Consumer protection and the CGA

Published: 15 March 2024

Today marks World Consumer Rights Day, and the Consumer Protection team at the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment wants to remind New Zealanders of the protections and guarantees they can expect when purchasing goods and services in New Zealand.

“It has been 30 years since the Consumer Guarantees Act (CGA) came into effect in New Zealand,” says Business Specialist Ian Caplin, Consumer Protection.

“We all have fundamental guarantees from that Act that mean we can have added confidence in the things we buy.

“Above and beyond warranties or other guarantees from businesses, the Consumer Guarantees Act gives power to the people when products or services are unsafe or faulty, differ from how they were described, or are just not reasonably fit for purpose.

“The CGA covers anything you may buy for your personal use, from cars to cosmetics and everything in between.

According to New Zealand Consumer Survey 2022 almost all New Zealanders know they have these guarantees under the CGA, but less than half of New Zealanders understand them well, or know how to use them.

“New Zealanders really want the best for their dollar,” says Ian.

“The CGA is a basic minimum protection that means that we get that. If a product or service you purchase fails to meet one or more of these guarantees, the CGA gives you the right to seek a remedy – to either repair, replace, or receive a refund from the business.

“Where the retailer and the consumer are unable to agree on a remedy, New Zealanders can ask for assistance from advocates such as Citizens Advice Bureau and should not be shy about making a claim with the Disputes Tribunal.

“It’s less formal than a court, and lawyer free. The Disputes Tribunal is a system where a referee will consider whether it is appropriate to help parties reach a settlement on a case-by-case basis or make a decision on the dispute. It’s a real and practical option for people to use if needed.

“We have guidance and information on the rights and obligations of businesses around the CGA or our website, and also a quiz and tools to help consumers ensure their guarantees and rights are upheld under the CGA.”

To access these tools and for more information, go to:

Consumer protection website(external link)

MBIE media contact