Most of us have heard about the CPA (Consumer Protection Act) which make South African consumers among the most protected in the world.
But few know that online shoppers benefit from annoyer layer of protection thanks to the ECTA (Electronic Communication & Transaction Act) which specifically deal with e-commerce transactions.
The “cooling off period” of 5 working days guaranteed under section 16(1) of the CPA; is limited to transactions that result from direct marketing and does not apply to goods purchased in-store. The consumer has the right to cancel a sale and return the goods but would be exposed to reasonable cancellation fees imposed by the store.
However, under section 44 of the ECTA, consumers purchasing goods online, including furniture, are entitled to cancel without reason and penalty any transaction for the supply of goods within 7 days after the date of receipt.
All payments made, including shipping fees, must be refunded within 30 days of the date of cancellation.
Section 44 doesn't applies to goods and services listed in section 42(2) including but not limited to goods that are made to customer’s specifications and that are clearly personalized.
The provisions of both the ECTA and the CPA apply concurrently when purchasing furniture online. In case of non-compliance by an ecommerce platform contact the CGSO (Consumer Goods & Services Ombud).