From faulty fridges to missed deliveries, The Consumer Guarantees Act means you can act if things go wrong.

What is the Consumer Guarantees Act?

The Consumer Guarantees Act sets minimum guarantees for all products and services bought from businesses in New Zealand for consumer use.

It allows you to seek repairs, replacements, or refunds when guarantees are not met.

The Consumer Guarantees Act applies:

  • if you bought the item, or it was gifted to you for personal or household use.
  • if you bought it or it was gifted to you from a registered business.
  • regardless of any store guarantees or warranties.

The Consumer Guarantees Act doesn't apply:

  • if you got what you asked for but simply changed your mind.
  • if you bought it privately, including through Trade Me, eBay, or at an auction, or through someone who wasn’t a business.
  • if you bought it for business use when the businesses have agreed in writing that the Consumer Guarantees Act doesn’t apply.

A business/seller must not tell you that the Consumer Guarantees Act does not apply or get you to sign a contract saying so.

Learn more about how the Consumer Guarantees Act applies

The top 5 guarantees

The Consumer Guarantees Act requires all products sold by businesses to be:

1. Acceptable quality

This means they must do what they are made to do, look acceptable, not have defects, be safe, and last a reasonable time.

2. Fit for a particular purpose

This means they must be suitable for a particular purpose that you asked the trader about, and/or they told you the products were suitable for.

3. Matched with the description

This means that the product you receive matches its description online, or on packaging and labels.

4. Reasonably priced

This means that if no price has been agreed, you must only pay what other sellers charge for the same products.

5. Delivered on time and in good condition

This means they must be acceptable quality when you receive them and delivered on time, within the agreed period, or within a reasonable time if no delivery time was agreed.


These and other guarantees also apply to most services you may purchase such as telco plans, beauty treatments and even subscription services, household plumbing or a haircut.

When things go wrong, the Consumer Guarantees Act makes it right

If something you purchase fails to meet one or more of these guarantees, the Consumer Guarantees Act gives you the right to seek a remedy – either a repair, replacement, or refund from the business.

  • If it’s a minor problem, the supplier can choose whether to give a repair or replacement.
  • If the problem is major, you can refuse a repair and request a replacement or refund.

Sometimes a business may offer an alternative, such as a discount on another item or a store credit, it’s up to you to decide if the offer is fair, but you don’t have to accept it.

You should always contact the business you purchased from first, it is their responsibility to put things right or follow up with their suppliers.

When something goes wrong, follow these four steps to seek a repair, replacement, or refund.

1. Verify

Verify whether it is covered by the Consumer Guarantees Act.

You can use our Consumer Rights Finder to check you have a case.

Consumer Rights Finder

2. Decide

Decide the outcome you want.

It might be:

  • A refund
  • Repairs or improvements
  • A replacement.

Question Mark

3. Gather

You’ll be more successful if you build your argument and get prepared by gathering your receipt, contract or proof of purchase and any evidence about the problem, such as:

  • the date of purchase,
  • the date the problem occurred, and what you’ve done so far.


4. Contact and Resolve

Don’t leave it too long – contact the business you bought it from as soon as you can to explain the problem and resolve it together – or explore further options. It is their responsibility to put it right.

It pays to use the company’s complaint process, so your complaint doesn’t go unchecked.



These examples and templates can help you write a complaint letter or email:

“The Superbrand kettle I purchased from Superbrand store on Stone Street on 26 July 2023 isn’t automatically switching off once it has boiled, which makes it unfit for purpose and also a fire safety hazard under the Consumer Guarantees Act.”

CGA Campaign Pic 1

“I have attached my receipt, and picture of the damage when I received it in the mail.”

CGA Campaign Pic 2

“My preferred resolution is a repair and I would like a response to this letter as soon as possible, and no later than two weeks from the date of this letter.”

