Consumer Law Reform Bill To Go Before ParliamentConsumer Affairs
Minister of Consumer Affairs John Boscawen today announced that a Consumer Law Reform Bill to strengthen consumers' rights and simplify business compliance will be introduced to Parliament later this year.
"The Consumer Law Reform Bill represents the most significant changes to consumer laws in more than two decades and brings much-needed clarity in an era of online shopping, extended warranties and self-checkouts," Mr Boscawen said
"Under the Consumer Law Reform, seven existing consumer laws will be replaced by updated and more understandable Consumer Guarantees, Fair Trading, and the Weights and Measures Acts.
"Some of the key changes include:
- The Disputes Tribunal jurisdiction will be extended to cover complaints about misleading and deceptive conduct.
- New goods sold via auctions - and all goods sold via online auction sites - will be subject to the acceptable quality provisions of the Consumer Guarantees Act.
- A prohibition on making unsubstantiated claims will require trader and retailers to take steps to ensure their claims are valid.
- Rules surrounding direct sales, such as door-to-door or telemarketing sales, will apply to all types of transactions, including cash or credit. This used to apply to credit agreements only.
- Auctioneers will have to be registered and will have to meet a number of minimum standards, included accounting for the proceeds of an auction, displaying their licence and complying with the law.
- Carrier services, such as couriers, will be subject to the Consumer Guarantees Act.
"These changes will reduce costs and confusion, and make it easier for consumers and businesses to understand their rights and obligations.
"The Bill will also strengthen the enforcement powers of Government agencies, allowing faster and more effective action to remove unsafe products from the market. It will give courts new powers to ban individuals who repeatedly breach consumer laws.
"Strong and relevant consumer legislation is important for both consumers and businesses. These changes will allow consumers to shop with greater confidence and, for businesses, will help to create a level-playing field where reputable suppliers are protected from the inappropriate market conduct of competitors.
"National and ACT in Government are committed to ensuring that New Zealand has effective, workable consumer laws, and removing those that are no longer relevant or useful. The Consumer Law Reform is part of the Regulatory Reform Agenda, and we hope the changes it implements will be in place by the end of the year following consideration by Parliament," Mr Boscawen said.
For more information on the Consumer Law Reform visit www.consumeraffairs.govt.nz/legislation-policy/policy-development/consumer-law-reform.