Problems after the sale 

The retailer replaced my TV when it broke down during the manufacturer's warranty period. Do I get a new warranty with my replacement TV?

Normally the Manufacturer’s Warranty starts from the date of the original purchase, so you’ll only have whatever time was left on the warranty for the original item. However the Consumer Guarantees Act still applies to the replacement item and you have all the rights that you are entitled to when you buy something new.

We also have information about extended warranties.

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What can I do if I bought the wrong kind of item, such as a computer game which isn’t compatible with my game console?

It is going to depend on the situation. 

If the product turned out to be different from what it was advertised as being, you would be entitled to a refund or replacement. Under the Consumer Guarantees Act goods have to match their description.

If you bought the item on the advice of a salesperson at the shop after telling them what kind of item you required (eg a computer game that is compatible with a specific games console), then in this situation you would also be entitled to a refund or replacement.

If it was your mistake and you picked up the wrong kind of item or did not read the specifications on the package correctly, and the salesperson did not know what you required, then the shop does not have to give you a refund. However, it is worth checking with them as they may exchange it for something else if the item is still in its original packaging and unused condition.

You can read more about returning goods.

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I broke something in a shop and they want me to pay for it - but there were no signs warning me of their policy about this. Is that legal?

A shop does not need to display a sign that tells customers they are liable for the cost of breakages they have caused. If you cause damage to an item in a shop because you weren’t being careful, then you are obliged to pay for the damage.

If it wasn’t your fault, for example if you were pushed by a crowd against a stand of glasses, then you might not have to pay - but you do have to take reasonable care when you are in a shop (and if your children break something then you would have to compensate the shop for their breakage too).

If it was the shop’s fault, for example the shop was cluttered and hard to move around in; you may not have to pay. If you don’t agree to pay then the shop can make a claim against you in the Disputes Tribunal.

More about this is on the Consumer Protection website.

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I am visiting from overseas. Can I claim my GST back when I leave?

There is no provision for a refund of goods and services tax (GST) for travellers in New Zealand.

More information about this is on the Customs New Zealand website.

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What are my rights if I buy a parallel import and it turns out to be faulty?

Parallel importing is when a retailer or wholesaler buys goods directly from overseas to sell in New Zealand, rather than from a local supplier, licensee or agent.

This allows the retailer or wholesaler to sell the goods to consumers at cheaper prices. For example, a business such as The Warehouse could buy Sony products in Malaysia and sell them in New Zealand for a cheaper price than a licensed Sony retailer in New Zealand would. This is legal, but the goods have to be genuine – not counterfeits or fakes.

As long as you bought the goods from a New Zealand retailer then you have the rights you normally would under the Consumer Guarantees Act and the Fair Trading Act

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I returned my phone to the retailer because it’s faulty, and they charged me an inspection fee! Are they allowed to do that?

Retailers are responsible for remedying faulty goods under the Consumer Guarantees Act (CGA), either by fixing the problem or replacing the phone. The retailer must do this regardless of any warranty that came with the phone. The CGA says that goods must be durable and last for a reasonable amount of time. The definition of reasonable will depend on the price you paid for the item and how long ago you bought it.

However some retailers charge an inspection fee to assess whether an item is faulty - and therefore covered under the CGA. If the good is faulty then they refund that fee to you, and remedy the faulty phone.

The Telecommunications Disputes Resolution (TDR) has stated that companies should not charge customers a fee for assessing a mobile phone for damage. If you bought the phone from a member of the TDR scheme and don’t think you should have to pay an inspection fee, you can complain to TDR.

Visit our Complaints and Disputes pages for how to proceed if you and the retailer can’t agree on the issue.

You can find out more on our Returning goods page and our Getting goods fixed page.