In this module students are introduced to the rights and responsibilities of consumers and businesses and investigate the actions they can take if there is a problem with goods that they buy.

Learning outcomes:

  • Students will explore consumer protection in an authentic context.

Key concepts:

  • Rights
  • Responsibilities
  • Laws and regulations
  • Consumer protection

Conceptual understandings:

  • Both consumers and retailers have rights and responsibilities
  • Consumer protection laws and regulations cover goods and services purchased in New Zealand.

Word wall

Subject-specific vocabulary in module 2 includes:

Te reo PākēhaTe reo Māori
rights ngā mōtika
responsibilities ngā haepapa
law ture
the principle of best outcomes te mātāpono o te tino whaitake/whaihua
repair whakatika
replacement whakakapi
refund whakahokinga moni

Home learning: Have students ask their families about any problems they have had in the past with goods or services they purchased. In class students in pairs students can then retell a family story about when a purchase went wrong and what the consequences were. Emphasise that the situation does not have to have been resolved.

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

Have the students view this video 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.

Speed discussion

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.

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.

Link to mathematics and statistics

https://nzmaths.co.nz/resource/rights-and-responsibilities

In this unit students make and implement a small business plan for a service or a product and explore the producer/consumer relationship. They apply number skills to auditing the budget and cashflow of a small business.

Links to te reo Māori

Students can extend their te reo Māori number knowledge with Kotahi rau/One hundred

Students can practise these phrases in te reo Māori:

  • Kua pakaru tēnei. This is broken
  • He raruraru tōku. I have a problem.
  • Ka taea e koe te whakatika? Can you fix it?

Reflecting on our learning: Have the students apply their new understandings of consumer rights by completing the consumer decision-making activity. Have them discuss the best outcome for the consumer.

girl in stationery shop