The Consumer Protection Act, No 68 of 2008; (CPA) came into effect at midnight on the 31st March 2011 and has changed consumer law in this country irrevocably; as we have said before.
As promised we now look at Motor Vehicles and section 56 of the CPA and how this section of the CPA effects the purchase and sale of all motor vehicles that are bought by consumers from motor car dealerships.
Again we emphasise that the CPA has a number of innovative consumer protection mechanisms; which are revolutionary in nature; and which effect the purchase and sale of motor vehicles by consumers; which are everyday transactions and involve, consumers, service providers (dealers) and very often also banks or financial institutions as they are often consumer financiers.
Again we reiterate that the CPA covers both the supply of goods and the provision of services.
One of the most important provisions of the CPA is that contained in section 56 of the CPA.
How does this affect the sale of motor vehicles in particular?
Section 56 of the Consumer Protection Act of 2008 guarantees the Consumer’s rights to a statutory implied legislative warranty.
The heading to this section is “Implied warranty of quality” and it has four subsections.
We intend to look at each of these subsections.
Section 56(1) states that: “ In any transaction or agreement pertaining to the supply of goods to a consumer there is an implied provision that the producer or importer, the distributor and the retailer each warrant that the goods comply with the requirements and standards contemplated in section 55, except to the extent that those goods have been altered contrary to the instructions, or after having left the control of the producer or importer, a distributor or the retailer, as the case may be.”
This is the subsection of the CPA which creates the consumers statutory implied warranty.
The wording of the subsection is important.
It states quite clearly that the implied warranty applies “to any transaction or agreement pertaining to the supply of goods……”
The warranty applies in favour of the consumer against “the producer or importer, the distributor and the retailer……”
It also states that each of the above “warrant that the goods comply with the requirements and standards contemplated by section 55……:
But there is a proviso:
They are all subject to the warranty; “except to the extent that those goods have been altered contrary to the instructions…” of any of these entities. So if a consumer acts contrary to instructions from an importer of goods or a distributor or retailer of such goods the warranty in terms of this subsection will fall away.
It will also fall away after leaving “the control of the producer or importer, a distributor or the retailer…..” The implied warranty therefore cease to apply to that entity once it leaves “their control.”
This situation would then be the subject of both a legal and a factual interpretation as to whether or not the article in question (and in this blog we are specifically dealing with motor vehicles) has in fact “left their control; and this enquiry will be subject to the facts of each individual case.
It is for this latter reason that the facts of each individual case are important as to whether the statutory implied warranty applies or not.
If you have a query in this regard it is advisable to get proper professional legal assistance.
As is apparent from the above; the CPA and the common law are complex and enforcing your rights should be attended to properly and professionally.
Next time; we will deal with section 56(2) of the CPA.
On a different note on motor vehicle sales; please feel free to contact us for any consumer issues you may have either with service providers of financiers in terms of the CPA or private sellers in terms of the common law.
Should you have any queries please contact our offices in that regard.
Should you otherwise wish to comment on this or any other legal topic; just send us an e-mail; and we will respond.
The Legal Advice Office Team.