The nature and effect of section 56 of the Consumer Protection Act 68 of 2008 and the uncertainties surrounding it.
Mutasa, Martina Flora Gugulethu Rudo.
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Consumer protection is a global phenomenon and has seen many countries enact legislation in an attempt to protect consumers from exploitation. Consumers have been exploited in a number of ways, one of which is the sale of defective products which often result in serious consequences such as injury or death. In a bid to protect the consumer, South Africa enacted the Consumer Protection Act 68 of 2008. The CPA introduced the consumer’s rights to safe, good quality goods (section 55) and the implied warranty of quality (section 56). The study is aimed at evaluating the above mentioned sections with the intention of highlighting areas of uncertainty and, where legislative gaps exist, making recommendations on how these provisions could be interpreted, extended and modified to sufficiently protect all interested parties. Currently, the CPA provisions lack specific standards of conformity for products, particularly relating to quality. Of particular interest to the study is the choice of remedies given solely to the consumer in the event of breach of warranty of quality. As a secondary issue, the study also analyses the treatment of minor defects and the position of the voetstoots clause in light of the CPA, which is questionable. The study makes comparative analyses of consumer protection legislation in specific legal systems with the aim of developing suitable solutions to improve the specified provisions of the CPA. The legal jurisdictions that are considered are namely the United Kingdom (UK), other EU member states and the United States of America (USA). It is hoped that the submissions made will be considered, that decisive statutory reforms will be made with the intent of narrowing the legislative gaps and move the CPA in a more progressive direction ultimately granting consumers the same or similar protection as its international counterparts.