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Consumers more certain of their rights - survey

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Results of the New Zealand Consumer Survey 2020, released today, found that nearly all consumers are aware that laws exist to protect their consumer rights, and tested knowledge of these rights has improved over the past two years.

The survey was commissioned by Consumer Protection, part of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, to find out what New Zealanders know about their rights and their experiences of dealing with problems.

The survey was responded to by around 1700 consumers aged 18 years or over.

The 2020 survey is the third in the series which also enables reporting on emerging trends.

MBIE National Manager, Consumer Protection Mark Hollingsworth says more consumers correctly answering questions designed to assess practical knowledge of their consumer rights is encouraging, however there is still room for even more improvement.

“Around half of Kiwis do not know that if your fridge breaks down a month or so after the manufacturer’s 12-month warranty runs out, the store usually still has to sort it free of charge; or if you buy something online from a website that ends in .co.nz it might not be a New Zealand based business.”

In 2020, 26 per cent of consumers answered at least six out of ten true or false statements correctly compared to 19 per cent in 2018.

The survey also found that 49 per cent of consumers report experiencing a problem with something they had purchased in the past two years.

Twenty-six per cent of those who experienced a consumer issue said Covid-19 or the lockdown caused the problem or made it worse.

Notably, Covid-19 is more likely to have impacted travel and holiday services over other product or service categories.

“Almost three-quarters of consumers report taking action to try and resolve their most recent problem – and this has been trending upwards since 2016,” says Hollingsworth.

“Consumers should feel empowered to seek a resolution if things go wrong, and most businesses will do the right thing. This means being able to recognise when there is a genuine problem and asking businesses to make things right. There are remedies available and consumers need to know how to make use of them.”

Consumers can visit the Consumer Protection website to find out more about their rights, transacting confidently, and how to resolve issues at www.consumerprotection.govt.nz

The full New Zealand Consumer Survey 2020 findings and supporting infographic can be found here.

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