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Research report
9 September 2017

Contract law

Your legal rights and obligations when you’ve entered a contract.

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Previous member
19 Apr 2018
Breach of signed Agreement

We signed up a second In-charge employee for our new job that will commence on June 1st. Employment Agreement has been signed between the employee and us. We are just waiting for June 1st when we take over, however, our 2IC had decided not to take on the job anymore. What does the Law say on breaching signed agreements like this?

Consumer staff
20 Apr 2018
Re: Breach of signed Agreement

Hi Paul,

Unfortunately this isn't something we can advise on as it relates to business employment and isn't a consumer issue. We'd suggest getting in touch with Employment NZ for assistance.

Fonda - Consumer NZ staff

Rupert B
05 Jun 2017
New build

Hi, We have a contract with a builder for a new build. The contract is between myself, wife and the builder. The builder is saying that he verbally agreed with my wife (not me) that an aspect was not to be part of his quote. He did not exclude this item on the quote in the special provisions part.
This item was clearly supposed to be part of the builders scope but he is refusing to do it. He is lying when he says he made the verbal agreement with my wife.
But my question is this, can my wife make verbal agreements without my knowledge? Or do verbal agreements have to be made with all parties present and agreeing. Thanks

Myriam C.
15 Aug 2014
Getting out of contract

Hello, I have a question regarding "getting my deposit back and cancel my order".
We had a photo shoot done, after the viewing session and the vanity rush, we went to order the package of 12 photos for $2000NZ.
Minimum deposit was $100NZ and to complicate the situation we deposit $1000NZ CASH, signed a contrat saying no refund for changing mind.
3 hours after signing the paper, we changed our mind, with no product in our hands (no photo) we wanted to cancel everything.

What are our options?

They haven't work on the photos, they haven't print anything. We were happy to pay for their time for the sitting session, but don't want to go with the full $2000NZ and would like to have the Cash deposit back.

Thank you for your reply.


Previous member
18 Aug 2014
Re: Getting out of contract

Hello Myriam,

The general rule is that deposits are non-refundable.
The Consumer Affairs website has a more detailed explanation: http://www.consumeraffairs.govt.nz/for-consumers/services/contracts/?searchterm=deposit*

“Paying a deposit

When you order goods or services to be paid for in full at a later date, you often have to pay a deposit. The deposit is a form of security that the contract to buy will go ahead. After the contract is completed, (usually when the goods have been delivered) you will pay the balance.

It is for you and the trader to agree on whether a deposit is to be paid, how much the deposit will be, and in what circumstances the deposit will be refunded. If the trader does require a deposit:

• ask whether the deposit will be refundable. If the trader agrees, this becomes a term of the contract.
• try to avoid paying a deposit of more than 10%. However, if the contract is for purpose-built goods such as kitchen joinery, a larger deposit may be reasonable.
• ask for a receipt showing the amount paid, the balance owing, and whether the deposit is refundable.

Getting a deposit refunded

The general rule is that a deposit is not refundable. But there are three exceptions to this rule:

• if the trader fails to meet their side of the contract - eg, they cannot supply the goods you ordered
• if you and the trader agreed that a term of the contract will be that the deposit is refundable (in full or in part).
• if you cancel goods you have on layby. The Layby Sales Act sets out specific rules for cancelling a layby.”

If you'd like to talk to one of our Consumer Advisors you can call us on 0800 266 786 or fill out a request for advice form here: https://www.consumer.org.nz/disputes/new

Kind regards,

Richard - Consumer staff.