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Extra Virgin -  July 2011

Keep your Home Contents Safe

FeatureThe Consumer Protection Act has handed the consumer a really big stick to keep suppliers in check. Click here if you’d like the full document or carry on reading as we discuss some of the more pertinent points of the Act.

  • Product bundling is banned, so you won’t be forced to buy unwanted accessories just because a dealer wants to get rid of slow-moving stock.
  • Buyer-seller contracts have to be in plain and understandable language, without all the Latin and legal-speak.
  • Grey or parallel imports must be clearly marked – much like the “Smoking damages your lungs” sticker on cigarette packs.
  • Right of return. This part of the act has caused most of the excitement, but it doesn’t necessarily mean people will have a licence to willy-nilly return products after a sudden attack of buyer’s remorse. There are clear cut rules governing what you can return:
  1. Products can be returned due to material defect, failure or hazard - as long as you haven’t altered the product yourself.
  2. If you bought a product due to direct marketing (in other words a transaction that wasn’t initiated by you), there is a cool-off period of five business days in which you can return it.
  3. If you feel you didn’t have enough time to examine the product, there’s a ten-day return period. However, in the latter two cases you will have to pay the cost of restocking the product.
Perhaps one of the biggest changes introduced by the Act is that suppliers will be liable for damage caused by unsafe or defective parts whether or not the harm resulted from their negligence. Most people can’t afford to sue large businesses, but with the CPA you no longer have to prove negligence on the part of the supplier – rather the producer, importer, distributor or retailer will have to prove that they aren’t responsible for the damages.