Consumer rights is a term we all know, but very few know exactly what these rights entail and how they are applicable to you.
Even though consumers are essential to uplift a country’s economy and they are also important to various service and product providers, consumers are often scared to voice their disapproval of a product or service.
Counting Coins spoke to the experts at Zeeva to find out how consumer rights affect you.
What does the constitution say?
Section Nine of the Constitution of South Africa guarantees equality before the law and freedom from discrimination to all the people of South Africa. According to the National Credit Regulator (NCR) consumers have rights in terms of the National Credit Act (NCA) to:
• Apply for credit.
• Know why credit was declined.
• Receive information and documentation in their preferred official language.
• Receive information and documentation in simple and clear language.
• Get documentation in their preferred delivery manner.
• Receive statements without charge.
• Receive their free credit report once a year from a registered Credit Bureau and if evidence is available, question or dispute incorrect information.
• Apply for debt review, management, or counselling.
Credit in action: applying for a clothing account
According to Zeeva’s 2017 Smart Women, Smart Money survey, that was completed by over 3000 women, more than 48% of women have a clothing account. This type of credit is often the first credit consumers tend to apply for.
Zeeva experts say it is important to ask for your credit agreement and to know how your account works and what the term and cost implications are. You can also query what the credit life instalment entails, and you can choose to cancel the credit life instalment and find your own provider, like FinSafe.
If your request to get a credit agreement is refused, you can log a complaint via the credit ombudsman, but this has to be your last resort before taking the matter to court.
Owning a credit card
When applying for a credit card, you need to understand what the minimum payments are, and understand what will happen if you max out your credit card. You are also entitled to ask for your statements so that you can keep an eye on what is going on in your account.