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It's important for consumers to know their rights regarding return policies and retail practices, insists consumer journalist Wendy Knowler.

She explains that retailers often fail to distinguish between a non-defective item (from a change of heart) and a defective item when composing their return policies.

According to Knowler, consumers have zero right of return when it comes to a non-defective item.

However, buyers have various rights if the item is defective, i.e. it doesn't work, is incomplete or damaged.

Knowler unpacks the following right consumer's have when returning defective items:

  • there is an inherent warranty of 6 months on all items (even for second-hand goods) stated in the Consumer Protection Act

  • the defective item must be returned with proof of payment

  • consumers can choose between a cash refund, the replacement or repair of a defective item

  • retailers sometimes exploit consumers who don't know their consumer rights and don't tell them about their options

  • if a repaired item becomes defective for a second time, retailers are not allowed to try repair it again

  • retailers, in the electronic sector, are allowed to send the item for a technical assessment to rule out user abuse

  • consumers must keep their till slips for the duration of all item warranties to help with legal recourse

She answered several questions from CapeTalk listeners on the Pippa Hudson Show.

Listen to the detailed conversation with Wendy Knowler:

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