Find out your rights and obligations for repairs that are covered by the Consumer Guarantees Act or for repairs that aren’t covered, which you have to pay for.

Repairs to faulty consumer products or services

Faulty products or services for ordinary household use should be fixed by the business that supplied them. The retailer, manufacturer or service provider for the product or service is bound by the Consumer Guarantees Act. There may be a charge to check the products before repairs are done. You may have to pay this as long as you are advised of this charge beforehand, such as in the terms and conditions.  Otherwise the business can't charge you for those repairs.

Get quotes before using repair services

For all other repairs, get a quote rather than an estimate for the work. An estimate is not fixed and the price could go up during the job. A written quote is binding as long as you don’t make changes to the job’s requirements. It is best to look for several quotes from different businesses.

Give the repairer a price limit if you don’t know what needs repairing. It is better to be specific, or ask them to tell you what work is required and how much it will cost before you agree.

Note: The cheapest quote does not necessarily mean the best value or quality of work.


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Know your rights

Getting repair work done

When you get something repaired, be specific about what work you want done, so you don’t have to pay for anything extra. If extra work is done, the repairer may undo it as long as they don’t damage your property. If unsure, get an assessment and a written quote first. You may have to pay to get the products inspected and a quote prepared, as long as this charge is clearly displayed.

You can get a refund and compensation under the Fair Trading Act, if a repairer misleads you by claiming:

  • work needs to be done when it is unnecessary
  • they belong to a trade association or have some industry approval and this is untrue.

Getting repairs on faulty products or services

Return faulty consumer products or services to the retailer or supplier as soon as you discover a problem. Unless you misused or damaged the product, you will get free repairs under the Consumer Guarantees Act (CGA).

Read more about Faulty products and Faulty or unsatisfactory services.

If the faulty products or services are not covered by the CGA, you will have to pay. You may also be able to claim on your insurance. The repair services themselves are covered by the CGA, unless it is for a business purpose.

Disputes over the cost of repairs

If you get into a dispute over the cost of repairs, the repairer can keep your items until you pay. You might not want to pay the full amount because you didn’t ask for some of the repairs, or because you don’t think the repair was good enough. You can try negotiating a lower price with the repairer or you can agree to pay part or the full amount to get the item back and then go to the Disputes Tribunal to decide on the complaint.

But if they don’t hear from you after two months, they can sell the item under a repairer’s lien under the Contract and Commercial Law Act.

Before they sell them, they have to give you one week’s notice. They can send you a letter if they know your address or they can put an ad in a local newspaper including:

  • how much money is owing
  • a description of the item
  • the time and place of the sale and the name of the auctioneer.

The repairer can use the sales proceeds to pay for repairs and the cost of advertising and sales. Any extra money has to be given to the Registrar of the nearest District Court. The money is held there until you pick it up.

If a product or service is faulty, contact the retailer or service provider before you get the problem fixed by someone else.

If things go wrong

Contact the retailer or service provider

For consumer products or services that are covered by the CGA, go back to the retailer or service provider as soon as you discover the problem. Explain what the problem is and how you would like it to be resolved. Bring proof of purchase such as a receipt or bank statement, or the contract for services.

Read more about Faulty products and Faulty or unsatisfactory services.

For other repairs, if you don’t want to pay the full amount, first try to negotiate a lower price with the repairer. Tell the repairer in writing that you are paying ‘without prejudice’, which means that you do not accept the amount charged.

Services like repairs are covered by the Consumer Guarantees Act. If the repair job isn’t good enough, you can ask the repairer to fix it or to give your money back.

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

Extra repairs you didn’t ask for

If you ask a mechanic to just replace the brake pads on your car but the mechanic also replaces the rotors without asking you, you don’t have to pay for the extra work.

Unauthorised use of your car while in for repairs

When you leave items for repair such as your car at your local garage, you only authorise them to use the car to make the repairs, eg to test-drive it. The mechanics should not use your car for joy-riding or private use. If you can prove they have done so, you may get compensation.

Repairer’s lien

Abbey leaves some work suits at her local drycleaners for cleaning and repairs. She does not get a price beforehand. A week later she gets a call to say her clothes are ready for collection. She is unhappy with the cost of drycleaning and quality of the repairs, and refuses to pay the bill. The drycleaners will not release her clothes until full payment is made. She pays without prejudice and advises that she may dispute the bill in the Disputes Tribunal.