Consumer NZ is extending its programme of testing from just products and services to accrediting entire businesses which meet the organisation's strict Code of Conduct.
The aim of the new Consumer Trusted programme is to deliver high standards of customer service and consumer confidence, says Consumer NZ CEO Sue Chetwin.
"We've thought hard about how to raise the game of Kiwi businesses. Our advisory service deals with around 4000 complaints and inquiries each year - and that's just the tip of consumer dissatisfaction.
"What we've developed through Consumer Trusted is a visible way of rewarding businesses with genuinely top-class customer service. Our goal is to inspire all businesses to go beyond the minimum standards of consumer law.
"In some ways Consumer Trusted is a continuation of the testing of products and services we've done for the past 55 years. We're now going further and testing businesses against the rigorous criteria we've developed," she said.
The criteria are based on 8 Consumer Principles which include returns and refunds, websites, privacy customer service, and fair and clear contracts.
At the same time Consumer NZ is negotiating deals with Trusted businesses to benefit consumers. Consumer NZ has been concerned for years about the price of electricity and telecommunications. So it was excited to have 2Degrees and Powershop offering significant discounts on their services, for the launch of the accreditation programme, Chetwin said. Internet Service Provider Inspire Net and footwear retailer Shoe Clinic had also been accredited.
All Consumer Trusted businesses must belong to an approved dispute resolution scheme or allow Consumer NZ to provide the service. Anyone who had a complaint about a Trusted business could come to Consumer for assistance.
All revenue raised from the Consumer Trusted programme will be put back into research, testing, extending the organisation's work on behalf of all consumers and resolving consumer disputes, Chetwin said.
Code of Conduct highlights
- A non-perishable product bought from a Consumer Trusted business can be exchanged or returned for a full refund within 30 days of buying it, if returned in as new condition
- A bond won't be charged when faulty goods are returned and the fault is likely to be covered by the Consumer Guarantees Act
- If a product worth over $100 goes on sale within a week of you buying it, you're entitled to a refund of the difference
- Consumer advisers will assist any customer of a Consumer Trusted businesses who has a problem
The 8 principles
- Provide excellent customer service
- Fair, clear returns and refunds policies
- Informative and up-to-date website
- All complaints and disputes dealt with fairly
- Contracts must be fair and easily understood
- Clear pricing
- Customer details are not exploited
- Advertising is accurate
For further information contact:
Consumer NZ CEO