Your legal right to a repair, refund or replacement can last longer than the manufacturer's warranty. This covers devices and appliances, and digital products used on them.
There are no set time limits in laws protecting your consumer rights. Businesses cannot tell you otherwise.
Businesses often offer extended warranties when you buy gadgets and appliances:
- Only buy an extended warranty if it offers extra protection you think is worth paying for.
- If you buy it, you must be given important information in writing.
Your rights under the CGA
The Consumer Guarantees Act (CGA) offers protection against things going wrong. If your device or appliance is put to normal household use, this protection can last longer than the manufacturer's warranty.
If your gadget or appliance doesn't work as it should, the CGA gives you the right to a remedy — either a refund, free repairs or a replacement.
This right covers problems with both physical and digital products bought from New Zealand businesses, eg a computer's hardware (screen, keyboard) and its software (operating system, apps).
The seller must cover the cost of putting it right, whether it's fixing a faulty battery or replacing a glitchy operating system. This includes paying some extra costs related to the problem, eg:
- repairer's call-out fee
- hiring a replacement if your faulty appliance is taken away for repairs
- fixing extra damage, eg to recover lost digital files.
Consumer Guarantees Act
Streaming and downloads
Your CGA rights can extend beyond the time specified in the manufacturer's warranty.
The CGA does not specify a time limit. Instead it says products must last a reasonable amount of time. What "reasonable" means varies. Factors include:
- how much you paid for it
- how you used it, eg a dryer used weekly vs several times each day on the highest setting
- what the business told you it could do.
Businesses cannot tell you consumer laws specify time limits. The Commerce Commission issued a public warning in 2018 to a big-name electronics brand for telling customers the CGA only covered their products for two years.