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RMI has got car owners' back

Recourse for consumers in times of disputes

Willem Maake car
Willem Maake car

Product warranty gives a consumer a guarantee and the right to return goods bought within a specified period of time if the product bought does not live up to expected quality..

According to Duon Odendaal, professional arbitrator and mediator at the SA Consumer Complaints, the Consumer Protection Act has clauses that shield consumers like Willem Maake.   

Odendaal said dealerships do not have an automatic right to fix a car that is under warranty. He said the seller had a duty to offer replacement goods in a case of poor quality product. The Consumer Protection Act also states that: “Within six months after the delivery of any goods to a consumer, the consumer may return the goods to the supplier, without penalty and at the supplier’s risk and 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 repair or replace the failed, unsafe or defective goods; or refund to the consumer the price paid by the consumer, for the goods.”

Odendaal further explained that there was nothing in the Act which allows the supplier to repair a brand-new product. "The consumer purchased a brand-new vehicle and the excessive oil consumption is a defect as per the definition, most manufacturers do have a prescribed procedure that must be followed to determine the oil usage of the vehicle.”

His organisation also assists consumers with motivating their cases and provide them with the necessary ammunition to take the dispute to the ombudsman at a fee of R3,500.

The Retail Motor Industry Organisation (RMI) also offers services to car owners.  “In an ideal situation where the retailer or the supplier is a member of the RMI, the consumer affairs office will attempt to intervene, and facilitate the mediation process between the parties in order to achieve an amicable resolution, as envisaged by the Code Of Good Practice and the Consumer Protection Act. The facilitation process is informal and therefore no legal representation is allowed,” said Jeffrey Molefe, RMI regional manager.

"Their services are free of charge. RMI also facilitates disputes that are not more than six months after delivery of goods to the consumer but it has limited intervention in disputes against non-members."

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