Consumer journalist Wendy Knowler helps shed light on the rights of consumers when dealing with disclaimers and indemnity forms.
Knowler says disclaimers and indemnities protect service providers from liability arising from any injury, theft or harm related to anything they do or don’t do.
She explains that while the Consumer Protection Act (CPA) does not outlaw indemnities, it restricts how companies formulate and enforce them.
Companies are within their rights to indemnify themselves against certain liabilities, as long as they notify consumers properly.— Wendy Knowler, consumer journalist
The CPA states that unfair clauses - which exempt a company from liability for losses caused by gross negligence, for example - will not be upheld.
The law demands that disclaimers must be written in plain and understandable language.
The consumer must also be given adequate opportunity to receive and comprehend the provisions.
Menwhile, CPA specialist attorney Trudie Broekmann says consumers are allowed to scratch out certain clauses in a contract that they don't agree with.
The purpose of the CPA is to protect vulnerable consumers.— Trudie Broekmann, CPA specialist attorney
The purpose of a contract is that we have two parties with equal negotiating power.— Trudie Broekmann, CPA specialist attorney
The CPA requires that an exclusion of liability to be fair, reasonable and just towards the consumer. We're not just looking at the supplier's interest.— Trudie Broekmann, CPA specialist attorney
A disclaimer has a deterrent effect on claims.— Trudie Broekmann, CPA specialist attorney
Take a listen to Trudie Broekmann and Wendy Knowler explains the legal loopholes:
A hospital refused to admit me for an emergency operation when I deleted some clauses I did not agree with.— Richard Arends (@rjaloss) October 11, 2017
It's true you don't have to accept the contract as is. But they ALSO don't have to accept the new contact you made by scratching bits out— Now Look Here! (@nowlookhere_pod) October 11, 2017
Got a consumer case you need help resolving?
Email: email@example.com, put Cape Talk in the subject line, followed by the issue e.g. cellphone contract dispute.