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The CPA contains wide-ranging prescriptions on the avoidance of unfair, unreasonable or unjust contract provisions and special notice required to the consumer in respect of various terms which may appear to be unusual or disadvantageous to the consumer. Sections 48 and 49 of the CPA will prevent suppliers from limiting their liability or obtaining indemnification against claims from the consumer. While these restrictions even the playing fields, it may ultimately lead to increased transaction costs for the consumer since the supplier will have to factor in higher provisions for possible returns and insurance costs when determining its prices. The supplier may also not include anything in its standard terms and conditions which purports to limit or circumvent the applicability of the CPA. Continue reading
The CPA also deals with unsolicited goods and services (caution: any excess goods supplied other than the quantity specifically agreed upon also fall under this category). The consumer must, however, not frustrate or prevent the supplier from recovering the goods and the consumer will only be liable in respect of any intentional interference with the goods and, if applicable, any costs incurred by the supplier due to such conduct by the consumer. The CPA states that the unsolicited goods pass to the person lawfully holding the goods, subject only to the rights of any uninvolved third-party which may have a valid claim to those goods. Unfortunately, the CPA does not provide a timeframe for when the consumer becomes the owner of the unsolicited goods but this section should serve as a warning to any supplier not to distribute any unsolicited goods. Continue reading
The Consumer Protection Act (“CPA”) came into effect on 1 April 2011 and consists of 122 sections (amounting to 93 pages, including schedules) together with the Regulations to the CPA containing a further 44 sections (amounting to 85 pages, including annexures). The CPA is probably one of the most important pieces of legislation recently enacted and changes the playing fields between consumers and suppliers considerably. Yet, the legislation is cumbersome and not “consumer-friendly” when attempting to familiarise oneself with the provisions. The CPA will profoundly change the content and format of a supplier’s terms and conditions and all suppliers are strongly advised to ensure that their standard terms and conditions comply with the CPA. Continue reading