Use these draft letters as a guide when you want to put your complaint about goods into writing.

It can be difficult to know what to write when you're making a complaint. Use our letters as a guide for rejecting faulty goods, asking for a repair, complaining about late delivery and more.

Letter rejecting faulty goods.

[Date]

Dear ...

[Name the appliance, make and if possible the model]

I bought the above [item] from your shop on [date]. It developed serious defects.

[Describe problems].

I understand I am entitled to expect things I buy to be of acceptable quality. The [item] I bought does not reach this standard considering the problems I have had.

I am therefore asking you for a refund of the [amount] I paid for the [item] [or to replace the item with another in good working order].

A copy of my [receipt/guarantee] is enclosed.

I trust this matter can be resolved quickly and look forward to your early reply.

Yours sincerely

Point of Law

The Consumer Guarantees Act says any goods you buy must be of acceptable quality. If a major fault develops then you have the right to reject the goods and be given a replacement or get your money back. The choice is yours.

You can also reject goods if the problem is minor but the retailer must have been given the chance to put things right and has refused or is unable to do so.

Letter asking for a repair.

[Date]

Dear ...

[Name the appliance, make and if possible the model]

I bought the above [item] from your shop on [date]. It developed defects.

[Describe problems]

I understand I am entitled to expect the things I buy are of acceptable quality. I am sure you will agree that in view of the above problems the [item] was not of a reasonable standard.

I am prepared to accept a repair of the [item] at no cost to me. If repairs can be completed quickly and effectively I will consider the matter settled.

Please telephone me to arrange for the repair to be carried out. I consider seven days to be a fair time to have the [item] back in full working order.

Yours sincerely

Point of Law

The Consumer Guarantees Act says you can ask a trader to repair faulty goods. The problem can be big or small. However, the fault mustn't have been caused by the misuse of the product. The repair must be carried out in a reasonable time at no charge to you. If it is not, then you can claim your money back or have the work done elsewhere and charge the original retailer.

Letter rejecting goods not fit for the purpose

[Date]

Dear ...

[Name the appliance, make and if possible the model]

I bought the above [item] from your shop on [date]. I told the shop assistant I wanted it for [a specific purpose]. He/she recommended the above brand and model.

When I tried to use it for the above purpose, however, [describe problem].

Obviously the [item] was not fit for the purpose for which it was sold to me and I am asking you for a refund of the [amount] I paid for it.

I trust this matter can be resolved quickly and look forward to your early reply.

Yours sincerely

Point of Law

The Consumer Guarantees Act says you can reject goods if you have told the trader what you are going to use them for and then they don't do the job.

For example, if you tell a retailer that you want a motor mower to cut rough long grass and it constantly clogs, then you have the right to ask for your money back.

Letter rejecting goods that don't match their description

[Date]

Dear ...

[Name the appliance, make and if possible the model]

I bought the above [item] from your shop on [date]. When I made the purchase your salesperson told me [describe what was said]. On that basis I decided to make the purchase.

I have now discovered it does not live up to the description made for it.

I have decided therefore to reject the [item] and to ask you for a refund of the [amount] I paid for it. [Alternatively you could ask them to send you another item that does fit the description].

I trust this matter can be quickly settled and look forward to your early reply.

Yours sincerely

Point of Law

Under the Consumer Guarantees Act retailers are liable for any description given with goods they sell. So, if you are told a refrigerator automatically defrosts and it doesn't then you have the right to ask for one that does or, more likely, your money back.

Letter to seller rejecting your claim.

[Date]

Dear ...

[Name the appliance, make and if possible the model]

Thank you for your letter dated [date] regarding my claim for a replacement [item] [or refund of the price of my faulty item].

Unfortunately I cannot accept your suggestion that I should complain to the manufacturer.

My contract is with you, the seller of the [item]. As a matter of law, I have a guarantee that the [item] is acceptable quality. This right is given to me under the Consumer Guarantees Act and I am therefore entitled to expect you to put the matter right.

My claim against you is in addition to any rights I have under a manufacturer's guarantee.

I trust this clarifies the position. Please let me know within five working days whether you intend to repair or replace the [item] [or give me a refund].

Yours sincerely

Point of Law

Traders can't opt out of their responsibilities or attempt to pass the buck to manufacturers. Your rights to reasonable quality goods that match their description is guaranteed under the Consumer Guarantees Act. Also, the Fair Trading Act says you mustn't be misled or deceived. This means that shops can no longer point to signs saying "No refunds" or tell you that a faulty product is a problem for the manufacturer.

Letter rejecting goods that are not delivered on time

[Date]

Dear ...

[Order number or description of goods]

On [date] I placed an order for [item] with you. I paid in advance but the [item] has still not been delivered.

It is a term of my agreement with you that the [item] would be delivered within a reasonable time. [Detail any written or verbal promises that were made about the delivery time].

As [period of time] has now passed since I placed the order you are in breach of your contract. While I understand that circumstances beyond your control may have led to the delay, I cannot wait any longer. If you do not send me the [item] within seven days I will consider our contract at an end, as I am legally entitled to do, and will expect you to refund the full purchase price of [amount] to me.

I look forward to receiving my [item] or [a full refund].

Yours sincerely

Point of Law

If you make it clear at the time of ordering that you want goods delivered by a certain date and they don't arrive, then you have a right to cancel the deal. This is covered by contract law. In most cases you would give a clear warning first, as is outlined in this letter.

Letter dealing with the non-availablility of spare parts.

[Date]

Dear ...

[Order number or description of goods]

On [date] I bought the above [item] from [name and address of shop].

On [date] it broke down and I took it to [name and address of repairer] for repairs. This company is included in the list of authorised repairers that came with my [item].

The repairer has told me that the [item] needs a new [name spare part] and these are not at present available from you.

As a manufacturer, you will be aware that you have a responsibility to ensure that reasonable repair facilities and spare parts are available unless I was informed at the time I bought the [item] that you would not be providing this after-sales service. I was not told this. It is not reasonable to expect me to wait indefinitely for a part when my [item] is only [period of time] old.

If you cannot supply the part to complete the repair within seven days I will be forced to claim from you the cost of hiring a replacement [item] until mine can be fixed. [An alternative to this would be to claim the difference in value between what you paid and the current value of the unrepaired item].

I look forward to your reply.

Yours sincerely

Point of Law

The Consumer Guarantees Act gives you the right to spare parts and repair facilities for a reasonable time for any product unless you are told when you make your purchase that they aren't available. This undertaking is given by the manufacturer or importer and not the retailer. It applies to all new goods. It also applies to second-hand goods such as imported used cars if you are the first person in New Zealand to buy them.