Consumer Law > Problems in Consumer Law > 4. Something Goes Wrong with Goods You Have Bought
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4. Something Goes Wrong with Goods You Have Bought

Simon buys a TV set from a shop. As soon as he gets home, he finds that the TV set isn’t working. What can he do?

What does the Law Say?

The law says that if you buy something which has a fault at the time that you buy it, and neither you nor the seller know about it, then you can get your money back.

What Can He Do?

Simon must contact the seller immediately and give the seller all the necessary information, such as the sales receipt, the date that he bought the TV set and a description of what is wrong with the goods. Simon should keep the original documents for himself and give the seller copies.

If the seller refuses to help, send them a letter with the demands. Keep a copy.

If the seller still refuses to help, try contacting any trading affiliation that the store might be registered to (e.g. Furniture Traders Association), before going to the manufacturer.

If that does not work – send a letter to the manufacturer of the product or the headquarters of the chain store. Tell them what has happened and send copies of important documents, describing what is wrong with the TV and what Simon wants done.

Simon should keep the originals of the documents for himself. If Simon is still not satisfied, get help from one of the consumer protection agencies and organisations like the Consumer Protector or the provincial consumer affairs offices. If you cannot settle the problem in any of these ways then Simon can take the case to court. Simon should only go to court as a last resort because it can be an expensive process and it can take a long time.

  • For claims of up to R15 000, Simon can sue in the Small Claims Court where no lawyers are allowed to represent him
    (See: Small Claims Court)
  • For claims of up to R100 000, he can sue in the ordinary Magistrate’s Court and should use a lawyer.
    (See: Civil Claims)
  • For claims over R100 000, he will need a lawyer and an advocate to sue in the High Court unless there is an agreement with the seller to use the jurisdiction of the magistrates court.