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Extended warranties


Fair Trading Act 1986, ss 36T-36W

You have some special protections when you pay more to buy an extended warranty for goods or services. In particular, you have the right to cancel the extended warranty within five working days and get your money back. But having an extended warranty doesn’t mean you don’t have the usual consumer protections. A manufacturer’s warranty is included in the purchase price of every item.

What is a manufacturer’s warranty?

A manufacturer’s warranty is a guarantee that the maker of a product will fix or replace any faulty product for a certain period. It does not have to be written.

What is an “extended warranty”?

Fair Trading Act 1986, s 36T

An extended warranty is where a seller, or someone else such as a manufacturer, provides you with specific warranties, guarantees or undertakings for goods or services that you’re buying, in return for you paying a price that is separate from or additional to the price of the goods or services.

Requirements for the content and form of an extended warranty agreement

Fair Trading Act 1986, s 36U

The person or company providing the extended warranty (the “warrantor”) must make sure that the agreement is in writing and that it’s clear, able to be read, and in plain language. You must be given a copy of it at the time that you buy the warranty.

The agreement must state the total price you’ll have to pay for the extended warranty and all the terms and conditions of the warranty. This includes each side’s rights and obligations, and the warranty’s duration and expiry date (including whether or not it expires when you make a claim under it). The agreement must also be dated.

The following information must be on the front page of the warranty document:

  • a summarised comparison of the automatic guarantees you’re already entitled to, under the Consumer Guarantees Act, with the protections provided under the extended warranty
  • a summary of your rights and remedies under the Consumer Guarantees Act
  • a summary of your right to cancel the warranty (see below, “Your right to cancel the warranty”)
  • the warrantor’s name, street address, phone number and email address.

Before the agreement is entered into, the warrantor must also tell you in spoken words about your right to cancel the warranty and how you go about cancelling. But this requirement applies only if it’s reasonably practicable to do this – for example, if you buy the warranty when you’re in the store buying the goods or service, or if you buy the warranty over the phone.

If a warrantor breaches these requirements, the Commerce Commission can issue them with infringement notice requiring them to pay an infringement fee (a fine), as an alternative to bringing criminal charges.

    Example: Expired manufacturer’s warranty

    Your washing machine broke just after the express one year manufacturer’s warranty expired. The Consumer Guarantees Act’s requirement of acceptable quality still applies and the retailer should pay for the cost of repairs, since a reasonable washing machine should last for longer than one year.

Your right to cancel the warranty

Fair Trading Act 1986, s 36V

You have the right to cancel an extended warranty by giving notice to the warrantor within five working days after the day on which you were given a copy of the warranty. The warrantor must then repay you everything you’ve paid for the warranty, in full and without any deductions.

If the warrantor didn’t comply with the requirements for the content and form of the agreement (see above), you can cancel at any time, not just within the first five working days. But if their failure to comply was only minor, the five-working-day limit still applies – for example, if they were late in giving you a copy of the warranty agreement but this didn’t disadvantage you.

To cancel, you don’t have to follow a particular process or use a particular form or a particular set of words. You can do it in any way that shows you intend to cancel or withdraw from the agreement. This could be in writing or by talking to the seller.

When you cancel, you must contact the warrantor using the contact details given on the warranty or in any other way agreed between you.

    Example: Cancelling an extended warranty

    You buy a phone and pay for an extended warranty in case you drop it. You then realise that this is covered by your contents insurance. You can cancel the extended warranty as long as you do this within five days and get a full refund.

Next Section | Buying online

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Consumer protection

Where to go for more support

Community Law


Your local Community Law Centre can provide free initial legal advice and information.

Consumer Protection


Consumer Protection helpline: 0508 426 678 (0508 4 CONSUMER)

Email: cpinfo@mbie.govt.nz

The Consumer Protection website has useful information on a range of consumer topics. Consumer Protection is part of the Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment (MBIE).



Phone: 0800 345 123

FinCap can help you with budgeting information online or on the phone. They may also suggest a local budgeting service to help you with debt and other budgeting issues.

Consumer NZ


The Consumer NZ website provides a wide range of information on consumer issues and template letters you can use to write to traders to enforce your rights. You can also order “Do Not Knock” stickers to deter uninvited door to door knockers on their website.

Citizens Advice Bureau


Phone: 0800 FOR CAB (0800 367 222)

Citizens Advice Bureaux have volunteers trained in consumer law who can provide you with information and advice about consumer problems.

Commerce Commission


Phone: 0800 943 600

Email: contact@comcom.govt.nz

The Commerce Commission enforces the laws against misleading and deceptive conduct by traders (the Fair Trading Act) and the consumer credit legislation (the Credit Contracts and Consumer Finance Act). The Commission provides information on these areas on its website.

Consumer rights in another language


This site by the Commerce Commission has information about typical situations consumers find themselves in, in five different languages.

Product Recalls


This site lets you know which products have been “recalled” due to safety issues or product defects. You can generally return a recalled product to the place where you bought it to be repaired or replaced.

Motor Vehicle Traders Register


Phone: 0508 MOTOR TRADERS (0508 668 678)

Check to see if a motor vehicle trader is registered.

Motor Vehicle Disputes Tribunal


Phone: 0800 268 787

The Motor Vehicle Disputes Tribunal deals with disputes of amounts up to $100,000. It can be more if both parties agree in writing.

Personal Properties Securities Register (PPSR)


Search the PPSR register to see if there is any security interest registered against a vehicle. This can be done for a small fee by registering to check online

Proceedings in the District Courts

The Ministry of Justice website has information about making or responding to a claim in the District Courts. See: www.justice.govt.nz and search “claims to civil court”.

Buying a car privately

YouthLaw has produced a video on buying a car privately.
See: www.youtube.com/watch?v=aK8irFAn1as

New Zealand Police


Check to make sure a car that you’re considering buying hasn’t been listed with the police as stolen.

Dispute resolution schemes

There are four dispute resolution schemes for consumers dealing with lenders and other credit providers.

Financial Services Complaints Limited – www.fscl.org.nz

Phone: 0800 347 257

Email: info@fscl.org.nz

Insurance & Financial Services Ombudsman
Phone: 0800 888 202

Email: info@ifso.nz

Banking Ombudsman – www.bankomb.org.nz
0800 805 950

Email: help@bankomb.org.nz

Financial Dispute Resolution – www.fdrs.org.nz
0508 337 337

Email: enquiries@fdrs.org.nz

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