Consumers Rights

Your Rights as Consumers
Under the Consumer Guarantee Act your consumer rights are expressed in a series of guarantees that a seller automatically makes to you when you buy any goods or services that are ordinarily purchased for personal use.

These are:

Involving Goods
Retailers and other suppliers must guarantee their goods are:

  • Of acceptable quality
  • Fit for the purpose that they were bought for
  • Matches the description given in advertisements or sales brochures or by sales staff
  • Match the sample or demonstration model
  • Be owned by the consumer once purchased
  • Be a reasonable price if there is no price on it or no pricing formula has been agreed to

Manufacturers in the USA have to guarantee that:

  • Spare parts and repair facilities will be available for a reasonable time
  • They will honour any written guarantee that comes with their products
  • The goods are of acceptable quality
  • The goods match their description

Involving Services

Service providers must guarantee that their service will:

  • Will be performed with reasonable care and skill
  • Will be fit for the particular purpose they were supplied for
  • Will be completed within a reasonable time
  • Will be a reasonable price where no price is shown or pricing formula agreed on

What is Acceptable Quality?

Acceptable quality means goods that are:

  • Do what they are made to do
  • Are acceptable in appearance and finish
  • Are free from minor defects
  • Are safe and durable

The terminology, ‘reasonable' and ‘acceptable' used in the Act is deliberately open ended. This is because what is reasonable and what is acceptable is not always clear and sometimes has to be referred to those with the expertise to make a ruling in this regard.

The Transactions that the Act Applies To
The Consumer Guarantee Act will protect you if you buy goods and services as a consumer. You are known as a consumer if:

  • You buy goods or services from a supplier and those goods or services are ordinarily bought for personal, domestic or household use or consumption.
  • You don't buy the goods or services to be re supplied to others in trade
  • You don't buy the goods or services to be consumed in manufacturing or business process
  • And in the case of goods, you do not buy them for the purpose of repairing or trading them for other goods or other property.

This means that goods and services sold to a business are not covered under the Act. They will however be covered if they are the type of goods or service normally supplied for personal, domestic or household use.

What to Do If Goods Don't Comply With the Act
If goods don't comply with the Act then you can either get the problem fixed (require the supplier to fix the problem within a reasonable time) or you can get a cash refund or cash replacement, or keep the goods, but get a reduction in price.

What about Services That Don't Comply With the Act?
If services you have received don't comply with the Act, you can either:

  • Get the problem fixed (get the supplier to fix the problem within a reasonable time).
  • You can fix the problem at your own expense and recover the cost from the supplier.
  • Cancel the contract and claim your money back.

If it is a serious problem that cannot be fixed, you can cancel the contract and claim the money back or claim damages from the supplier as compensation.

How Do I Enforce My Rights?
If a supplier or manufacturer fails to fulfil their obligations under the Act you can enforce your rights by taking it to the ADR or the courts.