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Consumer law

Failing to comply with your consumer law obligations can have significant consequences for your business. You could face prosecution, fines, damage to your reputation, loss of profits, and a lot of wasted staff time. Kensington Swan can assist you to comply with the Fair Trading Act and other consumer legislation.

Advice for businesses

Whether you are a provider of goods or services, or involved in marketing or promotional activities, Kensington Swan can help you identify and understand your legal obligations, assisting with compliance under:

  • the Fair Trading Act
  • the Consumer Guarantees Act
  • the Sale of Goods Act
  • the Commerce Act

Industry-specific legislation

Depending on the industry in which your business operates, obligations may also arise under more specific legislation, such as the Carriage of Goods Act, the Motor Vehicle Sales Act, the Second-Hand Dealers Act, or the Medicines Act.

Where licensing regimes are in place, failure to comply with obligations under industry-specific legislation may result in the loss of your licence and potentially your ability to carry on business.

It is important to remember that ignorance is not a defence, and the fact that no breach was intended may be of no help either. Kensington Swan’s consumer law specialists can assist you with assessing and defending alleged breaches of consumer law.

Electronic marketing and promotion

Increasingly, promotional activity and marketing messages are being delivered via internet sites, emails, and text messages. Businesses need to comply with obligations arising under the Privacy Act (which regulates how personal information is collected, stored and used), the Unsolicited Electronic Messages Act (which regulates the sending of electronic messages such as texts, facsimiles, and emails), and the Gambling Act (which restricts the manner in which promotions can be structured).

Breaches in these areas are often widely reported and may result in substantial damage to brand or reputation. Kensington Swan can advise you on your obligations so you can reduce the risk of these adverse consequences arising.

Industry guidelines and codes

Not all obligations are found in legislation. Voluntary bodies also play a role in regulating how goods and services are advertised and provided. The Advertising Standards Authority, for example, publishes codes of conduct and hears complaints for alleged breaches of those codes.

Kensington Swan regularly assists clients who are subject to review by the Advertising Standards Complaints Board. We also help businesses to identify and interpret the guidelines and codes specific to their industry, such as those set by Medicines New Zealand in the prescription medicines arena.

Advice for consumers

If you are a purchaser or consumer of goods or services, Kensington Swan can help you identify and exercise your legal rights. Where appropriate, we can also help you to obtain a remedy.

Consumer law services

Our consumer law experts can help:

  • advising on specific matters as they arise, such as customer complaints
  • preparing compliance programmes
  • reviewing promotional material and advertising, for print, radio, and television
  • drafting and reviewing commercial contracts, including terms and conditions of trade, supply agreements, and distribution agreements
  • responding to complaints to, and investigations by, the Commerce Commission and the Advertising Standards Authority
  • reviewing product labelling
  • drafting and reviewing terms for competitions and other forms of sales promotions
  • providing advice on proposed changes to legislation and drafting submissions on behalf of clients.

Recent experience

Clients we regularly advise on matters relating to consumer law include Tourism New Zealand, Johnson & Johnson, and Harvey Norman.

Consumer Law Reform

Substantial amendments to key aspects of Fair Trading and Consumer law were enacted at the end of 2013. The reforms include amendments to the Fair Trading Act, Consumer Guarantees Act, Weights and Measures Act, Carriage of Goods Act, Second-hand Dealers and Pawnbrokers Act and the introduction of a new Auctioneers Act. We are advising clients such as wholesalers, retailers and carriers on the effect of the changes on their businesses and what they need to do to comply with the new legislation. 

For more information, click here to read an article on these changes.

Commerce Commission investigations

We assist a wide range of clients in responding to investigations by the Commerce Commission in respect of alleged breaches of the Fair Trading Act. Our assistance includes advising on obligations and identifying whether a breach has occurred, responding to the Commerce Commission on the client’s behalf, negotiating satisfactory outcomes between the parties, and assisting the client with practice changes (if required) to reduce the likelihood of further Commerce Commission investigations.

Advertising Standards Authority investigations

We regularly assist clients who are subject to complaints to the Advertising Standards Complaints Board. Our assistance includes reviewing and advising on the promotional material the subject of the complaint, and responding to the Advertising Standards Complaints Board on the client’s behalf.


Related legal services

Intellectual property
Commercial contract law

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