The Lawyers in south africa may get many queries each week about the people you want our help regarding the purchase of damaged motor vehicles.
This last week we got a cryptic inquiry:
“ I have read in one of your blogs of some time back that if I were to buy a defective motor vehicle, or “ a lemon” as you referred to it as; that I have the choice of a repair, a replacement or a refund at the dealer’s expense. Is this true; and if it is; when and how do I go about doing so; as I have definitely bought “a lemon” from a dealership in Boksburg?”
We have previously deal with this type of query and similar issues; and have also looked at the choices a constomer has if he/she purchases a defective of damaged vechile.We call this as the three R’s” which means the choice is repair, replacement or a refund.
When it comes to motor vehicles which are damaged or defective; which should we choose?
The main point to make is that it is your choice, as the consumer, and it is not up to the dealer to decide what he would do. Clearly it would be in consumers' interest to choose to repair the damaged vehicle as that is the most cost-effective way. Today we are all aware of the implied statutory warranty on the quality of goods guaranteed by the Consumer Protection Act No 68 of 2008 (CPA) and more particularly about the sections 55 & 56 of that Act. However, there is a lot of confusion about the Consumer’s rights to choose a repair, replacement or refund in respect of damaged goods as guaranteed by these sections of the CPA. This applies particularly to defective or damaged motor vehicles. Damaged or defective goods includes all goods and does include all motor vehicles in that category; whether first or second hand; and whether they are cars, bikes, trucks, farm or industrial vehicles, etc.
Section 55 in CPA deals with the consumer’s rights to quality goods. This section is backed up by the provisions of section 56 (2) of the CPA as follows:
Within 6 months after the delivery of any goods, the consumer may return the goods to the supplier, without penalty, and at the supplier’s expense, if the goods fail to satisfy the requirements and standards contemplated in section 55) and the supplier must, at the direction of the consumer, either:
That seems pretty straight forward, and to a very large extent self-explanatory.
Things were far too comfortable for suppliers before the advent of the CPA than the past would simply tell us as consumers that it was not their problem once we had taken delivery of an item and paid for it.
One has to remember that the provisions of this Act and these sections do not cover private individuals as sellers; as they are not suppliers or service providers conducting their sale in the ordinary course of business unless, of course, they do so on a part-time basis; as sometimes happens.
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