Your consumer rights if there's a problem with a product or service you bought.​

The Consumer Guarantees Act (CGA) protects consumers by:

  • allowing you to seek repairs, replacements, or refunds when goods are faulty
  • setting minimum guarantees for all products and services.

All New Zealand businesses and people in trade must meet their responsibilities under the CGA. This means if you have a problem with a product or service, you can do something about it.

Consumer Guarantees Act (external external link) —

Your consumer rights in action

Find out more about how the CGA protects consumers.  

Visual guide: Your consumer rights in action

Download guide: Your consumer rights in action [PDF, 379 KB]

Listen: Your consumer rights

This audio clip outlines your key rights under the Consumer Guarantees Act:

Always ask for advice

Check with the retailer that the item you’re purchasing will do the job you need it for. If you then find that it does not work as described, you should seek a remedy based on it not being “fit for purpose”.

Product guarantees

You may be covered by the Consumer Guarantees Act (CGA) when you buy consumer products usually for personal or household use, but find they:

  • don't work
  • break too easily
  • don't do what you expected them to do.

Product guarantees apply to new or second-hand goods supplied by businesses within New Zealand. This covers all kinds of personal property, including software, animals, and plants.

Products not covered 

The CGA does not apply to:

  • commercial products — goods normally bought for business use, such as farm machinery, or work normally carried out for a business. This includes for resupply in trade or to produce, manufacture or repair other products in trade
  • money
  • buildings or parts of buildings attached to land for residential accommodation
  • products donated by a charity for your benefit
  • private sales — when you buy from someone not in trade, such as private sellers online and garage sales
  • products bought by auction or competitive tender (including those bid for online) before 17 June 2014.

Businesses can agree in writing that the CGA doesn't apply if personal or household products are bought for business use, for example, a vacuum cleaner for use in a shop.

If you bought an item online from an overseas seller, the Act might still apply but it becomes much more difficult to resolve issues and enforce your rights.

Online shopping

Your rights when buying products

Both new and second-hand consumer products must meet the guarantees of:

Find out if you can get a repair, replacement, or refund

cga campaign 2

Service guarantees

When a business supplies you with consumer services, such as subscription services, household plumbing, a haircut, or fixing your car, four consumer guarantees apply under the Consumer Guarantees Act (CGA).

Services include any rights, benefits or facilities provided by a supplier, even if they do so free of charge or you don’t have a contract with the supplier.

The CGA also specifies a wide range of contracts that are services, such as:

  • contracts for the performance of work
  • contracts of insurance
  • banking contracts
  • care or service of others or animals
  • supply of electricity, telecommunications, gas, water, and removal of wastewater.

Contracts and quotes for services can include extra rights and responsibilities and specific information for both you and the provider, for example, cancellations, pricing, timeframes. The provider or business cannot include conditions in the contract which erase your rights under the Act.

For more information on contracts, quotes, and estimates, including types of contracts and the language they use, see:

Contracts and sales agreements

Quotes and estimates

Your rights when buying services

All consumer services must be:

Electricity and gas services

Electricity and gas services must meet a specific guarantee of acceptable quality. This guarantee applies instead of the general CGA guarantees that apply to products and services.

Consumer guarantees for gas and electricity services

Services not covered 

The CGA does not apply to: 

  • commercial services — services normally bought for business use or work normally carried out for a business
  • private sales — when you buy from someone who is not in trade
  • contracts of service — the performance of work under an employment contract
  • work done by a charity for your benefit. 

Businesses can agree in writing that the CGA doesn't apply if personal or household services are bought for business use, such as carpet cleaning in a shop.

Find out if you can get a repair, replacement, or refund

IR MBIE CP 160513 72

Rights of businesses

Businesses who sell products or services have a right to:

  • Contract out (opt out) of the Consumer Guarantees Act (CGA) if the products or services they sell will be used for commercial or business purposes.
  • Choose how to price their products or services.
  • Refuse a consumer’s offer to buy a product or service, for example, if it’s the last item in stock or the service is no longer supplied.
  • Ask questions about and inspect any product or service a consumer says does not meet the CGA guarantees.
  • Decide to repair, replace, or refund a product, or fix a problem with a service, if the problem can be fixed – unless it's a serious problem, then you can tell them you want a refund or replacement, or cancel the service.
  • Refuse a refund or any other remedy if a consumer changes their mind about a product or service or damages the product after the sale.
  • Refuse to fix a problem with a service if the fault was caused by the consumer or events outside of the service provider’s control.
  • Be paid for products or services they sell that meet the CGA guarantees.

