Hammonds Law

The Consumer Guarantees Act and Us.

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You may have heard of the Consumer Guarantees Act 1993, but you may be unsure of how it operates. Parliament protects you and I as consumers by requiring suppliers to refund the purchase price of faulty goods or services, or to repair or replace faulty goods. The law sets minimum standards that businesses have to meet.

In a nutshell, the Act applies when we buy products or services that are ordinarily acquired for personal, domestic or household use. For such products, the law imposes automatic guarantees. Some of these are that the goods must:

  • Be of an acceptable quality – durable, safe, fit for purpose, free from defects, and acceptable in look or finish;
  • Match a description, sample or model that was shown to you;
  • Arrive on time and in good condition, or within a reasonable timeframe if you didn’t agree on a time;
  • Have spare parts and repairs available from the manufacturer – unless you were told when you bought the product that these are not available.

It is important to be aware that the Act may not always apply. For example, it doesn’t apply when you buy products or services privately, such as at a garage sale or off Trade Me where the seller isn’t a trading business.

If things do go wrong with a product or service, the remedies are designed to be quick, direct and consumer-friendly. Where the problem is minor, the retailer can choose to either repair, replace or refund.

If the problem is significant or it can’t be fixed quickly, you have other remedies under the Act. One example is that you can reject the product and choose either a replacement of a similar type and value, or you can demand a full refund of the purchase price. The supplier can’t insist that the refund be in the form of a store credit.

If you have acquired faulty goods or services and you want to know what your rights are, we would be more than happy to discuss this with you. Contact Patrick at Hammonds Law on 09 439 7099 or patrick@hammondslaw.co.nz.

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