CGA Campaign Pic 3

Use these letter and email templates to help you write to the business:

Example complaint letter for products [DOCX, 25 KB]

Example complaint letter for services [DOCX, 23 KB]

Template complaint letter for products [DOCX, 19 KB]

Template complaint letter for services [DOCX, 17 KB]

Before complaining, know your rights, go back, and talk to the person you dealt with in the first place if possible and do not delay.

Common consumer questions about the Consumer Guarantees Act

If a business supplies you a product that doesn’t work, you can ask for the good to be fixed under the Consumer Guarantees Act (CGA).

Take the product back, and if you can’t resolve your issue directly with the business, the Disputes Tribunal or District Court may be your next step.

If you think the business has misled you about your consumer guarantees, you can complain to the Commerce Commission.

Faulty and unsafe products

Taking a product back [PDF, 454 KB]

What the tribunal can help with(external link) — Disputes Tribunal

Make a complaint(external link) — Commerce Commission

The Consumer Guarantees Act might still apply for overseas items bought online, but it’s difficult to resolve issues and enforce your guarantees.

Other consumer laws


Under the Consumer Guarantees Act (CGA), deliveries from business sellers must arrive either on time or within a reasonable timeframe if no time/date was agreed. If it arrives very late, you can reject it and claim a refund.

Contact the business directly.

If you can’t resolve your issue directly with the business, the Disputes Tribunal or District Court may be your next step.

You can also report the business to the Commerce Commission if you think you have been misled or the business has said something that is not true.

Delivery issues

How to complain

About the Disputes Tribunal(external link) — Disputes Tribunal

Acceptable quality is a guarantee under the Consumer Guarantees Act.

This means that products must be fit for their normal purposes, acceptable in finish and appearance, free from minor defects, safe and durable.

If a business sells you a bad quality product, you should first ask them to fix the problem.

If you can’t resolve your issue directly with the business, the Disputes Tribunal or District Court may be your next step.

Consumer Guarantees Act

Refund, replacement, or repair

How to complain

What the Tribunal can help with(external link) — Disputes Tribunal

If there’s a problem with your car after purchase and it’s not your fault, you have more options if you bought from a car dealer.

If there is a fault with your car after purchase, and it’s not your fault, you can go back to the dealer to claim under the manufacturer’s warranty or under the CGA guarantees.

If the fault is serious, e.g., it can’t be repaired for a reasonable cost, you can reject the vehicle.

You must tell the dealer you are rejecting the vehicle within a reasonable amount of time.

If a faulty vehicle has caused damage to your property, you can also claim compensation.

If you cannot solve your issue directly with the seller, you can contact the Motor Vehicle Disputes Tribunal or report the dealer.

You can also report the trader to the Commerce Commission if you think you have been misled about the vehicle, e.g., price, quality, kilometres travelled, country or origin or the vehicle’s Consumer Information Notice (CIN) has incorrect information or wasn’t there.

Solving issues with your car dealer

Faulty and unsafe products

Make a claim(external link) — New Zealand Ministry of Justice

Motor Vehicle Traders Register(external link) — Motor Traders

Make a complaint(external link) — Commerce Commission

The Consumer Guarantees Act is one consumer law, but there are other consumer laws that may cover your issue. 

Other consumer laws and rules

More help

You can visit our website for more information and education about the process of buying – what to know and do before, during and after purchasing a product or service. That includes outlining your consumer rights, tips for making smart purchase decisions, and how to confidently deal with things if they go wrong.

You can also get help from Citizens Advice Bureau or Community Law Centres who can advise you on your consumer guarantees, obligations, and the resolution process.

A CAB near you(external link)  – Citizens Advice Bureau

Our law centres(external link)  – Community Law Centres

If you still can’t agree on a solution with a business, you can use disputes bodies, the Disputes Tribunal, or the district court to resolve your problem. Disputes bodies are free to access, whereas the Disputes Tribunal may charge a fee. The value of your claim may determine your option.

Take your complaint further