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Commission encourages New Zealanders to know their rights

Commission encourages New Zealanders to know their rights

On the day of significant changes to consumer law coming into effect, the Commerce Commission is encouraging New Zealanders to make sure they know their consumer rights.

“The way we shop has changed a lot in the last 30 years, and so have the products and services we’re buying. And now, the laws that protect consumers have now been updated to reflect these changes. For example by ensuring that when you make a purchase in an online auction from a trader, you get the same protections as you do when you buy from a physical store,” said Kate Morrison, Competition General Manager.

Some of the key changes for consumers that come into effect today are:

• Online traders must declare they are in trade to ensure consumers are aware of their rights under the Consumer Guarantees Act and the Fair Trading Act.
• Retailers must compare the benefits of extended warranties with protections consumers already have under the Consumer Guarantees Act.
• Consumers have new cancellation rights when they buy something as a result of a door-to-door or telemarketing sale.

“The Commission has also been given more powers to protect consumers. These new enforcement powers will allow us to carry out investigations faster and more effectively. For example, there are new requirements from traders about substantiation. This means from today it will be illegal for businesses to make claims that they can’t back up. This will make a real difference in our ability to address deceptive and misleading conduct,” said Ms Morrison.

“We encourage New Zealanders to find out about their rights before they make a purchase rather than waiting until they have a problem. If you do find you have a problem with a good or service, or are concerned that you may have been misled you should keep your receipt and go back to the trader and try to resolve it with them first,” said Ms Morrison.

“If that doesn’t work you can contact the Commerce Commission, take a case to the Disputes Tribunal or get some advice from the local Citizens Advice Bureau or Community Law Centre.”

New Zealanders can find out about their consumers rights and the changes to the law that take effect today atwww.knowyourrights.co.nz

ends

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