It can take time to resolve these sorts of issues. But if you and your supplier can’t agree, you can go to the Disputes Tribunal or District Court claiming:
- breach of warranties under the Sales of Goods Act if it’s a faulty product
- breach of contract for commercial services.
It can be time-consuming and expensive to make these claims, so make sure you are well prepared — and remember the decision might go against you.
It handles a range of claims up to $15,000, including:
- if work has not been done properly or priced fairly
- faulty products
- loss caused by misleading advertising
- disputes over contracts or business agreements.
A trained referee works with both sides to try to reach an agreement. If not, the referee can make a binding decision. Possible outcomes include:
- your supplier doesn’t have to do, or pay, anything
- you get compensation for loss or damage
- you get a repair, refund or return
- changes to — or cancellation of — your contract or agreement with the supplier
- the claim is dismissed.
Disputes Tribunal — Ministry of Justice
This is for the same types of claims, but above $15,000. It’s a more expensive process, as lawyers are typically involved.
After hearing both sides, the court makes a binding decision. The possible outcomes are similar to those in the Disputes Tribunal — and the losing side might have to pay the other’s legal costs.
This is a complicated area. Get legal advice to make a claim.
Your contractual rights
The only rights a business will typically have are the ones written in the warranty, contract or sales agreement. You may still have some rights through common law — rules made by judges when deciding cases — and some specific Acts.
Businesses can only rely on the Consumer Guarantees Act (CGA) if something goes wrong with a product, service or vehicle that’s usually for household or personal use. Even then, the supplier can contract out of the CGA when selling to other businesses.
So carefully research any commercial contract before signing it. It’s a good idea to get legal help, especially for expensive products or services.
If your supplier contracts out of consumer laws when selling to businesses, eg the CGA or Sale of Goods Act, this must be in writing. If they only do it verbally — or don’t mention it — these laws apply and you are covered.