Consumer protection provisions of the ECT Act

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Chapter VII of the ECT Act deals with consumer protection and applies only to electronic transactions.

The following sections of the ECT Act of of particular relevance regards a consumer’s right of cancellation:

Scope of application

42. (1) This Chapter applies only to electronic transactions.

(2) Section 44 does not apply to an electronic transaction-

(a) for financial services, including but not limited to, investment services, insurance and reinsurance operations, banking services and operations relating to dealings in securities;

(b) by way of an auction;

(c) for the supply of foodstuffs, beverages or other goods intended for everyday consumption supplied to the home, residence or workplace of the consumer;

(d) for services which began with the consumer’s consent before the end of the seven-day period referred to in section 44( 1);

(e) where the price for the supply of goods or services is dependent on fluctuations in the financial markets and which cannot be controlled by the supplier;

(f ) where the goods-

(i) are made to the consumer’s specifications;

(ii) are clearly personalised;

(iii) by reason of their nature cannot be returned; or

(iv) are likely to deteriorate or expire rapidly;

(g) where audio or video recordings or computer software were unsealed by the consumer;

(h) for the sale of newspapers, periodicals, magazines and books;

(i) for the provision of gaming and lottery services; or

(j) for the provision of accommodation, transport, catering or leisure services and where the supplier undertakes, when the transaction is concluded, to provide these services on a specific date or within a specific period.

(3) This Chapter does not apply to a regulatory authority established in terms of a law if that law prescribes consumer protection provisions in respect of electronic transactions.

Cooling-off period

44. (1) A consumer is entitled to cancel without reason and without penalty any transaction and any related credit agreement for the supply –

(a) of goods within seven days after the date of the receipt of the goods; or
(b) of services within seven days after the date of the conclusion of the agreement.

(2) The only charge that may be levied on the consumer is the direct cost of returning 45 the goods.

(3) If payment for the goods or services has been effected prior to a consumer exercising a right referred to in subsection (1), the consumer is entitled to a full refund of such payment, which refund must be made within 30 days of the date of cancellation.

(4) This section must not be construed as prejudicing the rights of a consumer provided for in any other law.