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Consumer Advice Line

Got a consumer issue?

The Consumer Advice Line is available on 0800 266 786 and info@consumer.org.nz to all our paying members for any consumer-related issue. Our expert advisers can explain your rights and help you resolve problems if you’ve got a problem with a retailer or service provider.

How it works

As a paying member you can contact our Advice Line by phone or email for advice about your rights under relevant consumer law and we’ll help you present your issue to the business or other party involved. If a satisfactory solution can’t be reached and we believe your rights are being breached, we’ll provide advice on your options.

What kinds of problems?

We can provide advice on things like returns, repairs, replacements, refunds and warranties in relation to whiteware, electronics, heating, carpet, cars, hearing aids and much more.

Here are some examples of ways we have helped our members:

Lay-by fees breach sales rules
Consumer member Steve Strawbridge started a lay-by with Bike Barn and later discovered a $30 service fee had been added to the price of his new bike. When he queried the charge, Steve says the store manager told him it was set by head office and the store couldn’t do anything about it. Our consumer adviser Maggie Edwards told Steve retailers shouldn’t be loading fees on to lay-bys. Armed with this advice, Steve contacted Bike Barn’s head office and was refunded his $30.

Door-to-door sales tactics alarming
A sales rep from home alarm systems company Vivint knocked on the door of 82-year-old Peter and talked him into having a system installed. Peter’s contract with Vivint required him to pay an activation fee plus $57.49 a month for 42 months, a cost of more than $2500. In hindsight, Peter said he didn’t really need Vivint’s service and felt annoyed and disappointed at the way he’d been treated so he contacted us for advice. Our consumer advisers told him he had the right under the Fair Trading Act to cancel the agreement. Peter promptly cancelled his agreement with Vivint and his money was refunded.

Daily deal site forgets consumer law
Julie contacted us because the charger for a tablet computer she’d bought off 1-day.co.nz 13 months earlier had started smoking. A customer service rep for the daily deal website had told Julie the 12-month warranty had expired and suggested she take it to a local repairer. Consumer adviser Maggie recommended Julie write to 1-Day pointing out it responsibilities under the Consumer Guarantees Act. 1-Day’s response to Julie this time was very different. The company apologised for the problems she had experienced and took back the tablet for assessment. Julie was later provided with a full refund.

Some common questions

My appliance or other product has broken down, but it’s out of warranty.

We suggest reading about the Consumer Guarantees Act to determine your rights. Our articles on Appliance life expectancy, Extended warranties and Disputes Tribunals may also be helpful.

I’m having problems with my telco provider.

Under the Consumer Guarantees Act, service providers must make certain guarantees. To find out if your consumer rights have been breached, read more about the CGA.

The Telecommunication Dispute Resolution provides a free service for resolving complaints about telecommunications companies. It’s also possible to take your dispute to a Disputes Tribunal.

I’ve had a problem after buying something from a NZ-based online auction.

We suggest looking into your rights when buying goods from an online auction. If you end up with goods that fall well short of what was advertised, try to sort things out with the seller first. If that fails, your next step is usually the Disputes Tribunal.

I’ve had a problem after buying something from an overseas website.

I’m having trouble with my bank.

All financial services providers must belong to a financial dispute-resolution scheme. They’re also required to have their own internal complaints process. Read more about financial-services complaints procedures.

My gift card has expired.

Please see our advice on buying or using gift cards.

I’m moving house and would like advice on moving companies.

You can read about damaged or late goods here. You can also lodge a dispute with a Disputes Tribunal.

I’m having trouble with a neighbour.

There are a number of laws that may assist you in neighbourhood disputes. If you can’t reach an agreement with your neighbours, your best option may be to take your dispute to a Disputes Tribunal.

I am a small business and I am having trouble with one of my suppliers.

Unfortunately we can’t help you with a business problem if you are also a business. Try contacting a Disputes Tribunal.