Know your rights
These are simply businesses selling consumer products and services directly to consumers. They include international websites like Amazon and Priceline, which manage online retailers. If they are based in New Zealand, you have rights under the Consumer Guarantees Act. If they are based overseas, your rights are more limited under the Fair Trading Act.
Read Shopping online to find out more.
These are emerging as the most important commercial internet applications and have the potential to transform the way business is conducted.
A B2B e-marketplace can be thought of as a virtual space where transactional activities (including searching, sourcing, negotiating/bidding and ordering) occur online through the support of the internet.
Many structures are possible. Some B2Bs focus on a particular product across many industries, others on the supply chain in one particular industry. B2Bs may also be owned by the organisations who use them or by independent organisations.
As these are business-to-business transactions, the Consumer Guarantees Act will usually not apply.
Read Faulty goods and services bought by businesses to find out more.
Forming electronic contracts
With emails and texts, a contract is formed when the acceptance email or text arrives at the seller’s stated email address or mobile number, rather than when it is actually read or sent, under the Contract and Commercial Law Act.
A contract is formed when the email or text accepting an offer arrives at the stated email address or mobile number, not when it is read or sent.
It is more difficult to be specific about when a contract is formed with an online purchase on an interactive website. Usually a buyer will click ‘Submit’ after entering payment details; the website will display an order confirmation page and an email confirming the purchase is sent. It is still unclear whether the webpage or the email confirmation is the ‘acceptance’.
The supplier’s terms and conditions may include a term stating when the contract is formed. It is a good idea to check these before buying.
For online auctions such as Trade Me or eBay, the contract is formed when the time limit set by the seller is reached and the highest bidder has met the reserve price (if there is one). The highest bidder is bound to complete the purchase at that point.
Note: Be wary of scams such as fraudulent emails asking for your personal data or account information.
Read Is this a scam? to find out more.