Fair Trading Act fact sheets

The Commerce Commission publishes factsheets and guidelines for businesses and consumers wanting to better understand their obligations and rights under the Fair Trading Act.

In an effort to help your business comply with the Fair Trading Act, the Commission has produced the DVD An Evening with the Fair Trading Act and other compliance resources, to be used as part of your compliance programme.

To order a DVD contact the Commission at contact@comcom.govt.nz or watch the DVD on the Commission's Youtube channel at http://www.youtube.com/commercecommission

Other guidelines cover:

These publications are guidelines only, and reflect the Commerce Commission's view. They are not intended to be definitive, and should not be used instead of legal advice. Only the courts can make an authoritative ruling on breaches of the Fair Trading Act.

Changes to the Fair Trading Act

The Fair Trading Amendment Act 2013, which was passed into law on 18 December 2013, modernises New Zealand consumer law, better reflecting the digital and commercial world we live in and aligning New Zealand and Australian consumer law. Over the next few months we will be providing more information, including new fact sheets, on our website about what the changes mean and what businesses need to do to comply.

Read more >

Electricity and the Commerce Commission's role

This page gives an overview of the Commerce Commission's role in the electricity industry. It is designed to give consumers an understanding of what we can and can't do under the Fair Trading and Commerce Acts.

Read more >

What is the Fair Trading Act ...

Read more

Buying goods and services in New Zealand: Know your rights

Anyone buying goods or services in New Zealand is protected by consumer laws. As a consumer, it's important you know your rights.

Read more

Misleading consumers about their rights

It is an offence under the Fair Trading Act to mislead a consumer about their contractual or legal rights.

Read more

Pro-Forma Invoicing, Inertia Selling and other Unfair Sales Techniques

Billing without the 'buyer' having agreed to purchase the good or service is known as pro-forma invoicing or false billing. Inertia selling is the practice of providing goods or services to people who have not requested them. Businesses must not request nor accept payment for goods or services if they don't intend to supply them. Any claims made that goods or services are needed must be based on fact.

Read more

Claiming You're Something You're not

Any claims made to bolster the image of a business or its products or services must be accurate.

Read more

Jargon, Exaggerations and Puffery

Any claims made should be in plain language and should be clear and unambiguous.

Read more

Special Offers and Competitions

Businesses that, when promoting or selling goods or services, offer gifts or prizes they do not intend to provide, or do not intend to provide as offered, will breach the Fair Trading Act.

Read more

Debt Collecting

There will be times when customers do not pay on time for the goods or services provided. When a business, or a collection agency working on its behalf, seeks to recover debts, it must take care to comply with the law.

Read more

Fine Print

The overall impression on a potential customer is important. Fine print shouldn't change the main offer in any way, or be used to conceal important information.

Read more

Bait Advertising

Businesses which advertise goods or services at a particular price must supply those goods or services at that price for a reasonable or stated period and in reasonable or stated quantities.

Read more

Place of Origin Representations

Many customers prefer to buy New Zealand-made products. Whether a product can be called New Zealand made is a question of fact and degree and depends on the extent to which the individual components of the product were actually made in New Zealand.

Read more

Health and nutrition claims

Consumers are often unable to verify claims about health and nutrition products. They need to be able to rely on the information provided in order to make an informed decision.

Read more

Environmental Claims

Environmental claims are increasingly used as a point of difference in marketing. It is an area in which consumers can easily be misled. You should be able to substantiate any environmental claim you make.

Also see Guidelines for Green Marketing (PDF) and Guidelines on Carbon Claims (PDF).

Read more

Online Selling

This fact sheet provides an overview of some of the techniques businesses use when selling goods or services over the internet. It is designed to give both businesses and consumers an understanding of how the Fair Trading Act applies to online selling.

Read more

Use of Agents and Telemarketers

Your business is responsible for anything staff or agents say about the product or service. You need to make sure they are not making any misrepresentations.

Read more

Add-Ons and Hidden Fees

You must clearly identify the full cost to purchase a product or service, so that consumers can make an informed decision whether to purchase.

Read more

Comparative Advertising

If you are comparing your product and price with a competitor make sure you are comparing like with like.

Read more

Pyramid Selling and Multi-Level Marketing Claims

Pyramid selling schemes are prohibited by the Fair Trading Act because they are unfair and it is also common that many recruits are misled about the likely financial returns.

Read more

Pricing

This fact sheet provides an overview of the types of pricing techniques a business might use when promoting goods or services. It is designed to give both businesses and consumers an understanding of how the Fair Trading Act applies to pricing.

Read more

Telecommunications Product Bundling Guidelines

These guidelines are intended to help telecommunications retailers better understand the Commerce Commission's application of the Fair Trading Act in relation to the disclosure of bundled telecommunications products.

Read more

Prepaid phone card industry guidelines

These guidelines outline the Commission’s view of how the Fair Trading Act applies to advertising of prepaid phone cards. It is designed to give prepaid phone card companies a better understanding of how to comply with the Act.

Read more

Health sector fact sheets

The health series of fact sheets is designed to help health professionals work within competition and consumer laws.

Read more