Your rights with local digital products
You have rights when you buy digital products from New Zealand businesses under the Consumer Guarantees Act (CGA). Software and licensed digital downloads -games, apps, movies, music and ebooks, come within the legal definition of “intangible goods” supplied by a business under the Consumer Guarantees Act (CGA).
“Check the website terms and conditions carefully before you buy digital products from overseas suppliers.”
These digital products must meet the consumer guarantees for products. Digital products must:
- be fit for their normal purpose;
- be safe
- be durable - last for a reasonable time
- have no defects
- be acceptable in look and finish.
If you have a problem with a digital product, you can ask the retailer to get it fixed. If the problem can’t be repaired, you can ask for a replacement or a full refund of the digital product. Alternately you can keep the product and ask for compensation for any drop in value of the product below what you paid for it.
Tip: Make sure the digital product itself is faulty and not just a problem with your device or internet connection.
Read Faulty products to find out more about your rights.
Your rights with overseas digital products
If you are buying digital products from an overseas retailer then your legal rights depend on their terms and conditions. You agree to these terms and conditions on the website when you complete a purchase online.
It pays to use reputable international retailers and websites who will usually have good customer service if there is an issue.
Read Shopping online to find out more about how to protect yourself and your rights with overseas retailers.
Your rights with private sellers
If you buy from a private seller online you may have limited rights, under the Contract and Commercial Law Act (CCLA) to get a full or partial refund or compensation for computer software only. The CCLA defines goods to only include computer software. This doesn’t include streaming and other forms of downloads or on demand services.
Read Private sales and second-hand goods to find out more about your rights.
Privacy and personal data
Before purchasing a digital product, especially a digital product with internet capability (an IoT product), it is important to understand if agreeing to the terms and conditions of sale means your data will be collected, shared and stored. Read the terms and conditions carefully to find out:
- What data is collected and if it will be shared
- How long the data will be kept for
- Who will have access to the data, how it will be used or disclosed, and how you go about requesting it be changed or deleted
- How securely the data is stored, and what happens if the data is hacked
- What happens with the data when you no longer use the product
Product terms and conditions
Carefully reading and understanding the terms and conditions you are agreeing to when you buy a product is especially important when your personal data is involved. Do your research before you buy a product, and if you have any questions about how your data will be used or shared, contact the product manufacturer before purchase.
Misleading or false statements by online traders
You have rights under the Fair Trading Act (FTA) when you buy digital products that are sold into New Zealand, whether or not the retailer is located here or overseas. Under the FTA, you have protection from:
- false or misleading representations or statements
- unsubstantiated claims that have no basis in fact
- unfair sales practices
- unfair contract terms, eg paying termination fees to cancel a contract after it automatically renews.
Copyright law and digital products
Copyright in digital content is protected by the Copyright Act(external link). Copyright protects original works including computer programs, music, movies and e-books. Copying all or a substantial part of any digital content without a licence from the copyright owner (eg illegally downloading a movie or music from the internet) is prohibited under the Copyright Act.
There are, however, some exceptions where copying is allowed for particular a purpose such as:
- “time shifting” where you record a television programme for the purpose of making a complaint or to watch it at a more convenient time. This doesn’t apply to “on demand” services
- “format shifting” where you copy a sound recording onto your different devices.
To find out more about copyright protection read the IPONZ(external link) website.