When you buy online you are still protected by the Fair Trading Act and the Consumers Guarantees Act, just like any other sale. This includes sales from Facebook Marketplace and other social media, auction sites like Trade Me, websites and text messaging. The seller must disclose their trader status online.
How to tell if someone is in “trade” and not a private person
These factors suggest that someone is a trader:
- they regularly sell goods or services
- they make or buy goods with the intention of selling them
- they are GST registered
- they have staff to help with sales
- they have a limited liability company.
Your rights when buying from NZ business
If you buy from a New Zealand business, you are able to get refunds, repairs or replacements under the Consumer Guarantees Act. If you purchased the goods using a debit or credit card online and your goods don’t arrive, you can ask your bank to reverse the payment (“chargeback”).
Your rights when buying from an overseas business
If you buy from an overseas business, your options are more limited. For example, if you pay by credit card but don’t receive the items, you could get your money back by asking your bank for a “chargeback” where they reverse the transaction. But you can’t do this if you change your mind about the purchase.
Where can I go if I want to complain?
Firstl you should contact the trader and see if you can resolve matters. Some businesses, like Trade Me, have a dispute resolution process available. Otherwise, you can go to the Disputes Tribunal, or to the Commerce Commission if there were false or misleading misrepresentations made.