Businesses must not:

  • Knowingly sell faulty products or sub-standard services.
  • Delay if a customer complains — they must not fob you off or put off looking into it.
  • Refuse to deal with complaints about products that arrive damaged after being delivered. If it’s a valid complaint, they should offer a replacement or refund. They can then take it up with the courier, delivery company or insurance company directly so they're not left out of pocket.

Business guidance: Obligations under the Consumer Guarantees Act

The Consumer Guarantees Act (CGA) applies to consumers buying things in New Zealand, and businesses selling products or services in New Zealand.

A consumer is anyone who buys products or services that are ordinarily for personal or household use. The ordinary use may change over time, for example, computers are now commonly used for personal use.

Organisations and businesses who buy consumer products or services from other businesses are also entitled to protection under the Act, unless the seller has contracted out of the CGA.

The CGA applies to any business providing consumer products or services, including:

  • Tradespeople.
  • Professionals.
  • Online traders.
  • Importers.
  • Finance companies.
  • Retailers.

Online sellers who operate as businesses (such as on Trade Me) must make it clear to buyers that they are traders. This tells consumers that the Fair Trading Act and Consumer Guarantees Act apply.

The CGA applies to consumer products and services supplied by businesses, including if they're:

  • Received as a gift, free sample, or gift from a business.
  • Bought on credit.
  • Bought at auction, online, door to door or other types of sales.
  • Hired or leased.

Check you have a case

When guarantees don't apply

Consumer guarantees do not apply if you:

  • buy products or services privately
  • buy commercial products or services, such as industrial machinery and trucks
  • buy products for resale or to use in a manufacturing process
  • are in business and dealing with another business, and you have a written agreement to contract out of the CGA
  • got what you asked for but simply changed your mind
  • misused or altered a product in any way that caused the problem, for example, not following the manufacturer’s instructions for use
  • disposed of, lost, destroyed, or damaged products after delivery
  • knew of or were made aware of faults before you bought the product
  • relied on anyone else's advice or conduct that caused the problem other than the service provider or their agent.

Change of mind

If you buy something online from an overseas trader, the Act might still apply, but it becomes much more difficult to resolve issues and enforce your rights. 

Online shopping

Contracting out of the Consumer Guarantees Act

A retailer or supplier must not tell you the CGA does not apply or try to get you to sign a contract saying it doesn't apply.

The only exception is where products or services are for a business purpose and:

  • you as the buyer and the seller are in trade and agree to this
  • the agreement is in writing
  • it is fair and reasonable to do so.

A manufacturer can contract out of the spare parts and repair facilities guarantee, but only if consumers are told this in writing before they buy the products.

A business who tries to contract out of the CGA in any other circumstances commits an offence under the Fair Trading Act.

Misleading consumers about their rights(external link) — Commerce Commission

Even if the Consumer Guarantees Act doesn’t apply, other consumer laws may.

Fair Trading Act

Credit Contracts and Consumer Finance Act

Privacy Act

If things go wrong

How to work out whether you have a case to make a complaint about a product or service you’re unhappy with:

Check you have a case

Faulty products

If a business sells you a faulty product, you should first ask them to fix the problem. This might involve a refund, replacement, or repair.

Refund, replacement, repair

Faulty products

Every situation and product is different, but your options should include whether the product:

  • can be fixed and the fault is not serious
  • is serious or cannot be fixed or the retailer fails or refuses to act
  • has caused damage or extra loss (consequential loss).

Faulty services

If you have a problem with a service, contact the service provider to start with. Explain the problem and what you would like done about it.

Refund, replacement, repair

Poor quality or incomplete work

Common consumer issues