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Consumer Law Reform Bill passes first reading

Hon Chris Tremain
Minister of Consumer Affairs

9 February 2012 Media Statement
Consumer Law Reform Bill passes first reading

Consumer Affairs Minister Chris Tremain is pleased that the Consumer Law Reform Bill passed its first reading today.

“The Consumer Law Reform Bill is a vital update to New Zealand’s consumer laws and another step towards implementing the Government’s 120-point Economic Development Action Plan,” says Mr Tremain.

“The Fair Trading Act, Consumer Guarantees Act, and other consumer laws are relevant to everyone in daily life. These laws are sound, but have not been updated in over 20 years.

“Therefore, they are not adequately dealing with some modern transactions. The Consumer Law Reform Bill will update consumer laws to better cover Trade Me-style auctions, supermarket self-service systems, telephone sales using credit cards, and the sale of extended warranties.

“The Bill also adds new provisions to the Fair Trading Act to require traders and retailers to have reasonable grounds for any claims they make. Common sense changes like this will better protect consumers and ensure that traders are behaving honestly.”

The Bill also:

• Extends the scope of the Disputes Tribunal to hear cases under the “misleading and deceptive conduct” provisions of the Fair Trading Act;
• Gives the Commerce Commission a wider range of enforcement tools to more effectively enforce the Fair Trading Act;
• Amends the Consumer Guarantees Act to better provide for acceptable quality of electricity and gas;
• Adds provisions to the Fair Trading Act relating to layby sales, unsolicited goods and services, conduct at auctions, and uninvited direct sales;
• Provides for a new Auctioneers Act which will require auctioneers to meet a number of minimum standards.

“I would like to acknowledge the work of previous Ministers in developing the Consumer Law Reform Project and preparing this Bill,” says Mr Tremain.

“As the new Minister of Consumer Affairs I am committed to seeing this legislation passed, and I am very pleased that the Bill is now making progress through the House.”


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