The Report is one of the initiatives undertaken by the Commission to better understand the potential issues facing New Zealand consumers and where there is likely to be the greatest harm.

Commissioner Anna Rawlings said the report takes a detailed look at the 7,452 complaints the Commission received during the financial year and describes a range of trends.

“Retail telecommunications remains the most complained about industry, though complaint levels are relatively flat year on year. Online sales generated nearly a quarter of all Fair Trading Act complaints, highlighting the growing size of this market and the challenges for consumers purchasing goods from overseas-based companies in particular. Both the telco and online retail sectors are priority focus areas for us,” Ms Rawlings said.

The Commission has also seen an increase in consumer complaints relating to online ticket resellers, primarily Viagogo, and motor vehicle dealers.

“Issues relating to motor vehicle sales have increased by 17% year on year. The majority of complaints are about second hand sales and are spread across a wide range of traders. This sector is one of our 2018/19 priority focus areas that we will be targeting through both enforcement and increased education,” Ms Rawlings said.   

In relation to consumer credit, complaints continue to be received about issues such as irresponsible lending, debt collection and the reasonableness of fees.

“We are continuing to focus on compliance with consumer credit laws and are prioritising the investigation of irresponsible lending practices because of the significant harm it can cause already vulnerable consumers,” Ms Rawlings said.

“In the competition area we have also noted a rise in complaints regarding regional ports, primarily relating to the conduct of ports in competitive markets for the supply of services. We are looking into some of the allegations raised and will be maintaining a close watch on this sector over the next year.”

The full report and infographic illustrating the key findings can be found on the Commission’s website.