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27 October 2023

10 companies people contact Commerce Commission about the most

The company that had the most people contacting the Commerce Commission over the last year is Countdown. The Commission clocked 337 enquiries about the supermarket chain in the year to August.

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In the information released under the Official Information Act, the trader with the second highest number of enquiries was We Are Bamboo, a travel company that went bust owing those who had booked trips.

Supermarket chains New World and Pak’n Save also feature on the list, as do the country’s two big telcos – One New Zealand (formerly Vodafone) and Spark.

But the Commission said it was important to remember what it calls “enquiries” don’t necessarily mean a company has done anything wrong.

In July, we lodged a complaint with the Commission under the Fair Trading Act about supermarkets misleading customers about pricing. That complaint referenced 80 examples sent to us by eagle-eyed shoppers.

Top 5 most enquired about industries

The Commission also told us the five industries that have seen the most enquiries this year.

1. Supermarkets and grocery stores (668 enquiries)

About 200 of these enquiries related to alleged price inaccuracies – where the price charged differs from the advertised price. About 130 had to do with misleading promotions – such as an item being advertised as on special when it’s not.

2. Professional and personal services (559 enquiries)

This category includes occupations such as consultants, lawyers, health and beauty services and repair services. The most predominant issues were about quality of service and contractual issues – such as potentially unfair contract terms or difficulty cancelling a service.

3. Restaurant and food delivery services (432 enquiries)

Issues with subscriptions – specifically difficulty cancelling subscriptions – were the most common reason for enquiries about this industry.

4. Telecommunications (421 enquiries)

The biggest issue was billing – for example, telecommunications companies billing more than the agreed amount.

5. Online platforms (384 enquiries)

Issues around subscriptions and difficulty cancelling featured highly here. Consumers also raised issues with refund processes and fees that hadn’t been disclosed.

Consumer advice line.

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