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Q. If there is a dispute between the parties to a contract, or for services inadequately provided or defective product supplied, do I have to sue or are there other alternatives?

A: The answer is yes, you do have a number of alternatives. The first step is to find out whether there is an ombudsman governing your industry, or failing that, whether you and your matter qualify for submission to the Consumer Goods & Services Ombudsman or Commissioner.

Failing either of these two options, you can also consider the following:

  1. Negotiation: This would simply be a commercial discussion between the parties involved.
  2. Facilitation: In this scenario, a third unbiased mutually agreed upon third party guides the meeting and keep everyone ‘cool, calm and collected’.
  3. Mediation: This is a slightly more formal process to facilitation, but the same principles apply and the aim is again for a quick and practical solution.
  4. Arbitration: This route is the most formal, and prescribed, agreed-upon rules apply. It is not cheap, but a big benefit is that it is private.

 

DISCLAIMER: Each case depends on its own facts & merits. The above does not constitute advice. Independent advice should be obtained in all instances.

Have a legal question? Ask Louis-the-Lawyer!

Send your questions for Advocate Louis Nel to pippa@indpendentwriting.co.za. We will respond to all your questions even if it takes time and additional research, so please be patient. However we will give preference to the most pressing and commonly asked ones.