What to do about unsafe or recalled products, and your legal rights.

Products must be safe to use

The products available from New Zealand businesses (those who import, manufacture, supply and sell products) must be safe to use. Suppliers are responsible for the safety of their products and for putting it right if their products are found to have safety issues, ie recalling the products.

You are also responsible for

  • using products safely so you don’t hurt yourself or others.
  • keeping your products in a safe condition, ie having the maintenance and servicing done
  • acting on recalls once you become aware of them to get the issue sorted.

There are a number of laws in place to help ensure that products available in New Zealand are safe.

One of the key elements to keeping safe is the recalling of unsafe products. To get safety information that can help you protect your family, whanau, friends and others visit the Product Recalls website (external link)  to see recalls which include general goods, vehicles and medicines.

Know your rights

The system protecting you

In New Zealand there are several laws that deal with product safety. How and where the laws apply varies depending on the type of product and where it is used. Different government agencies look after the different laws.

Product type and responsible government agency

This list outlines the various product areas and the agencies that look after them:

Faulty hearing aids can cause deaf people to not hear smoke alarms in the event of a house fire. Product safety is important.

Your rights under the Consumer Guarantees Act

If you purchased a product as a general consumer and it has a safety issue you have rights under the Consumer Guarantees Act (CGA). These rights apply to recalled products as well so you can negotiate with the supplier for a different solution, one that works for you.

Read Faulty products to find out more.

For more information on how to keep yourself and your family safe, see:

Note: New Zealand law doesn’t apply overseas, so if you bring in products for yourself you need to be careful. They may not meet our safety requirements and it may not be possible to get the supplier to fix an issue.

Contact the supplier

As a consumer you have rights under the Consumer Guarantees Act (CGA) if a product has safety issues. Take the product back to the supplier for a remedy or log a complaint with them. Complaining and taking products back helps suppliers become aware of safety issues and identify where a recall may be needed.

For more information on your CGA rights go to Faulty products or services.

If you need health advice call Healthline 0800 611 116 or see your doctor.

For emergencies call 111.

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: Product safety


Need more help?

Contact us for more guidance.

Regulated products

Brandy’s son fell off his new bicycle and was injured when the frame snapped. Brandy should report it to the Commerce Commission (external link) , and complain to the supplier using her rights under the Consumer Guarantees Act (CGA).

Food

Kirsty was spreading jam on her toast and there were sharp pieces of plastic in it. She looked in the jar and could see more plastic bits in the jam. Kirsty should report it to the Ministry for Primary Industries (external link) , and complain to the supplier using her rights under the CGA.

General consumer products

Frank hurt his back when his dining chair collapsed without warning. It was less than a year old. Frank should report it to the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment – Trading Standards, and complain to the supplier using his rights under the CGA.