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Accreditation programme

The Consumer Trusted accreditation programme is an initiative designed to advance the interests of New Zealand consumers.

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Our product testing, surveys, investigations and lobbying already advance consumer protection for all New Zealanders. By accrediting businesses committed to delivering exceptional and fair customer experiences beyond consumer law requirements, we are providing consumers with confidence and leading the way in raising the standards of retail and service providers. In addition, Consumer Gold and Silver members can save money by accessing exclusive deals from Consumer Trusted businesses.

How does the programme work?

Consumer Trusted businesses comply with the Consumer NZ Code of Conduct (555 KB). The Code is based on 8 principles: exceptional customer service; fair returns and refund policies; fair handling of customer complaints and a dispute resolution process; fair contracts; clear pricing; integrity of privacy and data policy; accurate advertising; and access to a customer friendly website. The programme Rules (414 KB) govern how the Code is assessed and compliance monitored.

For example:

  • If you change your mind about a product purchased from a Consumer Trusted business, you’re eligible for a full refund for non-perishable goods returned in as new condition within 30 days.
  • Purchases over $100 are price guaranteed! If the product goes on sale within a week, you are entitled to a refund of the difference.
  • Our Consumer NZ Advisory Service is available to provide advice about issues or complaints with any Consumer Trusted business.

How do I recognise Consumer Trusted businesses?

Accredited businesses are able to use the Consumer Trusted brandmark in any of their marketing and promotion activity such as store signage, and on their website. Consumer Trusted businesses are listed in our Business Directory, and in Consumer magazine.

All applications of the brandmark are approved by Consumer NZ prior to use and meet our brand usage guidelines.

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Find out more

Learn more about the accreditation programme from our FAQs for consumers and businesses.

FAQs for consumers

Consumer has been testing products for more than 50 years, helping you to make informed buying decisions. We’re extending that to retail and service providers by assessing businesses against our own Code of Conduct (387 KB). The programme Rules (348 KB) govern how the code is assessed and compliance monitored. Assessments are carried out annually and include on-going review by mystery shoppers and feedback received via the Consumer NZ advisory service.

The Consumer Trusted programme was developed ultimately to advance the interests of all Kiwi consumers by:

  • assisting in choosing best practice retail and service providers
  • providing confidence when dealing with accredited businesses
  • leading the way in raising standards
  • recognising retail and service businesses with standout business practices
  • inspiring businesses to go beyond the minimum requirements of consumer law

Research conducted with Consumer members and consumers indicated widespread support for the programme. The research showed consumers want to be able to make the best choice for them, be able to buy with confidence and get more value for money.

We currently help members make the best choice for them and buy with confidence by providing product information, carrying out research and testing and recommending products. We want to be of even more value to our members.

By accrediting New Zealand businesses we can provide more information to help consumers buy with confidence.

Members are invited to share feedback on any of our Trusted businesses.

Businesses pay a fee to be assessed against the Consumer Trusted Code of Conduct. The fee includes pre-assessment, head office, site and communication centre assessment plus mystery shopping.

Should accreditation be awarded businesses pay a non-exclusive 12-month licence fee to use the Consumer Trusted brandmark in their marketing and promotion activity.

Assessment and Licence Fees are variable based on assessment requirements and business turnover. An indication of fees is as follows.

Large retail/service provider approximately $30000
Medium retail/service provider approximately $20000
Small retail/service provider approximately $15000

Our independence is what sets us apart from other organisations. We select products for testing based on market research and we buy products from stores just like Consumers do. Consumer Trusted businesses have no involvement in our testing programme. Consumer Trusted businesses must meet our Code of Conduct (387 KB) criteria.

Our work is funded by member fees, our endorsement programmes, the Consumer Trusted accreditation programme and contract work, mostly with government departments. All revenue from the Consumer Trusted accreditation programme is used to increase the scope of product testing, advocacy and investigative work.

In the first instance a business must meet and comply with the Consumer NZ Code of Conduct (387 KB).

The programme Rules (348 KB) govern how the Code is assessed and compliance monitored. This includes annual head office, retail site and communication centre assessments, on-going review by mystery shoppers and feedback received through our advisory service.

The accreditation programme is designed to guarantee you fair outcomes but occasionally things go wrong. Any customer of a Consumer Trusted business is able to use our advisory service for advice regarding an issue with the business or to make a complaint about the business. If you’re not currently a member, all you need to do is register as a Bronze member – this is completely free. You can then use the Request for advice form or call us on 0800 266 786.

Members can also share feedback on any of our Trusted businesses.

Consumer NZ reserves the right to withdraw accreditation from a Consumer Trusted business where there is evidence of non-compliance with the Code of Conduct (387 KB). Processes for termination of accreditation are outlined in the programme Rules (348 KB).

The accreditation application and assessment process begins with businesses submitting an Expression of Interest, ensuring Consumer NZ can complete due diligence on each application. This includes a review of any breaches of the Fair Trading Act, actions or warnings from the Commerce Commission, Disputes Tribunal hearings and our internal advisory service records. If an Expression of Interest is accepted businesses are required to complete a self-assessment against the Code of Conduct before any further assessment begins.

At this time the Code of Conduct is focused on consumer law – the Consumer Guarantees Act and the Fair Trading Act. Human Resource policies and environmental standards are covered under other laws and regulations currently beyond the scope of this programme. However, as the programme grows we will be looking to add further features.

If you have any comments you would like to share on this, email us at info@consumer.org.nz or use our feedback form.

FAQs for businesses

Consumer NZ’s purpose is to advance the interests of consumers. Consumer Trusted is designed for the Business to Consumer component of a business.

In the first instance you can review the following information:

For further information and to discuss the programme further please contact our General Manager – Business, Derek Bonnar, on 021 486 330 or derek@consumer.org.nz.

The Consumer NZ Business Programme Standards Manager either conducts or manages the assessment process.

The Consumer Trusted accreditation programme extends across the customer facing brand of a business. Consumer Trusted status is not transferable to other (differently) branded companies within the same holding company. A separate application, assessment process and licence is required per consumer-facing brand. Where head office services, functions and processes are shared there may be some efficiencies in the assessment processes which will be reflected in assessment costs.

We select products for testing based on market research and we buy products from stores just like Consumers do. We do not accept free or discounted products from businesses or manufacturers for testing.

We like to keep up to date with what is happening in the marketplace so if you have a new product or service that you think we might be interested in, please email info@consumer.org.nz and your email will be forwarded to our Research and Testing team.

If you wish to discuss the Consumer Trusted programme further please contact:

Derek Bonnar
General Manager – Business
021 486 330
derek@consumer.org.nz