Commerce Commission issues guidance on consumer rights and business obligations

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Just a few weeks ago, we were booking holidays, buying goods online, and signing up to gym memberships. The Commerce Commission has now released some guidance to help both consumers and businesses understand their rights and obligations.

For most, whether a customer is entitled to a refund or a credit will depend on the terms of the contract. There can also be different rights depending on whether the contract has been unable to be performed as a result of the Government’s measures in response to COVID-19 (whether the lockdown, border closures, or otherwise), or whether the contract has been cancelled pre-emptively, based on an assumption that it won’t be able to be performed.

Consumers and businesses also have the option of trying to negotiate a change to the contract, such as delaying delivery rather than cancelling, or extending the end date of an annual membership. However, businesses should be wary of imposing a unilateral change on their customers, as this may result in a breach of the Fair Trading Act.

A copy of the Commerce Commission’s guidance is available here.

If you have any questions, or would like any more information, please contact a member of our corporate and commercial team.


Disclaimer: The content of this article is general in nature and not intended as a substitute for specific professional advice on any matter and should not be relied upon for that purpose. While we make every effort to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this article, this is a rapidly changing environment and the information will be subject to change.

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