Guidance for consumers on Cyclone Gabrielle

While businesses are free to set their own prices, there has been some public concern about price increases on goods and services at this time. If you feel you’re being asked to pay too much Report price increases on Price Watch — Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment

Brought to you in association with

Privacy Commissioner Financial Markets Authority Commerce Commission

Rules on pricing, privacy, product safety and correct measurements, plus requirements for vehicle traders and financial service providers.

These laws apply equally to established bricks-and-mortar businesses, internet traders and temporary operations like pop-up shops. 

Privacy Act

Who it applies to

Any person or business that collects, uses and stores personal information. This might be online via your website, or in person to send invoices.


To make sure personal information is kept safe and secure.

What you must do

  • Only collect what you need for business purposes, eg name and contact details. 
  • Tell people how, when and why you are collecting their information. This includes using cookies on your website.
  • Tell people what will happen if they don’t give you their personal information. 
  • Keep their personal information safe.
  • Only use it if you are reasonably sure it’s accurate and up to date.
  • Let people see their information and correct any mistakes.

Do not

  • Ask for more information than you need.
  • Let personal information be leaked, hacked or found in any other way.
  • Keep information longer than you need it — or are legally required to keep it.
  • Pass someone’s details on to another business or organisation without their permission.

How the Act is enforced

If you break any of these rules, even accidentally, a customer may make a complaint under the Privacy Act.

How to avoid a complaint(external link) — Privacy Commissioner

Information privacy principles(external link) — Privacy Commissioner

Avoid spamming customers

Spam can be unwanted emails, text messages, instant messages or faxes. Sending it is illegal. To make sure what you send to customers isn’t spam, see the business.govt.nz website.

Anti-spamming rules(external link) — business.govt.nz

Commerce Act

Who it applies to

Any person carrying on business for gain or selling goods or services. This includes retailers, service providers, manufacturers, distributors and importers.


  • To promote competition in markets for the long-term benefit of New Zealand consumers. 
  • To prevent anti-competitive behaviour that results in higher prices, lower quality, more inefficiency, and less innovation.

What you must do

  • Set your prices and production levels independently without collaborating with your competitors. 
  • Cut short any attempt by a competitor to discuss pricing, bids for contracts, dividing up customers, restricting output or acting to reduce competition. 
  • Ensure that trade association and industry meetings are not used to for anticompetitive purposes.
  • Think carefully about who your competitors are, including any sub-contractors.
  • Exemptions apply in some cases, eg collaborative activities, vertical supply contracts, joint buying and promotion, partnerships, exporting, intellectual property, or restraint of trade when buying a business or a key employee resigns.


Do not

As a business you must not engage in anti-competitive behaviour. Do not:

  • Agree prices, discounts or any other component of your price with your competitors as this is price fixing.
  • Agree with your competitors to restrict output or set production quota.
  • Agree to share or divide up certain markets or customers between competitors.
  • Agree industry standards or rules that exclude new competitors.
  • Supply products with a minimum resale price, known as "resale price maintenance". But setting a “recommended retail price” is fine as it lets businesses you supply set their own prices.

How the Act is enforced

Customers and businesses can make a complaint about anti-competitive conduct to Commerce Commission, or take a case to court themselves.

Avoiding anti-competitive behaviour(external link)  — Commerce Commission

What is a cartel(external link) — Commerce Commission

Rules for motor vehicle sellers

Who it applies to

Any person or business that buys, sells, imports or auctions vehicles, including online sales and vehicles sold at car markets or fairs. As a vehicle trader, you must register and meet other requirements of the Motor Vehicle Sales Act — and other consumer laws.

Who needs to register(external link) — Motor Vehicle Traders Register


To make sure customers get what they pay for and know what their rights are if there’s a fault with the vehicle.

