Cabinet Approves Consumer Law Reform Bill

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Minister of Consumer Affairs John Boscawen was today pleased to announce that the Consumer Law Reform Bill has been approved by Cabinet and will be tabled in Parliament for consideration when the House reconvenes early next month.

“ACT and National in Government are committed to ensuring that New Zealand consumer law is effective and workable.  The Consumer Law Reform Bill delivers on that commitment,” Mr Boscawen said.

“This Bill represents the most significant changes to New Zealand’s consumer laws in more than 20 years.  It will bring much-needed clarity in an era of online shopping, extended warranties and self-checkouts.  It will strengthen consumers’ rights and simplify business compliance by replacing seven existing consumer laws with updated Consumer Guarantees, Fair Trading, and Weights and Measures Acts – as well as a new Auctioneers Act that sets a licensing regime for auctioneers.

“Some of the key changes include: extending the Disputes Tribunal’s jurisdiction to cover complaints about misleading and deceptive conduct; subjecting all new goods sold via auctions – and all goods sold by professional traders through online auction sites – to the acceptable quality provisions of the Consumer Guarantees Act; prohibiting unsubstantiated claims and requiring traders and retailers to ensure their claims are valid; and reconsidering how the Consumer Guarantees Act could apply to electricity and carrier services.

“The Consumer Law Reform will reduce costs and confusion, and make it easier for consumers and businesses to understand their rights and obligations.

“Strong and relevant consumer legislation is important for both consumers and businesses.  These changes will allow consumers to shop with greater confidence and, for business, will help to create a level playing field where reputable suppliers are protected from the inappropriate market conduct of unscrupulous competitors,” Mr Boscawen said.

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