Consumer Guarantees Act 1993 - Your Rights
The Consumer Guarantees Act 1993 ('the Act') provides guarantees for consumers on goods and services ordinarily acquired for personal, domestic and household use.
The Act also applies to gifted goods and services. The Act imposes on retailers, manufacturers and service providers automatic guarantees ensuring that:
- goods are of acceptable quality,
- goods and services are fit for the purpose they were acquired for,
- goods and services match any advertising/promotion claim(s) made by the sales consultant,
- ownership of the good must pass to the consumer once it is purchased,
- goods and services must be of a reasonable price if no price has previously been agreed upon,
- services are performed with reasonable care and skill,
- services are completed within a reasonable period of time.
Manufacturers have the added obligation of ensuring spare parts and repairs are available for a reasonable time after purchase and any written warranties are honoured. No trader can contract out of the Act unless the trader is supplying to a business.
If a defect is discovered in a good or service, and it is relatively small, the retailer can choose to either repair, replace or refund the affected good or service provided the fault is remedied within a reasonable timeframe. If the defect cannot be restored in a timely manner or the defect is substantial, the consumer has the right to reject the product or service.
Substantial defects in good and services are where:
- the goods and services would not have been acquired by a reasonable consumer had they known of the nature and extent of the failure, or
- the goods are significantly different from the description, sample or demonstration provided by the supplier, or
- the goods and services are substantially unfit for the purpose, or the product generated through the service is of such a nature and quality that any particular results cannot be expected from it, or
- the goods and services are unsafe.
In rejecting the good or service, the consumer is entitled to choose a replacement of a similar type or value, or they can demand a full refund of the purchase price. Any refund must be in cash, cheque or credit card reversal. The Act also allows consumers to cancel service contracts and claim for compensation for any decrease in value of the product or service.
Consumers can also claim for losses that are reasonably foreseeable and are causally linked to the breach of a guarantee. For example, if a new lawnmower is faulty, the consumer can claim for lawn-mowing services or hiring a replacement lawn-mower while the original mower is being repaired. In situations where a retailer is not co-operative or has ceased to trade, consumers can lodge a complaint to the manufacturer.
Consumers can also direct their concerns to the Disputes Tribunal, the Commerce Commission or any relevant industry body complaints service.
So next time a retailer tells you "we have a no returns/refund policy", politely remind them their policy is unlawful. Even if the items are on sale/clearance, they are subject to all the guarantees provided under the Act.
“Joy, we cannot thank you enough for your help with our purchase! You have been wonderful to deal with and so proactive (and patient with my numerous emails). We will be visiting NZ in April so will make sure we drop in to thank you in person.”
“I have used Turner Hopkins for my legal services for over eight years. I have always found their level of service excellent and their work to a very high standard. I have used various lawyers at their firm for various businesses I have been involved with and have always had very positive experiences. I would highly recommend them.”
“I can't speak highly enough of Jenny. She got everything done in a timely manner and when my ex-husband threw a spanner in the works at the eleventh hour she got the required documentation to his lawyers and settlement back on track.”
“I have struggled with different legal firms over the years, but over the past few years I have engaged with Turner Hopkins with various requirements from personal relating to wills, family trust, property settlements and contracts through to commercial engagements including employment advice, commercial lease agreements and general legal advice. I have engaged with a number of the people in the firm and always found them professional, punctual in their responses and very sound in the advice provided.”
“To Michael Robinson – I wanted to thank you and your colleagues for many years of excellent service to the Bank. You have an outstanding business that has proved to be one of the most reliable and ethical businesses that Collections have dealt with in the almost 9 years I was with the Bank.”