Boxing Day tips for bargain hunters
Ahead of the mad rush to bag a good deal in this year’s Boxing Day sales, Consumer NZ is sharing top tips to help savvy shoppers exercise their consumer rights.
The Consumer Guarantees Act provides great consumer protection, but it generally doesn’t allow for a refund if you buy something and then change your mind about it.
“It’s easy to get swept up in a buying frenzy when something on special catches your eye,” said Gemma Rasmussen, Consumer NZ head of communications and campaigns.
“Once you’ve bought it, the retailer is not obliged to provide you with a refund if you change your mind or if your circumstances change.”
How to get a refund, repair or replacement
If a product isn’t up to scratch, the act gives you powerful rights. A product must be of acceptable quality, fit for purpose and match its description.
“When a product has a minor fault, it’s up to the retailer whether they repair or replace the item or refund your money.
“When a product has a major fault, it’s up to you whether to go for a replacement or refund. A major fault means you wouldn’t have bought the product if you knew about the problem before you bought it.”
The same rules apply if you receive a faulty gift.
“If you receive a gift which isn’t up to scratch, you have the same rights as if you bought the product yourself,” Rasmussen said.
“If you’re returning a faulty gift, you are likely to need proof of purchase, which means you will need the gift-giver to intervene.”
What to do if the retailer is being difficult
A retailer must provide a refund, repair or replacement for a faulty product. If the product was on special, your rights still apply.
“A store which displays a ‘no refunds’ sign is breaking the law.
“The only time your rights don’t apply is if you buy a product knowing about an existing fault, such as buying ‘seconds’.”
The retailer can’t direct you to deal directly with a manufacturer – you have the right to return an item to the place of purchase to find a solution.
Do your research
Finally, don’t fall for a massive discount on a ‘usual’ price without confirming what the ‘usual’ price is. The actual savings could be very different from the advertised offering. Different stores will have different ‘usual’ prices, too. Check out PriceSpy and PriceMe to gauge the real value of any items which catch your eye.