Most consumers are aware of their rights in terms of Section 55 of the Consumer Protection Act (CPA), which states that each person has the right to receive:
- Goods that are suitable for the purpose for which they were intended,
- of good quality and free from defects, and
- usable and durable for a reasonable period of time.
What most consumers do not realise is that these rights exclude wear and tear items. Each consumer is afforded the right to inspect any item they intend to purchase, before the transaction is concluded in order to decide whether to continue with the transaction or not.
This right is also afforded to a consumer who intends to purchase a used motor vehicle. Most used motor vehicle dealerships will allow a consumer the opportunity to inspect a vehicle and even test drive it to determine if the vehicle suits their requirements, and also to familiarise them with the condition of the vehicle before continuing with the transaction.
The consumer is therefore informed of the condition of the vehicle and, if he/she continues with the transaction, has accepted the vehicle in that condition.
Therefore there is no justifiable reason for the cancellation of the transaction a few days later on the grounds that, for example, the oil filter has reached its end, or that the tyres are worn. It will also not be the supplier’s responsibility to repair the oil filter or to replace the tyres.
If, however, the supplier still agrees to the cancellation of the agreement, he/she is allowed to charge a reasonable cancellation fee for the usage of the motor vehicle. This cancellation fee is calculated on the fair use of the vehicle based on the distance the vehicle has traveled since the consumer has taken possession thereof also keeping in mind the length of period that he/she is in possession of the vehicle as well.
There is a duty on a consumer to familiarise himself with the vehicle before concluding the transaction taking the age and mileage of the vehicle into account.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Norman Prigge is currently a SEESA Consumer Protection & POPI Legal Advisor. He obtained his LLB degree from the University of Pretoria in 2009 and was admitted as an Attorney of the High Court in 2010. He started his career at SEESA in 2015 after leaving practice.