ConsumerTalk with Wendy Knowler

What happens when your brand new heater erupts, or worse? Product liability 101

Consumer journalist Wendy Knowler helps shed light on the rights of consumers when dealing with personal injury or damage to property caused by faulty products.

Product liability is an area of law in which manufacturers, distributors, suppliers and retailers are held responsible for the injuries their products cause.

Read: At own risk! What you need to know before signing that disclaimer

The Consumer Goods and Services Ombudman (CGSO) has confirmed an increase in the number of product safety complaints against manufacturers.

Personal injury law expert Kirstie Haslam explains that electrical items, especially cellphones, are the top products South African consumers complain about.

Haslam says that consumer law holds all points of the supply chain legally responsible for the safety of products.

Defective oil heater

Cape Town resident Muriel Albertze shared the story of how she bought a brand new Mellerware Nevada 11 fin oil heater from Takealot, which ruptured and caused damage to her household property.

Since Knowler took on Albertze's complaint, heater manufacturer Creative Housewares has undertaken to recall the defective products.

Albertze will be refunded for the cost of the heater and damage to her property by the manufacturer.

Retailer Takealot has also offered the complainant extra credit as a gesture of goodwill.

The person that you paid your money to is responsible for the recourse. The retailer must take responsibility.

Wendy Knowler, consumer journalist

According to Haslam, a complainant has grounds for a legal claim if they can prove their injuries are caused by a product.

She explains joint and several liability claims and how it works in court.

As a general rule, you want to include all parties involved in the manufacture and supply of the defective product.

Kirstie Haslam, a partner at DSC Attorneys specializing in personal injury law

Take a listen to the informative discussion and case study:

Got a consumer case you need help resolving?

Email: consumer@knowler.co.za, put Cape Talk in the subject line, followed by the issue e.g. cellphone contract dispute.


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