Shopping for the festive season can be a stressful time, but it doesn’t have to be. Being aware of your consumer protection rights helps ensure that you are not taken advantage of during this time. Knowing your rights will ensure that you make informed decisions when shopping this festive season.

Consumer Protection Act (CPA) 

The Consumer Protection Act (CPA) protects consumers from unfair or unethical practices when shopping around during the festive season. The CPA ensures that businesses must provide customers with accurate information about their products, services cannot be cancelled without proper notice, and refunds must be given if requested under reasonable circumstances. Businesses also cannot charge customers any additional fees or interest on goods or services purchased on credit. Additionally, if a product is faulty, the business must replace it or offer a monetary refund to the customer. 

According to Consumer Goods and Services Ombud: CGSO, all goods purchased in South Africa carry a six-month implied quality warranty under section 56 of the CPA. This means that customers have the right to receive a refund, replacement, or repair of their own choice if the goods bought from a business are defective within six months of purchase – provided the goods haven’t been tampered with or damaged by the consumer. This automatic warranty is in addition to the businesses’ own or manufacturer’s warranty.

Here is a link to the Consumer Protection Act 68 of 2008

Unfair Terms & Conditions 

Businesses may include terms and conditions that are not fair to the consumer in their contracts, such as clauses that limit their liability if something goes wrong with the product or service provided. The CPA does not allow these types of terms and conditions as they do not provide enough protection for you as a consumer. Before signing any contracts or agreements, it is important to read through them carefully and make sure you understand what rights you have before making any purchases. 

Return Policies 

When shopping this festive season, it is essential to know what kind of return policies each store has in place so that you know exactly what your rights are if something happens with your purchase. Many stores have different return policies depending on whether the item was purchased online or in-store, so make sure you take these into account when making your purchases this season. Be sure to ask questions about any returns policies before committing to a purchase – especially around Christmas time – as many stores may have special return policies during this period that could affect how much money you get back if something goes wrong with your purchase. 

Gift Cards

In South Africa, the Consumer Protection Act seeks to protect consumers against unfair practices when they purchase a gift card. This law holds retailers accountable and enforces regulations, including time-frames for expiry dates and fees, as well as acts that restrict shoppers’ rights to receive refunds or returns. The regulation also imposes clear terms of use for customers when purchasing a gift card, for instance, the vendor must ensure customers receive their purchase without delay and in good condition. Section 63 of the CPA clearly states the conditions under which gift cards may expire.

  1. Firstly, until the date on which their full value has been redeemed in exchange for goods or services or future services; or
  2. Three years after the date on which it was issued or the extended time agreed to by the supplier at any time.


As a consumer, knowing your rights is an integral part of shopping this festive season in South Africa. Understanding what protections are available under the Consumer Protection Act (CPA) will help ensure businesses do not take advantage of customers during this busy time of year by providing inaccurate information about their products or imposing unfair terms and conditions on their contracts. It is also essential to familiarise yourself with each store’s return policy before committing to any purchases so that you know exactly what your rights are should something go wrong with one of your items after purchase. By being aware of these important tips, shoppers can rest assured knowing they are protected while shopping this holiday season!