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Lecture 4. Consumer Protection

ECTA

Duties of the supplier

  • Section 43(1): Disclose prescribed minimum information on a website (what about other electronic platforms?)
  • Section 43(2):Allow the consumer a chance to review, correct or withdraw from the transaction
  • Section 43 (3)- (4): Breach of s43(1) – (2) by a supplier entitles the consumer to cancel the transaction within 14 days and to seek a refund
  • Section 43(5) –(6) : Provide a secure payment system or be liable for losses sustained by consumer due to insecure payment system
  • Section 44: to refund a consumer who exercises their right to cancel within the statutory cooling-off period
  • Section 46: Execute order within 30 days of receipt of order
  • Section 44 of ECTA provides for consumers’ cooling off rights as follows:

“A consumer is entitled to cancel without reason and without penalty any transaction and any related credit agreement for the supply-

(a) of goods within seven days after the date of the receipt of the goods; or

(b) of services within seven days after the date of the conclusion of the agreement.

(2) The only charge that may be levied on the consumer is the direct cost of returning the goods.

(3) If payment for the goods or services has been effected prior to a consumer exercising a right referred to in subsection (l), the consumer is entitled to a full refund of such payment, which refund must be made within 30 days of the date of cancellation.

(4) This section must not be construed as prejudicing the rights of a consumer provided for in any other law”.
This right is not applicable to the following transactions (section 42(2)):

(a) for financial services;

(b) auctions;

(c) supply of foodstuffs, beverages or other goods intended for everyday consumption

(d) for services which began with the consumer’s consent before the end of the seven-day period referred to in s44 (1);

(e) where the price for the supply of goods or services is dependent on fluctuations in the financial markets and which cannot be controlled by the supplier;

(f) where the goods are made to the consumer’s specifications; are clearly personalised; by reason of their nature cannot be returned; or are likely to deteriorate or expire rapidly;

(g) where audio or video recordings or computer software were unsealed by the consumer;

(h) for the sale of newspapers, periodicals, magazines and books;

(i) for the provision of gaming and lottery services; or

(j) for the provision of accommodation, transport, catering or leisure services and where the supplier undertakes, when the transaction is concluded, to provide these services on a specific date or within a specific period.

Section 44(3) of ECTA provides that chapter 8 of ECTA“does not apply to a regulatory authority established in terms of a law if that law prescribes consumer protection provisions in respect of electronic transactions”.