You Break It, You Buy It. What does the Consumer Protection Act has to say?
Jan 22nd 2014, 08:24
You Break It, You Buy It. What does the Consumer Protection
Act has to say?
Compiled by The office of the Credit Ombud and The Consumer
Goods & Services Ombud
Many consumers come across those notices in some shops declaring
their obligation to pay for items they break or damage while
shopping in a store. Notices stating: You Break It, You
Buy It or You Damage It, Consider It Sold are familiar to
“The Consumer Protection Act (CPA) takes precedence
over any store policy and consumers should enforce their
rights when it comes to returning or exchanging defective
goods,” says Consumer Goods and Services Ombud,
advocate Neville Melville. “Consumers should not
allow stores to bully them when it comes to returning
or exchanging defective goods or those with poor workmanship,”
Not only do consumers have a right to return any items
they purchase which have material defects, but they are
also entitled to choose the form of redress. Other than
the automatic six (6) month warranty that all store purchased
goods carry, the CPA also provides for a 3-R’ rule
– the right to return, refund or replacement (of
defective products) - within 6 months of purchasing the
“Stores will often inform consumers that the defective
goods have to be returned in order to be sent away for
repairs, rather than exchanging it or paying a refund.
Consumers... don’t have to follow what the store
wants to do in such circumstances; they have the choice
as to which remedy (return, refund or replace) they would
prefer when it comes to defective goods,” continues
Melville. “The only exception is if the defect is
insignificant or the consumer caused the damage,”
Another common problem occurs when the defective goods
have been purchased on credit. Aggrieved consumers will
sometimes show their dissatisfaction by not paying their
accounts when disputes arise with the store because of
these defective goods. This is the worst approach a consumer
can have as it could give rise to a breach of their obligations
under the credit agreement.
Please feel free to make comments or raise new issues
by emailing us here
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