Is A Refund Always Possible - Consumer Protection | Legal Articles


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Is A Refund Always Possible - Consumer Protection

As businesses move to recover from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, in some way consumers are getting the better end of the bargain. A good number of shops and suppliers are offering sales, discounts and specials to get an upper hand over their competitors and gain a substantial share in the market. While this may definitely be pocket friendly for the average shopper/consumer, the need to scrutinise the terms and conditions upon which these bargains come is ever important.


It has occurred to some people that barely a few days upon the conclusion of a purchase, one is moved to return the goods and demand a refund. The reasons for this are various, from faulty goods, finding the same deal cheaper elsewhere, to simply a change of heart.


It is important to note that there is no general provision and entitlement to a refund whenever consumers decide to do so. This is both a commercial necessity and a need to encourage responsible and accountable trading from both ends. The Consumer Protection Act 68 of 2008 (the Act) places an obligation on suppliers of goods to repair, replace or refund whenever goods that are not fit for the purpose are traded. It is pertinent however, for consumers to be accustomed to the returns/refunds policies of a business before making a purchase.


There are instances (but not without conditions) where a consumer may request a refund upon completing a purchase.


  • Goods bought as a result of direct marketing;


There are many products which are sold as a result of direct marketing, and these usually come unsolicited. A consumer may return the goods for a refund in the event that the goods do not meet the standards/quality/purpose upon which they were presented to them before the sale. It is important to note that this must be done within a certain time frame.


  • Goods bought online without inspection;


As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic the volumes of online purchases increased remarkably, while it resulted in consumers buying products without inspection. Upon delivery and should the products not be fit for the purpose nor be of good quality as advertised, the consumer is entitled to a refund.


  • Products that do not meet the purpose for which they were purchased for;
  • Implied warranty of quality.


Goods are bought with an implied warranty of quality (fit/suitable for the purpose). Should this not be the case, the consumer is entitled to a repair, replacement or refund as alluded to above.


The Consumer Protection Act of 2008 places timeframes upon which returns and refunds may be processed, and it is important for consumers to familiarise themselves with these. Suppliers on their part, usually display their returns/refund policies at their business premises or on till slips. In a world that does not give much attention to fine-print, we encourage consumers to be ahead of the pack and be cautious on this aspect. At the end of the day, it may become that which turns around the situation for the better.


At Van Deventer and Van Deventer Incorporated, we assist with consumer protection matters amongst an array of others. Our services are comprehensive and professional.

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The information and material published on this website is provided for general purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. We make every effort to ensure that the content is updated regularly and to offer the most current and accurate information. Please consult one of our lawyers on any specific legal problem or matter. We accept no responsibility for any loss or damage, whether direct or consequential, which may arise from reliance on the information contained in these pages.

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