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Consumers' rights recognised around the world

Consumers' rights recognised around the world

Today is World Consumer Rights Day, a day when the basic rights of all consumers are promoted and recognised.

"Today is World Consumer Rights Day, a day when the basic rights of all consumers are promoted and recognised," says Consumer Affairs Minister Judith Tizard.

"Consumer Rights day is an important acknowledgement. John F Kennedy advocated for consumers in the early 1960s, and World Consumer Rights Day has been celebrated each year on this date since 1983," says Judith Tizard.

'Too good to be true' has been adopted as the theme for World Consumer Rights Day in the Australasian region.

"It's an important theme, because too many New Zealanders still contact me, the Ministry of Consumer Affairs and Fair Go with terrible stories about how they've committed significant family money to deals that were too good to be true," says Judith Tizard.

"New Zealand goes a long way to ensure that consumers' rights are promoted and recognised. We have laws such as the Consumer Guarantees Act and Fair Trading Act that provide consumers with remedies when things go wrong.

"We also have a Ministry of Consumer Affairs working to ensure consumers can transact with confidence. The Ministry does this by developing consumer policy, investigating unsafe products, administering legislation and providing information to consumers and businesses."

Judith Tizard says consumers can also take steps themselves by taking time to look more closely at offers and deals and check if they might be just 'too good to be true', so they don't have to access consumer laws for a remedy.

Too good to be true offers may range from advertisements for cheap deals which aren't because of hidden costs, to prize-winning notifications from overseas where no prize exists.

"To decide whether a deal might be too good to be true, consumers need to take time to carefully read information about an offer so they understand its terms and conditions. Consumers should also not feel pressured to make a quick decision about accepting an offer. Consumers can also seek the advice and opinions of friends or family members or contact their local Citizens Advice Bureau for information."

This week is also Citizens Advice Bureau Awareness Week and the theme this year is consumer rights.

The Citizens Advice Bureau Awareness Week is a chance for the CAB's 2750 volunteers to carry out a campaign to raise awareness of the CAB and the services they provide.

"The CAB works with the Ministry of Consumer Affairs to provide a free, national, face-to-face service to members of the public regarding consumer rights issues. The CAB can provide consumers with information about their rights when they have problems with goods or services. Bureaux also work with retailers to highlight their rights and responsibilities to customers," says Judith Tizard.

The Ministry Consumer Affairs provides information and advice on a wide range of consumer issues including scams, consumer safety and legislation, credit issues, motor vehicles, and weights and measures. Check out their website, Ministry of Consumer Affairs.

"Remember, if an deal sounds or looks too good to be true, it usually is," says Judith Tizard.

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