The new Consumer Protection Act comes into effect on Friday (01 April 2011)
According to an article on News24, Consumers' safety net
, this act also applies to the cancellation of advanced bookings/reservations.
Another example of how the law would help consumers is the regulation around the cancellation of an advance reservation, booking or order.
"A consumer reserves accommodation at a hotel for two nights. On the day of the reservation, the consumer changes his or her mind as the hotel around the corner is offering a cheaper rate. The hotel then charges a 100% cancellation fee and the consumer is unhappy with the fee charged.
"In terms of the act, a consumer does have the right to cancel a reservation. However, the business will similarly have the right to charge a cancellation fee. The act however introduces the concept of a 'reasonable cancellation fee'."
The "reasonable fee" will be decided on based on the nature of the goods or device, the length of notice of cancellation, the reasonable potential of finding an alternative consumer and the general practice of the industry.
"As such, what constitutes a reasonable cancellation fee will depend on the merits of each case and the percentage of a cancellation fee that will be levied must be carefully considered by a business.
Based on this, is SANParks going to have a second look at the rules applied for online bookings, for example?
· All new reservations made online will require immediate and full payment by credit card. If this is not possible, please use one of the alternative booking methods.
· Note that any downgrading of a reservation made online will result in a forfeiture of reservation payments made that is equal to the difference in value of the reservation before and after you changed your booking.
· Note that the cancellation of a reservation made online will result in a full forfeiture of all payments made for that reservation