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When are you as a consumer entitled to a refund?  The Consumer Protection Act: No 68 of 2008 (CPA): Refunds:

We often get asked about refunds due to consumers in terms of the CPA or the common law.

As a result of yet another two enquiries today; which both dealt with a refund in respect of a defective and danged motor vehicle bought by a client, we believe that we need to explain this issue again today.

Two other separate clients of ours have raised queries this week about warranties for goods purchased and the effects of the Consumer Protection Act which has been around now for more than 6 years as it came into force at midnight on the 31st March 2011 and yet confusion still abounds both with consumers and service providers.

The Consumer Protection Act (CPA) has specific provisions dealing with warranties from retailers for purchased items. Sections 55 and 56 of the CPA are important in this regard.

  1. The date of the warranty runs from the date of the original purchase. It does not run from the replacement date; if you chose to replace a defective item.
  2. There is an automatic Consumer protection Act warranty on all items purchased and this consumer warranty entitles you, the purchaser, to choose repair, replacement or refund. Your choice; not the service provider’s choice.
  3. If the consumer chooses repair and the item breaks within three months after that repair, the consumer is again entitled to a replacement or a refund.
  4. The act provides a warranty for a maximum period of nine months after/from the date of the original purchase.
  5. If a defective item is brought in after six months, the CPA does not protect you and does not apply. In this case only the balance of the Store warranty, if any, applies.
  6. In the case of the Store warranty only applying; it is likely that the terms of that warranty would cover only further repairs necessary for the defined period of the warranty itself and only during that period.

We believe it is important to know your consumer rights as laid down in the Act; if you are going to be able to enforce those rights vis a vis the retail stores.

It is also important to note that service providers are not obliged to have a returns policy and they cannot be forced to accept a return even if you do have the original proof of payment and purchase and can provide the original packaging.

As a service to consumers most of the lager retail stores do however have a formal returns policy and if they do you can insist that they abide by it or you may take the matter up with their Head offices and lodge a formal complaint.

Your best protection is however in terms of the CPA so act immediately you are aware of a problem with the item and; as it is a formal legal process; you will need our help in all likelihood should you wish to enforce your consumer rights or else the service provider is entitled to simply ignore you.

Please visit our website at for further information on various legal topics and especially on the CPA or send us  to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we will respond to you within 48 hours.

Should you also wish to comment on this or any other legal topic; please also just send us an e-mail; and we will respond as stated above.

Thank you.

The Legal Advice Office Team.


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Legal Advice Office

South Africa

Kandelaar Street, Vermont, Hermanus
Phone: +27 (0) 82 093 2304