Acceptable quality is when you buy a product and it does what it is meant to.

It can be frustrating when things don’t work properly or do what they are meant to do. That’s one of the reasons why in New Zealand we have the Consumer Guarantees Act (CGA) - it protects us by ensuring that when we buy something from a business, it is of acceptable quality.

If you’re not sure of what acceptable quality is - quite simply, it’s when a product does what it’s meant to do. On the other hand, quality may be considered unacceptable if a product is faulty, damaged or simply not equipped to cope with what you’d expect from it, given how it was sold to you.

Acceptable quality covers off a range of things that may happen, such as a laptop consistently crashing or if you’ve purchased something online or arranged a delivery, you have every right to expect the product to be delivered in good working order. As long as you haven’t affected the quality of a product or service you are protected under the Act.

The Consumer Guarantees Act protects us if we have problems with a product or service – just like this one:

James purchased a laptop a year ago, but has had continuing problems with it. When it was still within the warranty period, it went back for repairs a few times. Despite this, the computer still has the same problem and is still crashing.

Add in the inconvenience of not having a laptop when it was getting fixed and you can imagine that James is getting pretty frustrated. He doesn’t believe that his computer will ever be able to be repaired so that it works the way it’s meant to and, to top things off, now the warranty has expired.

What are James’ rights under the CGA?

In the scenario above, James has done all the right things with his laptop. He went back to the retailer he bought the product from, he has kept a record of the problems he’s encountered, and he’s got all the repair dockets. Under the CGA, James can expect the retailer to remedy the situation. In this case, because the laptop can’t be repaired, James can reasonably request a replacement or refund for his laptop.

The CGA in a nutshell

  • Both buyers and sellers are protected under the Consumer Guarantees Act. 
  • The CGA gives you rights when you buy both goods and services for personal use. 
  • If you’ve bought something from a New Zealand business, you are protected by law.

Power up on the Consumer Guarantees Act