Know your rights
For all uninvited direct sales of consumer products or services from a supplier in trade, you have rights under the Consumer Guarantees Act (CGA) and the Fair Trading Act (FTA). The FTA has specific rules for cancelling sales and for what traders must tell you.
Under the CGA, you have minimum guarantees if:
- the products or services are faulty or don’t match their description
- your products are delivered late
- your products are lost or damaged in transit
- the delivery or freight costs are more expensive than stated.
Under the FTA, you have protection from false or misleading representations or statements, unsubstantiated claims and unfair sales practices.
You must get a written, plain English copy of your sales contract within five working days.
Cancelling a sale and what traders must tell you
You may cancel an uninvited direct sale and get a full refund for any reason within 5 working days from the day after you sign the contract. This is called the ‘cooling-off’ period.
You must take reasonable care of the products for 10 working days after you cancel. If youdon't, you may have to pay for them if they are lost, destroyed or damaged during this time, unless this was outside your control.
Once you’ve been repaid, you should allow the seller to take any products that you bought under the agreement from your address at any reasonable time that the seller requests.
If you agree to a sales contract over the phone, traders must give you a written copy of the sales agreement within 5 working days from the day after the agreement is made. The contract must be clear and easy to understand and set out:
- the products or services
- both parties’ names, and contact details
- your right to cancel
- the total price or how it will be calculated.
If the trader doesn’t comply with these disclosure requirements, the contract can’t be enforced and the trader will have committed an offence.
Read the Commerce Commission’s factsheet on Door-to-door sales and telemarketing sales(external link) for more information.
Products and services you didn’t order
If you receive products and services you didn’t order and you want them: You can pay for them and keep them or the service output. You’re protected by the Consumer Guarantees Act if they are faulty.
If you receive products and services you didn’t order and don’t want them: You can tell the trader that, or do nothing. Suppliers have 10 working days to collect the items, which you must make reasonably available in an obvious place, eg under cover on the doorstep. If they don’t collect the items, you can keep them for free after the 10 days have passed. During this time you also have to look after the items, otherwise you may have to pay if they are lost or damaged.
You can also keep the products if you weren’t told about your rights and their obligations at the time of delivery.
But you can’t keep the products for free if you know they weren’t intended for you, eg if they were addressed to someone else or you were unreasonable about collection.
If work is done without your prior agreement: You can cancel after the work has been done and you don’t have to pay the trader or business that did the work. If your property has been changed or damaged, they have to return it to the condition it was in before for free.
Pro-forma invoicing: Traders can’t invoice you when they supply you with products or services without your consent for them, unless they make it clear that you do not have to pay.
Inertia selling: Inertia selling is when you are sent products or provided services you did not order and are told that unless you expressly rejected them, you are now obliged to pay. This is illegal.
Read the Commerce Commission’s factsheet on Pro-forma invoicing, inertia selling and other unfair sales techniques(external link) to find out more.
Delivered products damaged or lost in transit
Parcels delivered by NZ Post are covered by the New Zealand Post Act and the Postal Users Guide. Visit NZ Post’s website(external link) for more information. For freight delivered by a courier company, you will need to check your contract with them to claim compensation for products lost or damaged in transit.
Read Moving and transporting goods to find out more.
When you browse online, retailers can collect lots of personal data without you knowing by using cookies, even if you don’t buy anything. Your privacy settings on the internet can be set to choose which cookies are stored. You can also opt out on the website. The Privacy Act 1993 prevents the use of your personal details without your consent.
Spam is electronic commercial messages that are sent to you unrequested. For anti-spam measures, the Unsolicited Electronic Messages Act 2007 may apply.
See the Department of Internal Affairs website(external link) for more information.
Contracting out of the Fair Trading Act (FTA)
Traders can’t try to get around their responsibilities under the FTA when they supply products or services to you. If you are in business, a trader can contract out, but only if both parties agree in writing and it is fair and reasonable to rely on this agreement.
Read the Commerce Commission’s factsheet on Contracting out of the Fair Trading Act(external link).