1. Introducing consumer rights and responsibilities
Explain to the class that consumers have rights that are protected under New Zealand law. There are rules and regulations to protect consumers and businesses when a problem arises with a product or a service.
In small groups students can read and discuss the information in this table. Each group could be allocated part of the document to read and discuss and could then share their findings with the class.
Consumer rights for products
The Consumer Guarantees Act (CGA) gives you rights if the products you buy or are supplied by a business are faulty and do not meet the guarantees below under the CGA.
All consumer products must:
- be of acceptable quality (durable, safe, fit for purpose, free from defects, acceptable in look or finish)
- be fit for any particular purpose you have told the supplier
- match a description, sample or model shown to you
- have good legal title, e.g. be able to be sold and not have any security interests registered against them
- be a reasonable price if no price is set
- arrive on time (within a reasonable time if not agreed) and in good condition
- have spare parts and repair facilities available (manufacturer is responsible). This does not apply if you are told about limited availability before you buy.
For more details, see Consumer Guarantees for Products.
Consumer rights for services
The CGA gives you rights if the services you purchase or are supplied by a business do not meet the guarantees under the CGA.
All consumer services must be:
- carried out with reasonable care and skill
- fit for any particular purpose that you’ve told the service provider about
- carried out within a reasonable time if you haven’t agreed the time for completing the work
- charged for at a reasonable time if you haven’t agreed the time for completing the work
- charged for at a reasonable price if you haven’t agreed a price for the work.
For more details, see Consumer Guarantees for Services.
View our easy-to-read infographic on Your Consumer Rights in Action
- What does this law actually mean?
Refer them to these websites for more information.
- How these rules and regulations relate to their stories from home.
- Ways they could present this information to the community.
- Is this information available in community languages?
- How could this information be presented in infographics?
Have the students view this video(external link) from the television series, Fair Go and identify the consumer laws these students could use to get their money back.
Discuss with the class that consumers have responsibilities as well as rights. The consumer has the responsibility to be an honest and responsible consumer.
2. Analysing consumer rights and responsibilities
Create a “speed discussion” to reinforce the students’ learning. Set up two rows or a circle of desks facing each other. Cut up a table of scenarios and place one scenario on each set of facing desks. Give each student a copy of the table. Have the students sit facing each other and in pairs discuss the scenario they have been given, writing their responses on their copy of the table. Allocate 3-4 minutes for the students to discuss and record their responses before sounding a timer to indicate that they move to the desk on their right and consider the next scenario.
As a class brainstorm the things that could go wrong with a cell-phone purchase. Examples might include:
- a battery that won’t keep its charge
- a consumer has taken the back off the phone to investigate its workings and now the back can’t be attached again
- a consumer has changed their mind about the colour of phone
- a consumer has changed their mind about the plan they have chosen
- someone has dropped the phone and the screen has cracked
- a consumer has tried to modify the phone settings
- a consumer has tried out the phone underwater and now it doesn’t work
- there are hidden costs that were not revealed at the time of purchase
- the phone sparks when it’s being charged.
Have the students now complete the Consumer rights and responsibilities table below.
Consumer rights and responsibilities table
Alternatively, set up silent discussion stations around the room. At each station, place a sheet of paper with a consumer right written on it. Students can move around the room, visiting each station and adding post-it notes with examples of when this right will or will not apply. They could use one colour post-it notes for examples of when the right applies and another for when it doesn’t apply. This activity can be carried out silently and independently. Follow it up with a class discussion analysing the students’ examples.
3. Role playing making a complaint
In 2016, Samsung Galaxy Note 7 phone owners around the world began to report that their phones were catching fire(external link) .
In pairs, students can role play the parts of an owner of a phone that has caught on fire and a retailer.
Each pair can choose a scenario to role play, demonstrating their understanding of consumer rights.
- The retailer admits that there is a problem and offers the owner a refund or a different phone as a replacement.
- The retailer admits there is a problem and offers the owner a replacement phone of the same make and model.
- The owner admits to using the wrong charger for this phone.
Students can research the action that was taken, here and overseas, to sort out the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 problem and create a safe and workable solution for consumers.