The Consumer Protection Act (“the Act”) has forever changed the way suppliers (as defined in the Act) interact with their customers. The Act’s implications are felt even in the second hand goods market where the goods have been reconditioned or worked on by the supplier.
The Act stipulates that when a supplier who sells or markets goods which have been reconditioned, rebuilt or remade, it must mark the products with a “conspicuous notice” which clearly states that the goods have been reconditioned, rebuilt or remade, as the case may be.
The Act’s Regulations take this notice into further detail regarding its nature and content. In short, the notice must comply with the following requirements:
- the notice must be placed on both the goods and the marketing material relating to the goods. In both cases, the notice must be placed such that the consumer is likely to see the notice;
- the notice must be in a font which is easily legible and of an appropriate size;
- the notice must be brought to the attention of the consumer when the supplier is in the act of selling the goods;
In addition to the above, the supplier must, at the time of selling, explain the meaning of the notice in plain language.
Consequences of failure to properly disclose
In terms of Section 41 of the Act, it is a false, misleading or deceptive representation to advertise, sell or otherwise represent goods as new or unused, if they are not or if they are reconditioned or remade (this is subject to the exception where the goods have been used only by or on behalf of the supplier for the purposes of reasonable testing, service, preparation or delivery).
Such a representation would be grounds for a court to order that the goods be returned to the seller for a refund, that the consumer be compensated for damages or loss relating to the sale of such goods or requiring the seller to cease or alter his practices relating to the sale of such goods.
Warranty on repaired goods:
Depending on the extent of the refurbishment, there may be an imposed warranty on the goods, of 3 months. This is in addition to the implied warranty of quality imposed by Section 56, which applies to all goods sold and / or marketed by the supplier.
As always, our advice to suppliers seeking to market used, reconditioned or rebuilt goods would be to consult with their legal representatives as to the specific requirements relating to their individual products.