Buying online is a convenient way to shop, giving you access to a wide range of products and services.
But you can't inspect products before buying so it can be hard to judge the quality and authenticity of a product, and to check if the product claims are true. Items bought online may not be delivered and it can be difficult to work through issues with the seller if things go wrong.
Your consumer rights
Your consumer rights are the same whether you buy online or in a store. The law applies to all traders who advertise or sell to New Zealand consumers, even if the trader is based outside of New Zealand.
Traders who sell online must also make it clear that they are in trade, so that consumers know they are protected under the Fair Trading Act and the Consumer Guarantees Act.
What you need to know
There are a few things you can do to help ensure you have a good experience when buying online.
Do your research
Has anyone you know bought from this site – what was their experience?
Look at online reviews and feedback. Remember that it can be hard to confirm if reviews are authentic and unbiased – a seller could pay for good reviews, or select only positive reviews to display on their website.
Search for information about the trader or site such as their location or parent company – if a website has a .co.nz web address it does not mean they are based in New Zealand.
Search online and compare prices with similar products.
Look at our Buyer Beware page or Scamwatch for any consumer alerts about traders or sales practices to be wary of.
To see other guidance on your rights with online sales, privacy policies and daily deal or group buying websites visit the Consumer Protection website.
We enforce the Fair Trading Act which gives consumers rights and sets rules businesses must comply with. The Commission can investigate a business and take enforcement action where the rules have been broken.