Consumer Protect Act – How the CPA protects SA motorists

It’s been more than 5 years since the Consumer Protection Act (CPA) came into effect. Back then, we were all excited about having someone to stand up for us as SA motorists, against bad service and unethical sales practices. The Motor Industry Ombudsman was given more weight by the CPA and its mandate was to keep an eye on all motor industry suppliers. This month, we’re dealing with key issues related to buyer-seller contracts, communication and promotions, giving you both the facts and the ability to ensure that you receive fair treatment when buying or selling a used car.

With the CPA, you as the consumer are protected in more ways than one. Here are four ways you are protected against unethical sales practices: 
  1. Buyer-seller contracts must be in plain language so consumers can easily understand it - meaning layman talk and no Latin and legal jargon. If this has not been the case in your experience, the CPA protects you against this. 

  2. Started looking for a new or second-hand vehicle and ended up bombarded with emails, phone calls or SMSs offering you deal after deal? The CPA protects you against this and can take action against the dealers in question. 

  3. Dealerships trying to get rid of their unwanted or slow moving products by offering bundled goods, are banned by the CPA, therefore you are once again protected. 

  4. If you’ve bought a car due to direct marketing efforts (any transaction not initiated by you), the CPA allows a cool-off period of 5 business days in which you can return it. This can come in very handy when you suddenly feel like you’ve gotten in over your head. 
The protection SA motorists enjoy under the CPA has been tempered by lack of education. The CPA is there to protect the rights of the consumer however, you still need to take responsibility for making sure you’re well educated on the CPA and know your rights.

Read the act here and make sure you are armed with the right information.
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