. Find out what the store or companies returns policy is. Remember that you are only entitled to protection in terms of the CPA if the goods are defective.
For more information on CPA and your consumer rights, click here. Start your car insurance quote.