Buying products and COVID-19

All businesses can open at this alert level if they can do so safely. Businesses should help people keep track of their movements by using the Ministry of Health QR code for contact tracing, or keeping a diary to keep track of where they’ve been.

​When you shop in-store, you're protected by New Zealand's consumer laws.

Your consumer rights

Any purchases made from traders in New Zealand are covered by our consumer laws, including the Consumer Guarantees Act (CGA) and the Fair Trading Act (FTA). These laws require businesses to do things like:

  • sell products and services of acceptable quality
  • be truthful in advertising and other descriptions
  • meet product safety rules.

If something goes wrong, it's your right to ask for a repair, replacement or refund.

Consumer laws

When shopping in a store, it's a good idea to:

  • think about what you need a product or service to do
  • take your time deciding — you don't have to agree on the spot
  • ask questions, do some research, read product reviews
  • shop around — ask for a better price if you see the same product elsewhere at a cheaper price
  • ask for a receipt and your copy of any contract — read it carefully before you sign anything
  • save receipts and other documents.

Guide to buying smart

Negotiating prices

The price you pay is the price you have agreed to, unless you question it at the time. Most shops have fixed prices. You can try to negotiate, but it's up to each business to decide if they want to change the price.

You can try to negotiate a price but it's up to the business whether they want to negotiate or not. If there's been a genuine pricing mistake, the law doesn't require the business to sell it to you for the mistaken amount.

If the price doesn't include GST, this needs to be clearly stated.

Negotiate a price


If things go wrong

If you have an issue with a product you bought, visit or phone the store you bought it from to discuss the problem. It's best to resolve the issue directly with the retailer if you can.

The store does not have to give a refund, repair or replacement if you:

  • changed your mind
  • caused the problem either by accident or on purpose
  • didn’t follow advice about use or care, eg washing instructions
  • went to someone else for repairs first.

How to complain

If you can't agree a solution with the retailer, you might want to make a claim at the Disputes Tribunal.

How to make a claim(external link) — Disputes Tribunal

Example — Wrong price tag

Rosie finds a shirt she likes on a shop's sale rack. The sale rack has a sign saying "under $100". When she goes to pay for it, the sales assistant says it's $120. Rosie questions this, saying it had been on the sale rack. But the sales assistant says it had been put in the wrong place — it costs $120. She decides not to buy the shirt.