I placed a lay-by on a plasma TV and entertainment stand at
Cash Crusaders in Phuthaditjhaba in the Free State on January 13 this year.
came to the store on January 17 to pay the balance and collect the unit.
horror and disappointment, the unit was sold.
The store manager said the
purchase was not captured on their system despite the fact that a “sold” note
was attached to the stand.
What are my rights as the consumer and what can I do
to relieve the heartache this has caused me and my wife?
City Press replies:
The good news is that under the Consumer Protection Act you
do have recourse against Cash Crusaders, which could be required to pay out
double the amount paid by you as compensation for the breach of contract.
According to Advocate Neville Melville of the Consumer
Services and Goods Ombud, you are protected by the act, which states that:
supplier is unable to deliver [lay-by] goods contemplated in subsection (1)
when the consumer has paid the full price for those goods, the supplier must
either, at the option of the consumer –
(a) Supply the consumer with an equivalent quantity of goods
that are comparable or superior in description, design and quality; or
(b) Refund to the consumer; or
(i) The money paid by the consumer, with interest in
accordance with the Prescribed Rate of Interest Act, 1975 (Act 55 of 1975), if
the inability to supply the goods is due to circumstances beyond the supplier’s
(ii) Double the amount paid by the consumer, as compensation
for breach of contract in any circumstances not contemplated in subparagraph
(3) Without limiting the generality of subsection (2)(b)(i),
a failure to supply the goods is not “due to circumstances beyond the
supplier’s control” if the shortage results partially, completely, directly or
indirectly from a failure on the part of the supplier to adequately and
diligently carry out any ordinary or routine matter pertaining to the
Firstly, you should complain to the manager of the store or
the store’s customer care department in writing, quoting the act and the
recourse you require.
If you don’t get any joy from them or customer care, you
should complain to head office.
If this doesn’t work, you can send your complaint to the
Consumer Goods and Services Ombud.
You can do this online at cgso.org.za.