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Thread: Consumer protection act starts biting.

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Consumer protection act starts biting.

    From today (25 April 2010), you have the right, without having to prove negligence, to claim damages from a company if you suffer physical harm or financial loss because it supplied you with a defective product. We report on two provisions in the long-awaited Consumer Protection Act (CPA) that have come into effect.

    If you suffer any injury or harm as a result of an unsafe or defective product bought from today, you have the right to claim damages from the company responsible under the CPA.

    A provision of the CPA that takes effect from today and that affects you, the consumer, is the "no-fault" liability of companies for harm or damage as a result of an unsafe or a defective product.

    full story from Personal Finance here
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    Very good,

    How will the courts enforce it? Lets look at a policy that FS sold as "guaranteed returns" suddenly lost value. There is an economic loss but not due to illness, death or injury. Can this stand in court?

    Lets look at energy: Power outages and restaurants suffered spoiled food. Economic loss but not due to illness, death or injury.

    What about non-service delivery ...

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    Diamond Member tec0's Avatar
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    Yes this is very good! I just wonder if you got a car that is defective and was sold to you anyway if that will also fall under this law. Because A> driving without lights is illegal and a massif risk to your health and B> it is unbelievably costly to repair.
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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Erika Gordon View Post
    How will the courts enforce it?
    That seems to be the big question. The legislation implies that it is up to the courts to set precedent. How are we supposed to second guess where the courts might draw the line in this?
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave A View Post
    From today (25 April 2010), you have the right, without having to prove negligence, to claim damages from a company if you suffer physical harm or financial loss because it supplied you with a defective product. We report on two provisions in the long-awaited Consumer Protection Act (CPA) that have come into effect.
    The customer doesn't have to prove negligence but he does have to prove that the harm or loss was caused by a defect in the product.

    [Aside: If your product is a computer file (e.g. a Word document) and the file contains a virus, then your product is unsafe. The fact that you checked the file for viruses beforehand is not relevant because proving non-negligence is no longer a valid defense. I guess this is where professional liability insurance comes in...]

    I wonder what this will do to freelancers, such as translators or graphic artists whose product is electronic (let's exclude for the moment freelancers who provide physical things like printed artwork, instead of just PDFs or DOCs, because printed artwork can be unsafe under certain circumstances -- don't ask!).

    Physical harm can't come from their products, but financial harm can. And I don't think their products can ever be unsafe, they can definitely be defective. And defects in their products lead to financial harm... BIG financial harm.

    A translator may charge R500 for the translation of something that, if defective, may lead to millions of rands' worth of financial harm. So the ratio between the income from the product and the potential loss from it is very unequal.

    The new says that the customer must prove that the product is defective, but if there is uncertainty (or if the existence of the defect is based on opinion rather than fact), who has the biggest burden of proof -- the customer or the product provider?

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    Diamond Member tec0's Avatar
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    First of all consumer protection law is useless. I tested the law in a situation where the supplier abused the product and in the end it cost us thousands to repair. This law did not protect us. So it is worthless
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    Quote Originally Posted by tec0 View Post
    First of all consumer protection law is useless. I tested the law in a situation where...
    The fact that the law failed to protect you as a customer doesn't mean the law will fail to protect one of your customers against you. It is irresponsible business practice to make such an assumption.

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    In legal application, the word "injury" refers to any harm, damage or loss, not just in a medical or physical sense.
    Quote Originally Posted by tec0 View Post
    I tested the law in a situation where the supplier abused the product and in the end it cost us thousands to repair.
    The supplier abused the product? You've lost me
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave A View Post
    In legal application, the word "injury" refers to any harm, damage or loss, not just in a medical or physical sense.
    Sure, but the original quote does not mention injury. It says "physical harm", which is is injury in the common sense. Are you saying that the law protects consumers against all kinds of harm?

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by leuce View Post
    Sure, but the original quote does not mention injury. It says "physical harm", which is is injury in the common sense. Are you saying that the law protects consumers against all kinds of harm?
    The original article says "physical harm or financial loss" which are elements of "injury".

    I suspect we debate this at crossed purposes though - the point was intended as a response to this post:
    Quote Originally Posted by Erika Gordon View Post
    Very good,

    How will the courts enforce it? Lets look at a policy that FS sold as "guaranteed returns" suddenly lost value. There is an economic loss but not due to illness, death or injury. Can this stand in court?

    Lets look at energy: Power outages and restaurants suffered spoiled food. Economic loss but not due to illness, death or injury.

    What about non-service delivery ...
    My apologies for any confusion caused.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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