Consumer rights often end up being an unfortunate afterthought when something goes wrong. If you’ve been in that type of situation, you’ll know that experience is the best teacher, and hindsight is bittersweet. For anyone who hasn’t been in a situation like this, we want to spare you the frustration of hindsight, and instead turn it into foresight. To do this, you need to understand your rights as a consumer.
Every consumer should be aware of their rights. While no one wants to think or plan for something to go wrong, it’s always best to be safer than sorry.
Here is a very brief breakdown of your consumer rights according to the South African Consumer Protection Act 68 of 2008:
Right of equality in consumer market
- No supplier or service provider may discriminate against you on the basis of race, gender, age, sexual orientation, socio-economic circumstances, etc. You are entitled to equal access to services and goods.
Consumer’s right to privacy
- You are entitled to your privacy when it comes to direct marketing; companies may not sell or leak your personal information for marketing purposes. You are also entitled to transparency when it comes to how your personal information is tracked and stored (the new POPIA laws directly relate to this).
Consumer’s right to choose
- You are entitled to choose the supplier and contractor who will be providing the goods and services you’ll be using. You have the right to inspect the condition and quality of goods provided before installation or use.
- You are entitled to insist on pre-authorisation of any repairs or maintenance services provided. If you are refused the opportunity to authorise the services, you can contest payment in many situations. You are entitled to receive a written cost quotation before services or goods are delivered.
Right to disclosure and information
- If technical language is used which you don’t understand, you have the right to question any goods or services providers until you fully understand the information being conveyed. You are entitled to communication of information in plain and understandable language.
- You are entitled to receive a full cost estimate/quotation on goods or services before payment. Businesses may not charge a fee for providing a quotation. You have the right to demand that prices be disclosed.
- You have the right to request that your sales records be provided.
- You have the right to know the identity of deliverers, installers, or any other contractors/suppliers you will have direct or indirect contact with.
Right to fair and responsible marketing
- You are entitled to transparent marketing. Companies may not purposefully mislead consumers regarding products, services, or prices. Companies may not alter legally binding contracts without the consumer’s consent. Customer loyalty programmes are legally binding agreements and you have the right to insist companies honour their terms of agreement.
Right to fair and honest dealing
- You are entitled to challenge any unjust or dishonest conduct from companies.
- You have the right to know exactly what you are paying for. You have the right to challenge any company that overcharges, oversells, or overbooks any products and services.
Right to fair, just and reasonable terms and conditions
- You are entitled to demand access to companies’ terms and conditions. You are also entitled to request any business dealings be stated in a written consumer agreement which will be legally binding.
Right to fair value, good quality and safety
- You have the right to demand quality goods and services. You have the right to demand safe goods and services. If safety or quality is compromised or questionable, you have the right to refuse use, delivery, or payment.
- You are entitled to demand repaired goods or repair services that come with a relative and reasonable warranty. You are entitled to demand that companies handle any recovery and safe disposal of designated products or product components.
- You are entitled to be made aware of any (and all) warnings, concerning facts, or risks associated with goods or services. You have the right to ask for this information. You have the right to take legal action against companies that purposefully omit information regarding quality and safety of goods and services. You are also entitled to take legal action against companies whose goods or services result in damages.
Supplier’s accountability to consumers
- When you pay a prepaid fee for any goods or services, you own those goods/services, even if they have not been delivered yet. If the service provider/supplier doesn’t deliver, you are entitled to demand a refund (provided a written, signed agreement doesn’t prevent this).
Our breakdown is a very basic summary. If you have further questions or would like to read through the official government gazette, we encourage you to do so.
When it comes to choosing an electrical contractor/service provider, it’s critical you do your research, ask questions, and conduct your own screening before letting them do any work on your property. You can read our blog post on the importance of hiring a registered, qualified electrician.
Sunburst Electric is a fully registered electrical service provider. All of our service professionals are qualified, licensed, and registered electricians. Moreover, we honour your consumer rights at all times; we honour our obligations as the service provider/supplier. We take your rights and our responsibilities very seriously.
We have an exceptional track record of providing Expert Electrical Service.
Contact us today for more information on our services, and a free on-site quotation.