When buying food at a cafe or restaurant, all prices displayed on a menu or on any signage should include GST. Surcharges, such as for using a credit card, must also be made clear.

Some restaurants allow you to bring your own wine (BYO) but you will probably be charged a corkage fee. This fee should be clearly displayed in the restaurant or on the menu.

Tipping is optional. There should be no tips shown on the bill, however feel free to tip anyway.


Businesses sometimes add surcharges, for example on public holidays to cover additional costs such as increased staff wages. Surcharges should always be clearly and accurately disclosed. You should be told about the surcharge, and what it covers, upfront so you can make a decision about whether you are prepared to pay it or buy elsewhere.

On public holidays businesses also need to be careful not to mislead you about the reasons for the surcharge. For example, a business must not claim it is applying a surcharge on Easter Sunday because it is a public holiday. This would be inaccurate because the only public holidays over the Easter weekend are Good Friday and Easter Monday.

Accommodation should be as it was represented to you when you booked it – for example a room advertised to have a queen bed or a sea view should have those things. If there is a significant difference, you should raise it as an issue as soon as possible. You should also alert management at the start of your stay if there is anything missing from or damaged in your room.

If you haven't broken or taken anything, you should not be charged anything above the price quoted at the time of booking and the cost of any other purchases made during your stay, such as WiFi access or mini-bar snacks.

If you're booking accommodation online, you should be able to rely on the pricing and availability details being accurate and up to date. An accommodation provider could be breaking the law if, having had your booking initially confirmed at a set price online, you are then told the price quoted is not current.

Make sure you read the provider's terms and conditions to see what the cancellation policy is. Often these differ between providers.

When booking flights it is a good idea to shop around and check different websites for the best price and flight option.

Ensure you read the fine print of any ads, as sometimes advertised specials can only be for set travel periods.

You should be able to pay the advertised price of the flight, however there may be other options offered such as baggage, meals and paying by credit that attract an additional charge. When completing your purchase check there are no other charges added that you are not aware of, such as insurance that you may not need or want. Check for any pre-ticked boxes for options you do not want.

The term 'duty-free' implies that goods are cheaper because government imposed import duties do not apply. Make sure you compare prices with domestic stores before you buy as other general sales may work out cheaper.

If you're hiring a rental car, taking the bus, or catching a taxi, make sure you know all the costs upfront before booking or paying.

Businesses must clearly identify any additional costs or charges before you buy. This includes things like insurance cover, charges for driving to the airport, booking fees or GST.

If you are renting a car, check what is on the rental agreement such as insurance excess costs and whether you are able to have more than one driver.

Visit the Consumer Protection website for guidance on renting cars and small passenger services.

Taxis and other small passenger services

Drivers of taxis, shuttles, dial a driver, private hire vehicles and ride-sharing services like Uber are regulated by the New Zealand Transport Authority (NZTA) and drivers must have a current 'P' endorsement on their license.

Taxi drivers must also hold and display a current photo driver identification card.

Read more on the Consumer Protection website.