If You Are Sent Faulty Goods, Fight For Your Consumer Rights!
The law includes provisions to protect consumers, so if you buy something and it turns out to be lower quality than you expected, or faulty, then you can send it back and get a refund or an exchange.
Many consumers either don’t realise this, or choose not to pursue it for fear of ‘making a fuss’. They do not stand-up for their consumer rights. This is a bad way to do things, because it means that not only will they not get the product that they paid for, but since the store does not hear about people taking up the guarantee, they have no way of knowing that there is something wrong with the product.
Your guarantee rights are an important part of the world of trade. You are entitled to know that the product you are buying is one that will perform as expected. You are entitled to get something that works, first try, and to get a replacement if it breaks during normal use, after a relatively short period of time.
Your guarantee rights are something that you should learn, and that you should be vocal about. Many stores will try to brush you off because their front desk employees don’t understand the law. You should be politely persistent, and try to get the refund that you know you deserve.
If you can’t get a satisfactory response from the front-line staff, ask for a manager. If the manager won’t accept your case, and you are dealing with a chain-store, take the complaint to the head office.
If you can’t get a response from the retailer and it is a brand name product, contact the manufacturer. They will usually tell you that your first port of call should be the retailer, but if you have had no joy from the retailer they might be able to help you.
Be persistent, and know that you are in your rights to push for the product to be refunded or replaced.
Your consumer rights may include distance selling rights to return products that you bought sight unseen if you change your mind, but this varies from state to state and country to country so it is important that you do your homework before you buy something online or from a mail order catalog. Don’t just assume that you can send things back if you change your mind.
It is your responsibility to do your homework when you are planning purchases, and it is your responsibility to look at what you are buying and where it comes from. If you are unhappy with something, speak up because it will benefit you and others who buy from the same company. Most stores will be eager to make things right and they may even give you more than just a small refund or exchange – providing goodwill vouchers or a better version of the product as a thank you for your feedback.
For people living in Auckland McVeagh Fleming is a well known Auckland consumer guarantees lawyer.
For information on consumer rights, go to this NZ government site.