does the consumer protection act offer the customer any advantage when being threatened by a retail firm trying to use a disclaimer notice to deny liability?
Good day. This is an info request to assist you better. Please continue on this thread.Could you be a little bit more specific to your situation? What is it that you want to hold them liable for?
Hi, thanks for your reply. Here is the situation and it is indeed fairly complicated! But will try to keep it as simple as possible:
Sorry I know this is nothing to do with the answer or the advice, but did they really offer you a replacement laptop with a floppy drive?
Yes, they did! It was described as a "cross-over machine", and apparently could give me the best of both worlds! The outer casing was somewhat battered and when I asked the guy showing it to me, if he would accept were he in my shoes, his answer was no as it was a matter of principle! The same machine is now being offered to me on a "loan" basis, but, I still don't want it! It would all be so very funny if it wasn't so very offensive!
Okay, due to various clauses contained in the Consumer Protection Act, it is very much doubtful that any disclaimer of whatever nature will survive the application of the act. I am not saying this for certain, because there is, at this stage, no case law to back this up. The facts are (it would seem that this is admitted) that one of their employees stole the machine or certain parts of the machine and that would make them vicariously liable and, as such, they should replace the machine or give you an amount of money equal to the worth of this machine. In addition, they could also be held responsible for your loss of data, although a very good defence to that would be that you need to make regular back-ups.There is two places where you can hold them accountable fairly cheaply:1. The Small Claims Court: This is the cheapest and quickest way to collect a sum of under R 12 000. Nobody is allowed to use lawyers and the whole process will cost you about R 100.
The Small Claims Court is usually located at your local Magistrates Court and you should ask to speak to the Clerk of the Small Claims Court. They will assist you in issuing a letter of demand and then later a summons.
You will have to represent yourself on a date that will be given to you by the Clerk of the Court, however, this is normally after hours, which means that you do not need to take off work.
2. The National Consumer Commission. Their details can be found at www.nccsa.org.za.
If none of these can assist you, your only other option would be the Magistrates Court, in which case I strongly advice you seek the assistance of an attorney.
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L.LB, Civil and criminal litigation, contracts, labour and family law
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