The New Zealand Consumer Survey is conducted every two years by MBIE’s Consumer Protection team.

These results have now been published and offer insight into what New Zealanders know about their consumer rights and their experiences of dealing with problems. This survey is the fourth in the series which also enables reporting and emerging trends.

Here are some of the key findings.

Awareness that consumer rights and laws exist remains widespread, though self-reported knowledge continues to be lower than in 2016.

Almost all consumers (95%) are aware that New Zealand laws exist to protect basic consumer rights when purchasing products and services (this is consistent with previous years). While awareness is almost universal, self-reported knowledge of these laws is still relatively low (less than half feel they have at least a moderate understanding of these laws).

Consumers are less positive than ever that consumer protection laws are adequately enforced.

Consumers’ confidence in the enforcement of consumer laws is lower than ever after improving in 2020. The proportion who agree that the laws that prohibit businesses from misleading or deceiving them are adequately enforced has fallen back down to 34%, while agreement among consumers that laws that prohibit businesses from price-fixing, or engaging in other anti-competitive behaviours, are adequately enforced has fallen to a new low of 24%.

And while consumers are broadly trusting and confident when purchasing, they are continuing to lose faith in the ability of our laws to protect them.

In line with previous years, most consumers are broadly trusting and confident when purchasing products and services. Over half of consumers agree that businesses will do the right thing, and not try to mislead or cheat consumers (72% agree). That said consumers are increasingly discouraged about whether consumer legislation is sufficient to protect consumers from being misled or cheated by businesses.

Consumers continue to show increased caution before buying.

The proportion of consumers actively seeking out extra information before purchasing something has increased. Prior to purchase, 71% of consumers seek out extra information such as online reviews, recommendations from friends or reference checks always or most of the time.

Read the full survey results and supporting infographic on the MBIE website

New Zealand consumer surveys(external link)  — Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment