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Consumers encouraged to know their rights

22 May 2019


Results of the New Zealand Consumer Survey 2018 show that while nearly all consumers are aware that laws exist to protect their consumer rights, more than half of consumers report knowing only ‘a little’ or ‘nothing’ about what these rights are.

It also found that just over half of consumers report experiencing a problem with something they had purchased in the past two years.

The survey was commissioned by Consumer Protection, part of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, to find out what New Zealanders know about their rights and their experiences of dealing with problems. The survey was responded to by nearly 2,600 consumers aged 18 years or over, and where possible findings are compared back to a 2016 baseline survey.

Of the consumers who reported experiencing a problem around three-quarters said they took steps to try and resolve their most recent issue. However, a quarter of consumers chose not to take action to try and resolve their most recent problem and this was most commonly due to lack of time or lack of knowledge about what to do.

Consumer Protection Manager Mark Hollingsworth says, “In the 2018 survey we asked more questions about the reported problem and its impact on consumers’ everyday lives. This was to enable us to understand more about the severity of problems across industries and help us understand the aspects of the resolution process that are pain points for consumers.

“For example, while ‘home-based telecommunication services’ followed by ‘building, repairs, renovations or maintenance on your home’ and ‘mobile telecommunication services’ had the highest incidence of perceived problems, problems relating to ‘motor vehicle sales’ were found to have the most severe impact on consumers’ everyday lives; and ‘insurance’ problems were the most time consuming for consumers to try and resolve.

“It’s positive to see from the survey consumers have trust and confidence that they have rights and laws available to protect them, but it’s important for consumers to know what their rights are and how to apply them,” says Mr. Hollingsworth.

“We want everyone to be a confident consumer, increasing knowledge of consumer rights and how to apply them is vital to build confidence – to know what to do before buying, and where to go for help and what to do if something goes wrong.

“There are plenty of places to find information on consumer rights, with the Consumer Protection website being a great place to start.”

Consumers can visit Consumer Protection to find out more about their rights and how to resolve issues on the Consumer Protection website, www.consumerprotection.govt.nz.

The full New Zealand Consumer Survey 2018 report and supporting infographic can be found here: https://www.mbie.govt.nz/business-and-employment/consumer-protection/consumer-research-and-reports/nz-consumer-surveys/

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