Consumer Protection

Fair Trading Act 1986
This Act will stop certain conduct and practises and therefore gives consumers full and complete information when buying products and services. The Act was introduced to stop certain conduct in trade and to provide for full disclosure of information relating to the supply of goods and services. It basically means that you cannot advertise falsely or deceive the public over what you are doing. It sets out a number of requirements that have to be followed when promoting goods and services for sale.

Some of the requirements include:

  • Goods must be available.
  • Ensures fair comparison of goods with others.
  • Makes out clearly whether the goods are new or used.
  • Provides full description of goods.
  • Ensures that advertisements are not misleading.
  • Ensures fair and accurate imaging of products.
  • Makes sure that test results or surveys are not incorrect.
  • States the country of origin.
  • Ensures that claims are legitimate through sponsorships and endorsements.
  • Makes sure that claims about the future are honest.
  • All estimates and quotes given should be as accurate as possible and not vary from the final price by more than 10%.

The Fair Trading Act is simply an Act that ensures businesses are promoting and selling their goods honestly and fairly.

Consumer Guarantees Act 1993
The Consumer Guarantees Act (CGA) sets out guarantees that goods and services must meet when sold by someone in trade - that is, a retailer or service person. The Act gives you rights when you buy faulty goods. It also ensures you have rights when work you pay to have done is not done properly.

The Consumer Guarantees Act section divides information into:

  • Your rights and remedies for faulty goods
  • Your rights and remedies for service failures
  • Your rights and remedies for consequential loss.

The Act covers

  • goods of a type that people ordinarily buy for personal or household use, such as clothes, washing machines, cars
  • services of a type that people ordinarily have carried out for a personal or household purpose, such as car repairs, haircuts, dry cleaning, painting or work done by a lawyer
  • New and used goods bought on or after 1 April 1994.

From 8 July 2003, the Consumer Guarantees Act applies to electricity, gas, water and computer software. From this date, the Consumer Guarantees Act also applies to services relating to the supply of electricity, telecommunications, gas, water, and the removal of wastewater.

The Act does not cover

  • goods bought by auction or by tender
  • goods bought from a private seller
  • commercial goods - goods of a type that are ordinarily bought for use in offices, factories or farms may be covered by the Sale of Goods Act. The Sale of Goods Act may also cover those goods bought before the date the Consumer Guarantees Act became effective.
  • commercial services - services of a kind that are ordinarily supplied to offices, factories or farms - eg, top-dressing, commercial property leases, commercial building maintenance, livestock transportation.

The Act sets out guarantees which are fixed by law and in most areas nothing that the manufacturer or the trader says or does can take them away from you. A trader can, in some circumstances contract out of this Act where the goods are sold to a business. More information on each guarantee is available in the faulty goods and failure of services sections.