In cases of defective product recall, suppliers could be liable, irrespective of whether such products had caused harm or not.
The new Act also protects consumers against bad service and misleading marketing, and provides for return or exchange of goods.
Suppliers of goods and services should insure themselves against newly legislated product liability, advises Burger Visser of PSG Konsult short term insurance.
Standard liability cover does provide substantial cover against a number of losses that may arise out of the new Consumer Protection Act. Holders of liability insurance should extend their cover to include product liability, and consider including specialised insurance, like product recall insurance.
Suppliers may sometimes limit their liability by disclaimers and trading terms, but suppliers may not rely on disclaimers and terms if gross negligence is found.
Suppliers may not require consumers to waive rights, assume obligations, or waive liability of a supplier on terms that are unfair, unreasonable, unjust, or biased against a buyer, user or consumer, unless the consumer’s attention is specifically drawn to the bias.
Liability irrespective of negligence
Prior to the new Act, if any goods sold or supplied caused death, injury, illness or damage, a consumer would have to prove negligence on the part of a specific supplier, commented Burger Visser of PSG Konsult short term insurance.
The Act now make suppliers and providers of services, like plumbers, electricians, installers, liable for death, injury, damage or loss arising from goods or services, irrespective of proven negligence or not.
Negligence is no longer a requirement for liability. Consumers may now hold any entity or entities in a supply chain liable. Retailers and manufacturers will probably bear the brunt of product liability actions.
Consumers and suppliers should know and act within their rights and obligations. Suppliers should assess their legal risks in consultation with insurers and insurance advisors, and take adequate cover.
PHOTO; Burger Visser of PSG Konsult short term insurance.