What you must do

  • Register as a vehicle trader if you intend to be in the business of motor trading, including if you sell more than six — or import more than three — vehicles in any 12 months.
  • Comply with consumer laws that apply to all retailers, eg Consumer Guarantees Act and Fair Trading Act.
  • If selling second-hand vehicles, display a consumer information notice (CIN) in its window or online listing. A range of information must be included, eg:
    • dealer’s name and registration number 
    • cash price including GST 
    • make, model, year and engine capacity 
    • any debts owing — also known as security interests.
  • Give each buyer a copy of the sales agreement.
  • Keep your copies of sales agreements, either electronic or on paper, for at least six years.
  • Auctioneers must tell prospective buyers of any debts owing on the vehicle — also known as security interests.

Do not

  • Sell vehicles commercially if you are not registered.
  • Tamper with odometers or other offences.
  • Give false or misleading information.
  • Sell a second-hand vehicle without a consumer information notice (CIN) — and car market operators must check sellers are doing this.

How the rules are enforced

The Registrar of Motor Vehicle Traders monitors transfers of motor vehicle ownership, in partnership with NZTA and NZ Customs. The Registrar also investigates alleged odometer tampering and unregistered traders. Commerce Commission handles reports of missing or misleading CINs. Customer complaints that cannot be resolved with the trader, eg through a refund or repair, can go to the Motor Vehicle Disputes Tribunal.

Motor Vehicle Traders Register(external link) — Trading Standards

Motor Vehicle Disputes Tribunal(external link) — Ministry of Justice

Motor Vehicle Disputes Tribunal Annual Reports

Weights and Measures Act

Who it applies to

Businesses that sell, make, process, pack or import goods to be sold by quantity. Examples include:

  • coffee beans by kilo 
  • firewood by cubic metre 
  • potting mix by litre
  • railway sleepers by number.

Goods sold by weight, volume, length or number must be:

  • accurately weighed, measured or counted
  • clearly labeled with the correct net quantity — this means the product itself, not product + packaging.

Equipment and processes used to weigh or measure goods must be accurate. The Act also specifies which measuring units, eg kilogram, metre, mililitre, must be used for certain types of goods.


To make sure customers get what they pay for, and businesses sell correct quantities.

What you must do

  • Regularly check accuracy of weighing/measuring equipment.
  • Make sure packages contain at least the quantity stated on the label — but not too much more, or you’ll lose money on each sale.

Do not

  • Include the weight of packaging when measuring.
  • Use imperial units, eg a pound of cheese, 20 feet of fencing.

How the Act is enforced

Trading Standards officials might visit new businesses to offer advice, or carry out inspections in response to a suspected problem, eg after a complaint. If your weighing or measuring equipment is inaccurate, it may be seized and tested at the nearest Trading Standards laboratory.

Read more about Measurement for businesses(external link)

Rules for financial services

Who it applies to

Individuals and businesses offering services and/or advice on money matters, including financial planning, insurance, investments, or selling products on credit. As a financial service provider, you must register and meet other legal requirements.

How to join the Financial Service Providers Register(external link) — Companies Office


So customers can search an online register for people, businesses and organisations that offer financial services.

What you must do

  • Register as a financial service provider.
  • If you provide services to the public, join a dispute resolution scheme.
  • Comply with consumer laws, eg Consumer Guarantees Act, Fair Trading Act, and fair dealing standards in the Financial Markets Conduct Act.
  • Some professions need a licence from the Financial Markets Authority, eg fund managers and investment planners.

Licensing and registration(external link)  — Financial Markets Authority

Fair dealing(external link) — Financial Markets Authority

Do not

  • Offer financial services if you are not registered. This is illegal.
  • Apply to be registered if you — or senior people in your business — are disqualified, eg due to fraud conviction or undischarged bankruptcy.

How the rules are enforced

Failing to register can lead to fines or other penalties, including jail time.

Financial Service Providers Register(external link) — Companies Office

Choosing a dispute resolution scheme(external link)  — Companies Office