4. Know your consumer rights
Just because you’re buying online doesn’t mean you have fewer rights than buying from a physical store. Retailers must replace the item if it arrives damaged and they’ve arranged delivery. I recently purchased three books, and only one arrived as the bag had been ripped in transit. A quick email to the bookseller, and they put the missing two books in the post to me – at their cost.
Check out the Consumer Guarantees Act (CGA), which requires an item to be delivered ‘within a reasonable time’ and to be ‘of acceptable quality’ and ‘free of defects’ (when bought from a New Zealand business or trade). Even if you’ve purchased a product at a reduced price, if it’s faulty, the retailer has to repair it, replace it or refund your money.
If you’re unhappy with the product or something has gone wrong with the order or delivery, it’s often a useful tactic to complain on the retailer’s social media pages.
If the item was bought from an overseas retailer, your rights will vary depending on the country’s consumer protection laws. In New Zealand, we have the Fair Trading Act and CGA. If you have a complaint that can’t be resolved directly with the retailer, you’ll need to take it to the Disputes Tribunal, which aims to hear all hearings within six weeks.