Guiding consumers since 2009

Know your shopping rights

By Staff Writer

Most of us know that Consumer Protection Act (the Act), which came into effect on 1 April 2011, was put in place to protect you so that if you buy any defective goods from the store you have the right to return it, ask for a refund or replacement.


But when it comes to unwanted gifts, it’s not that easy. Under the Act, there are certain specific instances in which goods can in fact be returned.


Direct marketing
If goods were bought as a result of direct marketing, you have five business days in which to return them and receive a full refund. But this is only the case if the goods have not been opened or used. In order to cancel the agreement, you need to provide the supplier with a notice in some recordable form (i.e. an email or a letter) stating your intent – you are not required to give a reason. Goods must be returned at your own expense and a supplier has 15 business days from the receipt of the returned goods in which to refund you.


An example of this would be if you are approached in a shopping centre by a cosmetics seller who induces you to try their new range of products. Once you have tried the products you feel pressured into buying them but on your return home you immediately regret the purchase having spent more money than you could actually afford to. Under the Act, you have the right to take the goods back to the supplier and demand a full refund – as long as the goods are unopened and unused. You have five business days in which to do so which the Act refers to as a “cooling down period”.


Shopping online or by catalogue
If you are hesitant about shopping online you can rest assured that the Act protects you in this instance too. You have the right to return goods and receive a full refund if you did not have an opportunity to examine them before they were delivered and the goods did not correspond with the description provided, or were not of a type and quality that was agreed upon.


An example of this is if the goods were bought through a supplier’s catalogue. Based solely on the image and/ or description of the goods in the catalogue, you purchase several items. When you receive delivery of these items, you notice that the quality is poor and that they do not match the catalogue’s description. You may be required to show that the goods delivered did not correspond in all material respects with what an ordinary alert consumer would have been entitled to expect based on the description. You have 10 business days in which to return goods and claim a full refund.


A change of heart
The CPA does not however cover you if you’ve had a change of heart. If you change your mind once you have purchased goods and you wish to return them, a supplier is not legally obliged to exchange or refund the goods. Any store policy that offers to accept returns or exchanges and give refunds is actually surpassing the requirements of the Act and they are therefore entitled to offer store credit as opposed to a cash refund.


An example of this would be if you bought a shirt from a store without first trying it on even though there were dressing rooms available for you to do so. When you try the shirt on at home you discover that it is too small and decide to return it. In this scenario, a store would be entitled to refuse the refund or to offer store credit instead of cash.


For further information on this visit www.madeasy.mobi.

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