Consumer Information Standards set out specific information you must be given about products or services that are regulated by the government.

Protecting you from false information

Reliable information about products or services is important to help you decide which product or service is best suited to your needs. The current laws on consumer information give you some protection from false information.

There are three main sources of information:

  • advertising
  • labels and documents that come with the products or services
  • what the business tells you about those products or services.

Consumer Information Standards (CIS) apply to all businesses who import, manufacture, supply and sell particular products or services that are available in New Zealand. The CIS give you specific information about those regulated products. Any one product may have more than one standard that applies.

All labelling and documents that goes with products and what the business tells you about those products and services must comply with the Fair Trading Act (FTA). The FTA bans businesses from false or misleading conduct, eg 'Made in New Zealand' means the products must actually be made here.

You also have rights under the Consumer Guarantees Act (CGA) if those products or services don’t meet any of the CGA guarantees, eg if the products don’t match their description or the sample provided.

Know your rights

Consumer Information Standards (CIS)

A CIS may require certain information to be disclosed to you. That information includes the kind, grade, quantity, origin or supply of products or services. A CIS can also specify:

  • how this information must be obtained or verified before it is disclosed
  • the way in which that information is disclosed.

Consumer Information Standards can help you to choose between different products, eg Made in New Zealand.

There are five current information standards in place (made into regulations) that cover:

These all relate to products and there are no information standards relating to services yet. CIS are regulations and failure to comply with a CIS is a breach of the Fair Trading Act.

See also:

Fair Trading Act and Consumer Guarantees Act

All labelling and packaging or other documents that come with a product that you bought in New Zealand must comply with the FTA ban against misleading or deceptive conduct generally.

The same applies for any advertising or what the business tells you during the sale about those products or services. The advertising or statements made must be accurate or you can go to court to seek a remedy such as a refund under the FTA.

You also have rights to cancel the contract and get remedies such as a refund or compensation for extra losses under the Consumer Guarantees Act (CGA) if there is a difference between the actual quality of the product or service and what you were told or any information provided.
For example if a particular product is advertised as being a two meter long table then the product must meet that description.

This would also include a breach of the CIS if it means one of the CGA guarantees is not met.

See also:

Contact the retailer or manufacturer

As a consumer you have rights under the Consumer Guarantees Act (CGA) if a product does not meet any relevant Consumer Information Standards or the Fair Trading Act ban on false or misleading conduct and advertising.

Go back to the retailer or manufacturer to sort out the problem first.

Read Resolve a problem to find out more.

Next steps

If you are unable to resolve your issue directly with the retailer, manufacturer or service provider, our Resolve It tool has information to help you take the next steps. These may include going to the Disputes Tribunal or District Court.

Resolve it: Faulty products and services

Need more help?

Contact us for more guidance.

Common situations

Clothing and textiles

Kirsty buys a jersey that the label says is made in New Zealand. She is not happy with the quality and goes back to the retailer. She finds out the jersey is actually made in Vietnam and distributed in New Zealand. This label breaches the Consumer Information Standard on country of origin labels. She complains to the retailer and returns the jersey under the Consumer Guarantees Act. She should also report this breach to the Commerce Commission(external link).

Used motor vehicles

Adam buys a used Hyundai car from a dealer. It does not come with a Consumer Information Notice (CIN). The car has been imported from Australia. The dealer states that the car has been through an extensive inspection process before it was imported and should be sound and reliable. Adam does not get the car independently inspected by a mechanic. Six months later Adam finds out from his mechanic that the car has previously been in an accident and has had extensive repairs. He is unhappy with the car as it still serious mechanical issues that need fixing. Adam should take the car back to the dealer and ask for a refund of his money under the Consumer Guarantees Act. As the dealer has not provided him with a CIN and the car is not as described he can also report the dealer to the Commerce Commission.