Promises about the price 

If a retailer tells me a price for goods but it turns out it’s an incorrect price, do I have to pay the higher correct price?

Yes, you have to pay the correct higher price if you still wish to buy the goods. A consumer can’t insist on buying the goods at the advertised or displayed price. The law allows a retailer to make a genuine mistake but if you think that you have been deliberately misled or the trader continues to advertise the goods at an incorrect price then you might be able to claim compensation under the Fair Trading Act (see our Complaints and Disputes pages for more about this).
If you think a retailer is consistently advertising in a misleading way you should contact the Commerce Commission.

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A retailer is asking me for additional payment because they accidentally undercharged me, do I have to pay?

If the sale has been completed, i.e. you have already paid you are under no obligation to pay more if you have underpaid unless you knew that you had been undercharged and the price was a lot less than it should have been.

So for example if you paid $100 for a $110 pair of shoes you don’t have an obligation to pay the extra $10, but if you paid $99 for a TV that was supposed to be $999 then you need to pay the extra. If goods are being advertised at an exceptionally low price, it’s worth double-checking the price with the retailer in case it’s a mistake, just to avoid the inconvenience of having to sort it out later.

If you aren’t sure of your rights or obligations contact your local CAB

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The item I bought was advertised as being on special, but now I’ve seen it cheaper at other shops, what can I do?

Sales, discounts and specials must be genuine otherwise businesses are breaching the Fair Trading Act. This means that any discounts or specials must be a genuine reduction from the price that the good is normally sold at. A claim that something is discounted or on special may be misleading if:

  • The retailer has never charged the ‘usual price’
  • The retailer charged an inflated ‘usual price’ so that they could subsequently claim they were providing a discount.
  • The ‘usual price’ is out of date e.g. the good has not been commonly sold at the ‘usual price’ for some time.

If you suspect that your ‘special’ wasn’t so special go back to the retailer and see if they will give you a further discount. You can also report it to the Commerce Commission if you think the retailer was not offering a genuine special.

If the special was genuine then the retailer does not have any obligation to you even if you have seen the same thing cheaper elsewhere.

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I bought something on a daily deal site, but now I’m having problems, what can I do?

Daily deal  sites have become very popular, but it’s worth taking the time to check that you are actually getting a deal. Check out alternative suppliers first to make sure the ‘special’ you are being offered is actually a special.

Goods and services sold on these sites are covered by the Consumer Guarantees Act, so goods must be of acceptable quality and services must be provided with reason skill and care, and in a reasonable time.

If your goods haven’t arrived in a reasonable time, contact the provider for a refund.

If you’re finding it hard to make an appointment (e.g. for a restaurant or hairdressing voucher) before your voucher expires then you can ask for a refund or for the service to be provided after the expiry time for the voucher. If they refuse then they are breaching the Fair Trading Act by taking your payment without providing the service.

There's more information about daily deal sites on the Commerce Commission website.

If the deal site tells you that you have to deal with the supplier tell them that under the Fair Trading Act the deal site and the supplier are equally responsible for putting things right.

You may find it useful to pay by credit card so that you can get a chargeback from the credit card company if you run into problems.

If you can’t reach an agreement to solve your problem you can take both the deal site and the provider to the Disputes Tribunal.

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Does the price have to include Goods and Services Tax (GST)?

The Goods and Services Tax, GST, is a tax on most goods and services in New Zealand. It is charged at a rate of 15%. Prices quoted for consumer goods and services normally include GST. If the GST is not included in the price then this has to be made clear to the consumer.

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Is it legal for a retailer to charge its customers a fee for using EFTPOS to pay small amounts?

Retailers can choose to charge a fee for using EFTPOS, as long as they tell you this before you pay for the goods. This information could be given verbally or by clear signage if it is unattended, for example at a petrol pump.

Retailers can also choose not to give you additional cash unless you make a minimum purchase. Dairies and convenience stores often operate like this.