That’s right I’m back and with a vengeance. It’s been a while since I’ve had enough frustration and rage to want to rant. But fortunately I’ve encountered another company that completely ignores the CPA and treats its customers like ignorant cannon fodder. The company in question is SA Autoparts in Cape Town Elsies to be precise.
Now according to the CPA anything purchased beyond 2011 is covered by the regulations stipulated. The Act clearly spells out the rights of consumers and the responsibilities of suppliers of goods or services. The Act focuses on consumer protection by aiming to…“promote a fair, accessible and sustainable marketplace for consumer products and services and, for that purpose, to establish national norms and standards relating to consumer protection”. It is the result of the Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI) intention to “create and promote an economic environment that supports and strengthens a culture of consumer rights and responsibilities”.
Thus I refer.
2. The right to disclosure and information: Consumers must be provided with the facts needed to make informed choices and ensure their protection against dishonest or misleading advertising and labelling.
Consumers must be provided with the facts needed to make informed choices –> This means you as the company supplying a product or service to the client are obligated to be upfront with your customer about the policies of the company in terms of returns, refunds and applicable policies. Furthermore, if your policies change then you are expected to inform your consumers and update any legal physical documentation including invoices that you supply to the client in agreement for the purchase of said products the company supplies.
- Tell people after the fact that your policies have changed and not update your invoices that include the breakdown of the regulations in the first place. If someone signs the said invoice then they accept that the policies attached will apply. End of story…
- Force a client to accept your word and compare the feasibility of returning a product with something that has no relevance to what your store supplies. i.e. panties and engines are two different things. Smell the roses…
- Fail to disclose information and then point out hand drawn paper signs that have no relevance or bearing to the product supplied in an attempt to make a point that again has no grounds because you are confused with your own policies.
- Walk away because you’ve just had enough of the discussion when a customer is unsatisfied and won’t relent.
- Hire incompetent employees to deal with upset customers.
- Not have someone present that is capable of escalating to the top chain of command or have an owner that’s not interested in getting personally involved in a dispute in order to resolve situations amicably.
- Have contradicting policies which are misleading.
Yes, you have every right to protect yourself as a business but you have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that there is malicious intent by a consumer. That being said, the customer should have the benefit of the doubt at all times irrespective of the situation unless there is clear evidence to the contrary.
You do not have no right to ignore the CPA and you are not allowed to bullshit the customer. Consumers have the right to be informed about your magical policies that change like color coded temperature sensitive matchbox cars. If you don’t believe that then you are failing as a business. Which I fear may already be the case. How can you hide behind policies which clearly don’t exist on signage in your building and on your invoices. The fact is this. People have the right to demand money back if a product supplied is returned in a timely manner in the same condition it was received. Obviously with rare exceptions being under garments as one example with we can all agree is completely logical. People also have the right to be informed about the ramifications of doing business with a company before a purchase. For example, knowing there is no possibility of a refund regardless of the situation changes the dynamics of any transaction with good reason. Withholding information about that type of thing in the first place clearly indicates your intention to mislead potential consumers.
And on that note:
Dear potential customers of SA Autoparts, make sure your rights are protected as a consumer and avoid doing business with companies like SA Autoparts because they believe they are above the law and only act in their own interest at all times. You as a client will be deceived, misinformed and mislead. Know your rights and use the resources at your disposal.
Western Cape Office of the Consumer Protector
Consumer Advice Offices
80 St George’s Mall,
PO Box 979,
Cape Town, 8000
Toll Free: 0800 007 081
Fax: 021 483 5872
You have been warned!
Don’t worry SA Autoparts, I’m not backing down and I’ll see you soon. Feel free to discuss it directly with me in order to resolve the situation amicably through my blog. That’s of course if you do care, are not trying to mislead me and want to resolve things before they get complicated.