The Commerce Commission has released its 2016 Consumer Issues Report, presenting a picture of issues affecting New Zealand consumers.

The report takes a detailed look at the complaints received by the Commission as well as looking at the wider consumer environment and the influences the economy and technology have on consumers. Based on analysis of information from a wide range of sources, including the Commission’s own data, the report also identifies emerging risks that have the potential to affect markets or consumers.

Commerce Commission Chairman Dr Mark Berry said, “This is the second year we have released the report publicly and once again it highlights some interesting trends in complaints. Consumers complain to the Commission most about price (26%), goods (23%) and services (22%), while one quarter of our Fair Trading Act complaints relate to just 21 traders. Complaints in a number of areas have increased significantly since 2013 with motor vehicle retail complaints increasing by 70%, complaints about contracts doubling and complaints about debt collection significantly increasing.”

Non-bank lenders feature prominently this year with complaints about non-disclosure, targeting of vulnerable consumers and irresponsible lending. For example, while finance companies make up only 3% of the credit market they account for 43% of credit-related complaints to the Commission. 

“We produce this report primarily as an internal planning tool for the Commission which helps us to understand the consumer environment and prioritise our efforts where it will have the greatest impact for consumers and more meaning for businesses. However, we choose to share the report publicly as we believe the information is of wider interest and benefit to consumers, traders, advocates and community groups. We are grateful to all the organisations that have contributed to making this report such a valuable resource,” Dr Berry said.

The full report can be found on the consumer reports page (external link) .