Product Returns

There are two sections of the Consumer Protection Act which make provision for the consumer to return goods which they have purchased to the supplier. These are Section 20 which allows for the return of incorrectly sold/misrepresented goods which are not fit for purpose and the return of defective goods within 6 months of the date of purchase and Section 59 which allows for consumers to return used goods for recycling if this is required by law.

Section 20 – Consumer’s right to return goods

  1. Section 20 – Consumer’s right to return goods
    1. the right to return unsafe or defective goods, contemplated in section 56; or
    2. any other right In law between a supplier and consumer to return goods and receive a refund.
  2. Subject to sub-sections (3) to (6), the consumer may return goods to the supplier, and receive a full refund of any consideration paid for those goods, if the supplier has delivered-
    1. goods to the consumer in terms of an agreement arising out of direct marketing, and the consumer has rescinded that agreement during the cooling off period, in accordance with section 16;
    2. goods that the consumer did not have an opportunity to examine before delivery, and the consumer has rejected delivery of those goods for any of the reasons contemplated in section 19(5);
    3. a mixture of goods, and the consumer has refused delivery of any of those goods as contemplated in section 19(8); or
    4. goods intended to satisfy a particular purpose communicated to the supplier as contemplated in section 55(3), and within 10 business days after delivery to the consumer, the goods have been found to be unsuitable for that particular purpose.
  3. Subsection (2) does not apply with respect to any goods if-
    1. for reasons of public health or otherwise, a public regulation prohibits the return of those goods to a supplier once they have been supplied to, or at the direction of, a consumer; or
    2. after having been supplied tom, or at the direction of, the consumer, the goods hav e been partially or entirely disassembled, physically altered, permanently installed, affixed, attached, joined or added to, blended or combined with, or embedded within, other goods or property.
  4. Goods returnable in terms of-
    1. subsection (2)(a) must be returned to the supplier at the consumer’s risk and expense; or
    2. subsection (2)(b) to (d) must be returned to the supplier at the supplier’s risk and expense, within 10 business days after delivery to the consumer.
  5. Upon return of any goods in terms of this section, the supplier must refund to the consumer the price paid for the goods, less any amount that may be charged in terms of subsection (6).
  6. In determining the right of a supplier to impose a charge contemplated in subsection (5), if any goods returned to the supplier in terms of this section are
    1. in the original unopened packaging, the supplier may not charge the consumer any amount in respect of the goods;
    2. in their original condition and repackaged in their original packaging, the supplier may charge the consumer a reasonable amount for-
      1. use of the goods during the time they were in the consumer’s possession, unless they are goods that are ordinarily consumed or depleted by use, and no such consumption or depletion has occurred; or
      2. any consumption or depletion of the goods, unless that consumption or depletion is limited to a reasonable amount necessary to determine whether the goods were acceptable to the consumer; or
    3. in any other case, the supplier may charge the consumer a reasonable amount-
      1. as contemplated in paragraph (b); and
      2. for necessary restoration costs to render the goods fit for restocking unless, having regard to the nature of the goods, and the manner in which they were packaged, it was necessary for the consumer to destroy the packaging in order to determine whether the goods-
        1. conformed to the description or sample provided, in the case of goods that had not been examined by the consumer before delivery as contemplated in subsection (2)(b); or
        2. were fit for the intended purpose, in a case contemplated in subsection (2)(d).

Section 59 – Recovery and safe disposal of designated products or components

  1. If any national legislation prohibits the disposal or deposit of any particular goods, or any components, remnants, containers or packaging of any goods, into a common waste collection system—
    1. any person who in the ordinary course of business supplies goods of that kind to consumers, must accept the return of any such goods, components, remnants, containers or packaging from any consumer, without charge to the consumer, irrespective of whether that person supplied the particular object to that particular consumer; and
    2. any person who in the ordinary course of business produces, imports or distributes any such goods as part of the supply chain by which those goods reach the consumer, must in turn accept the return of any such goods, components, remnants, containers or packaging from any supplier contemplated in paragraph (a).
  2. If any regulation or industry waste management plan approved by any other legislation for the management of a specific waste type applies, the consumer may dispose or deposit the goods to a collection facility provided for in the regulation or industry waste management plan.

This section, therefore, deals with aerosols which have been returned to retailers by consumers. These aerosols may be defective or simply not fit for the purpose which the consumer had in mind or may require being recycled in terms of the National Environment Act: Waste Act.

It should be noted that the transportation of an aerosol from the retailer to the manufacturer, distributor or recycler must always comply with the requirements of the Road Traffic Act.