Ford South Africa has been forced to recall more than 4500 Kuga Ecoboost 1.6 litre models manufactured between December 2012 and February 2014. Ford South Africa’s chief executive Jeff Nemeth announced the recall after more than 50 cases of engine fires had been reported.

This incident has raised the question of whether or not a buyer of a car can get a full refund if it turns out the car has a serious defect. This falls into the domain of the Consumer Protection Act, No 68 of 2008. The CPA serves to protect the interests of all consumers, ensure accessible, transparent and efficient redress for consumers who are subjected to abuse or exploitation in the marketplace and also to give effect to internationally recognised consumer rights.

According to Section 7 of the CPA, a consumer has the:

a) Right to demand quality service,

b) Right to safe, good quality goods,

c) Right to implied warranty of quality.

Will I be able to get my money back?

In terms of section 56 of the act, any product should be fit for purpose for at least six months after purchase. The Ford Kuga hazard is caused by a manufacturing defect, which implies that the owner could return the vehicle within six months of purchase and ask for his/her money back (or a replacement vehicle). The other option is to ask for or accept an offer from Ford to repair the car.

For many reasons, dealers are not just going to just give consumers their money back. The vehicle should first be taken in for the repair and if that fails – or a secondary feature fails and another hazard develops – then the supplier must replace or refund the owner of the vehicle the price that was paid.


  • The Consumer Protection Act, No 68 of 2008

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as legal or other professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your legal adviser for specific and detailed advice. Errors and omissions excepted (E&OE)


Kan ‘n verbruiker jou, die diensverskaffer, hof toe sleep omdat die verbruiker nie sommige van die terme en voorwaardes van jou getekende kontrak verstaan nie? Pasop, die antwoord is Ja!

Vanaf April 2011 het die Wet op Verbruikersbeskerming in volle werking getree, met die gevolg dat dit nou onwettig is om moeilik-om-te-verstaan ​​taal in enige besigheidsdokument of kontrak te gebruik.

Besigheid gaan gewoonlik gepaard met baie papierwerk, of dit nou ‘n kontrak, ‘n brief, `n ooreenkoms of selfs ‘n instruksieboekie is. Hierdie noodsaaklike dokumente is dikwels geskryf in taal wat ​​vir die gemiddelde verbruiker moeilik is om te verstaan.

Die rede waarom daar spesifieke Eenvoudige Taal-regulasies in die Wet op Verbruikersbeskerming vervat is, is om die verbruikers te beskerm teen die ondertekening van dokumente wat hulle nie verstaan ​​nie.

Beskerming van die verbruiker

Die Wet se uitdruklike doel is om seker te maak dat verbruikers nie onbillik behandel word nie – doelbewus of  nie. Dit beteken dat die gebruik van eenvoudige taal nou belangriker is as ooit. Die gebruik van vae en verwarrende bewoording, veral in bindende kontrakte, word nie meer toegelaat nie. Om dit eenvoudig te stel, dit is onwettig!

Te veel verbruikers het vroeër in groot moeilikheid beland, veral finansiële moeilikheid, omdat hulle nie verstaan ​het ​wat hulle onderteken het nie. Soms is kontrakte geskryf in opgeblase, burokratiese styl net omdat dit is hoe dit nog altyd was, of omdat die mense wat die kontrakte opstel bloot nie geweet het van enige ander manier om dit te doen nie.

Dikwels, egter, het gewetenlose besighede opsetlik ingewikkelde taal gebruik as ‘n manier om verbruikers te mislei om te betaal vir iets wat hulle nie kan bekostig nie, hul regte weg te teken, of om in te stem tot onbillike terme en voorwaardes.

Omskrywing van eenvoudige taal

Die Wet op Verbruikersbeskerming definieer eenvoudige taal in Deel D, Artikel 22 soos volg:

“By die toepassing van hierdie Wet, is ’n kennisgewing, dokument of visuele voorstelling in gewone taal, indien dit redelik is om tot die gevolgtrekking te kom dat daar van ’n gewone verbruiker van die klas van persone vir wie die kennisgewing, dokument of visuele voorstelling bedoel is, met gemiddelde geletterdheidsvaardighede en minimale ondervinding as ’n verbruiker van die betrokke goedere of dienste, verwag kan word om die inhoud, betekenis en belang van die kennisgewing, dokument of visuele voorstelling sonder onnodige inspanning te verstaan, met inagneming van:

  1. Die samehang, omvattendheid en konsekwentheid van die kennisgewing,dokument of visuele voorstelling;
  2. Die organisering, vorm en styl van die kennisgewing, dokument of visuelevoorstelling;
  3. Die woordeskat, gebruik en sinstruktuur van die kennisgewing, dokumentof visuele voorstelling; en
  4. Die gebruik van illustrasies, voorbeelde, opskrifte of ander hulpmiddelsom te lees en te verstaan.”

