Returns and refunds

Bought something and want to take it back? We explain your consumer rights.

Making a payment at EFTPOS terminal.

If a product you buy is faulty or not of acceptable quality, you don’t have to put up with it.

Consumer members can contact our Consumer Advice Line for help. Our advisers will talk you through your rights.

When products are faulty

When a product isn’t up to scratch, the Consumer Guarantees Act gives you powerful after-sales rights.

The Act says products must be of acceptable quality, fit for purpose and match their description.

If a product has a minor fault, the retailer can choose to repair the item, replace it, or refund your money.

But if the fault is major, it’s your choice whether you opt for a replacement or refund. A major fault means a reasonable consumer wouldn't have bought the product if they'd known about the problem.

The retailer can't palm you off to the manufacturer – you have the right to take the item back to the shop and have it fix the problem.

A sign in the store that says “no refunds” is illegal.

Just changed your mind?

You don't have the right to return goods simply because you've changed your mind or your circumstances have changed.

Say you bought a smartphone. What if:

  • Your partner bought you one as a surprise on the same day. Can you take one of them back?
  • You really wanted a pink one. Can you swap?
  • The same phone is $100 cheaper in the shop next door. Can you get a refund?

The answer to all these questions is no. The retailer is under no legal obligation to give you your money back or exchange the product. However, some retailers will do so in the interests of good customer service, so it's worth asking.

Some stores have a no-questions-asked exchange policy for customers who change their mind. This usually means you can swap for another item or a credit note. Occasionally, a store returns policy lets you get a refund but it’s up to the store.

If you’re not sure about a purchase, ask the retailer when you buy if it offers exchange cards.

Exceptions to the rule

If you buy on credit or from a door-to-door seller, you’ve got a cooling-off period when you’re entitled to cancel the deal.

Credit contracts

Say you buy a washing machine through a store finance deal. You’ve got five working days to cancel the credit contract if you have second thoughts.

Door-to-door sales

You also have five working days to cancel a door-to-door sale. You can cancel for any reason. The trader must give you a full refund if you cancel.

Got a problem?

Got a problem?

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Got a problem?

The Consumer Advice Line is available to all our members for support on any consumer-related issue. Our expert advisers can explain your rights and help you resolve problems with a retailer.

Contact us now

Member comments

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Johanna W.
21 May 2019
Spoilt Perfume

Good evening,
I purchased a bottle of 100 ml perfume direct from a store, it cost approx $160NZD. This was brand new and has been stored in upon spraying this perfume for the first time i realised it has spoilt rotten. I have retained my receipt as I do feel like given the volume (100 ml) it should last at least 3 years. Is this a valid expectations to return for a refund?
Thank you kindly.

Consumer staff
22 May 2019
Re; Spoilt Perfume

Hi Johanna,

It’s a little tricky to advise on your situation without knowing the full circumstances. If you bought the product recently you will be covered under the Consumer Guarantees Act, which states retailers and suppliers must guarantee their goods are of acceptable quality. You can find more information on your rights and what you can do here: https://www.consumer.org.nz/articles/consumer-guarantees-act

If you’re a Consumer member our advisers can provide more personalised advice on 0800 266 786.

Kind regards,

Natalie - Consumer NZ staff

Kirsten L.
18 Mar 2019
Faulty xbox controller

Hi,

I bought an xbox controller less than 12 months ago from EB Games. the controller has gone faulty (won't turn on) and so we took the controller, with the receipt and box, back to EB Games to ask for a remedy. They declined taking responsibility for it. Instead they suggested we approach the manufacturer Microsoft directly. They said that because it has been longer than 6 months
(which happens to coincide with the advertised warranty period) - and that was what they considered a reasonable period to for their obligations under the CGA.

I think they are incorrect in suggesting 6 months is a reasonable period for a controller to work and would like to know what my rights are here.

Consumer staff
19 Mar 2019
Re: Faulty xbox controller

Hi Kirsten,

Unless you’ve damaged the controller in some way (people do tend to throw them when a game goes bad) it should last for at least three years.

Under the Consumer Guarantees Act you may be entitled to a repair, replacement or a refund from EB Games. You can find more information on your rights and the process here: https://www.consumer.org.nz/articles/consumer-guarantees-act

If you’re a Consumer member, our advisers can provide more personalised advice on 0800 266 786.

Kind regards,

Natalie - Consumer NZ staff