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Consumer Guarantees Act
In the mags

Consumer Guarantees Act

Here’s how it works and what your rights are.

The Consumer Guarantees Act covers goods (new and second-hand) and services ordinarily purchased for personal, domestic or household use. Consumer rights are expressed as a series of “guarantees” a seller makes to you when you buy something ordinarily purchased for personal use. Here’s how it works and what your rights are.

Retailers guarantee their goods will:

  • Be of acceptable quality (see definition below).
  • Be fit for the particular purpose that you enquired about.
  • Match the description given in advertisements or sales brochures, or by the sales assistant.
  • Match the sample or demonstration model.
  • Be owned by the consumer, once purchased.
  • Be a reasonable price, if no price or pricing formula has been previously agreed.

Manufacturers guarantee that:

  • Spare parts and repair facilities will be available to the consumer for a reasonable time.
  • They will honour any written warranty that is provided with their products.
  • Goods are of acceptable quality.
  • Goods match their description.


Service providers guarantee their services will be:

  • Performed with reasonable care and skill.
  • Fit for the particular purpose they were supplied for.
  • Completed within a reasonable time.
  • A reasonable price, if no price or pricing formula has been previously agreed.

Acceptable quality

This means goods:

  • Do what they are made to do.
  • Are acceptable in appearance and finish.
  • Are free from minor defects.
  • Are safe and durable.

The Act’s terms “reasonable” and “acceptable” are deliberately open-ended. It depends on what a reasonable consumer would think was acceptable, based on the nature of the goods, the price, and any statements that have been made about the goods. A concert violin is required to meet a higher standard than a child’s cheap instrument.

Ultimately, a tribunal referee, or a judge, may have to decide what is reasonable or acceptable in the circumstances.

If a defect was pointed out to you before you bought the good, then it doesn’t count towards making it unacceptable.


Keep informed at consumer.org.nz

The Australian Women's Weekly
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