THE time to impress consumers with Latin expressions and legal jargon is over.
Service providers, financial institutions and manufactures need to take a fresh look at how they communicate with consumers.
All these institutions must rewrite and simplify their contracts and also be able to give a consumer a copy of a contract in their preferred language.
Consumers will no longer sign their rights away because the new Consumer Protection Act ensures that service providers do not get away with it.
Companies such as African Brick Centre in Polokwane will no longer say they had insufficient stock and will only deliver when their supplier delivers new stock.
The excuse that a seller has to order goods from a supplier after accepting money from a consumer will no longer work as from October 2010.
A grateful African Brick Centre customer, Daisy Ramotsokotla, received her bricks last Thursday after Sowetan's intervention.
She and her husband had bought 15000 bricks and paid R17339 in July this year.
She said the company promised to deliver the bricks within two weeks, but this was not done .
The Ramotsokotlas, who were extending their house, were compelled to buy building material from another supplier to complete the work.
Consumer Line took up their complaint with Sean Guy of African Bricks Centre, who did not want to entertain the matter because it was lodged by Ramotsokotla's wife.
This, he said, because the receipt was issued in her husband's name, Lesiba, though they had also captured her contact number on the slip.
Guy later said their delivery vehicle had a breakdown, resulting in the delay to deliver the bricks.
Chantal Britz also explained the company's difficulty in making a prompt delivery to the Ramotsokotlas.
She said the Ramotsokotlas were aware that the company was not to blame for the delay and that their terms and conditions allowed them to deliver as and when they can.
She said they apologised to the parties but lamented that Ramotsokotla's wife had threatened them with arson.
The bricks were delivered three days after Consumer Line had stepped in.
l The CPA also throws the voetstoots clause out of the window. Meaning that no seller can sell a defective vehicle "as is" anymore.
The dealer cannot hide behind the voetstoets clause ever since the object of sale should perform according to the consumer's expectation.
l The act requires that hazardous goods be clearly labelled.
l Companies that sell grey products will be expected to say so otherwise they will face the full might of the law.
l Retailers and other such suppliers will no longer give consumers vouchers instead of a refund. The new act outlaws this practice.
l Newspapers would be sued for placing misleading adverts that cause financial losses to consumers.
l Small prints that can only be read by the use of a microscope will also be a thing of the past.
l New contracts will have no forfeiture clauses.