Dit beteken dat ‘n mens nie dinge so wyd kan omskryf dat dit op verskeie maniere verstaan of geïnterpreteer kan ​​word nie. Die Wet bepaal dat indien daar enige twyfel oor die betekenis van sekere woorde of terme en voorwaardes is, die voordeel ten gunste van die verbruiker sal wees.

Selfs advertensies en bemarking mag nie meer enige onduidelikheid vir die verbruiker daarstel nie. Advertensies word nie toegelaat om te oordryf nie en moet maklik verstaanbaar, regverdig en eerlik wees. Die Wet bepaal dus dat diensverskaffers alles in duidelike en eenvoudige taal wat verbruikers kan verstaan, moet uitspel. Alternatiewelik het  die verbruikers die reg op blootlegging en inligting in eenvoudige en verstaanbare taal.

Dus, moenie uitstel nie. Indien  jy ‘n besigheidsdokument of kontrak het wat al jare gebruik word, moet jy dalk met ander oë daarna kyk en dit wysig of herbewoord ten einde te verseker dat dit voldoen aan die Wet op Verbruikersbeskerming.

Hierdie is ‘n algemene inligtingstuk en moet gevolglik nie as regs- of ander professionele advies benut word nie. Geen aanspreeklikheid kan aanvaar word vir enige foute of weglatings of enige skade of verlies wat volg uit die gebruik van enige inligting hierin vervat nie. Kontak altyd u regsadviseur vir spesifieke en toegepaste advies. (E&OE)


Can a consumer take you, the service provider, to court because they did not understand some of the terms and conditions of your signed contract? Beware, the answer is Yes!

From April 2011 the Consumer Protection Act came into full effect with the result that it is now against the law to use difficult-to-understand language in any business document or contract.

Business usually comes with some kind of paperwork, whether it’s a contract, a letter of agreement or even an instruction booklet. These vital documents are often written in language that is hard to understand for the average consumer, which is why there are specific Plain Language regulations in The Consumer Protection Act to prevent consumers from signing documents they do not understand.

Protecting the consumer

The Act’s express purpose is to make sure consumers are not treated unfairly – intentionally or not. This means that using plain language is more crucial than ever. From now on, using obscure and confusing wording, especially in binding contracts, is not allowed. Quite simply, it’s illegal!

Too many consumers have landed in big trouble, especially financial trouble, because they haven’t understood what they’ve signed. Sometimes contracts are written in bloated, bureaucratic jargon just because that’s the way it has always been, or because the people writing the contracts don’t know any other way to do it. Often, though, unscrupulous businesses have used complicated language on purpose, as a way to trick consumers into paying for something they can’t afford, to sign away their rights, or to agree to unfair terms and conditions.

Defining plain language

The Consumer Protection Act defines plain language in Part D, Section 22 as follows:

For the purposes of this Act, a notice, document or visual representation is in plain language if it is reasonable to conclude that an ordinary consumer of the class of persons for whom the notice, document or visual representation is intended, with average literacy skills and minimal experience as a consumer of the relevant goods or services, could be expected to understand the content, significance, and import of the document without undue effort, having regard to:

The context, comprehensiveness and consistency of the notice, document or visual representation;

The organisation, form and style of the notice, document or visual representation;

The vocabulary, usage and sentence structure of the notice, document or visual representation; and

The use of any illustrations, examples, headings, or other aids to reading and understanding.

This means that one won’t be permitted to word things so widely that they can be understood in several ways. The Act states that if there is any doubt about the meaning of certain words or terms and conditions, the benefit will go to the consumer. Even advertising and marketing may no longer contain any ambiguity. Advertisements won’t be allowed to exaggerate and they will have to be easy to understand, fair and honest. The Act states that service providers will have to spell out everything in words that consumers can understand. Alternatively the consumers have the right to full disclosure and information in plain and understandable language.

 Therefore, don’t delay. If you have a business document or contract that has been used for generations you might have to take a second look at it to edit or reword it so that it complies with the Consumer Protection Act.

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as legal or other professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your legal adviser for specific and detailed advice. Errors and omissions excepted. (E&OE)