Voetstoots Clause Revised
THE VOETSTOOTS CLAUSE BRIEFLY EXPLAINED…
The “voetstoots” clause put plainly, means that the goods (whether movable or immovable) are purchased “as they are”. Sellers of goods have almost always included this clause into their written agreements in order to avoid claims arising due to defects in goods sold.
Although Section 55 of the Consumer Protection Act, 68 of 2008 (“the Act”) provides that a consumer has the right to goods that are of “good quality, in good working order and free from any defects”, the inclusion of a voetstoots clause in an agreement limits a consumer’s claim against defective goods. Section 56 of the Act further provides that there is an implied warranty or an expectation that goods being sold are free from any defects and are in good working order. Again, this limits the liability on the part of the supplier where there is a voetstoots clause in the agreement. This means that the Act does not protect consumers in situations where they were made aware of defects and they therefore, are forced to keep the defective goods with no legal recourse. Also remember that certain defects are plain to see, and it will be presumed, that the Buyer, where there is a Voetstoots clause, has seen and accepted these “obvious defects”.
Remember that old saying “Buyer beware”, well it fits in very appropriately here, in that the consumer should always inspect the goods, to satisfy themselves as to the condition of the goods, before signing any agreement. It is also becoming a fashionable thing, to obtain a “House Inspection Certificate”, for the sale of immovable property. This inspection, is when Professionals, come in, ahead of your signing the Offer to Purchase, to inspect the house for defects. They will then give you a report, to assist you in knowing what the condition of the house is. This will also assist you, in offering a fair price for the house, taking the defects into account.