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Faulty Goods

Faulty Goods

If the item you bought is faulty, you should go back to the seller of the goods and discuss the problem as soon as possible.

If the person who sold it to you cannot help, ask to speak to the manager. In some cases, the employees of a business may not have the authority to deal with complaints or give refunds, and it may be necessary to contact their head office.

Can I get a refund for a faulty item I have purchased?

You have a right to return goods if you bought goods from a registered trader for personal use and the goods you have purchased are not:

  • of an “acceptable quality”; or
  • fit for its particular purpose (e.g. you bought an iPhone charger, but it only charges an Android phone); or
  • matching of any description given to you; or
  • matching of any sample or demonstration model shown to you; or
  • delivered to you within a reasonable time or they arrived damaged (goods bought from 17 June 2014).

What the trader can do to fix the fault depends on whether the problem is minor or serious.


I’ve bought a faulty item with a minor problem, what can the trader do?

Generally, if your faulty item can be fixed, it may be seen as a minor problem.  You can ask the seller to fix the problem. They can choose to:

  • repair the goods; or
  • replace the goods with an identical replacement; or
  • if it isn’t reasonable to expect them to repair or replace the goods, they can refund you the cost of the goods.

I bought a faulty item but the seller won’t fix it or takes a long time to fix it, what can I do?

You can:

  • Get someone else to fix it (at a reasonable price) and then request for the seller to pay for the repair (at the Disputes Tribunal); or
  • Tell the supplier that you reject the goods and ask for either a refund or a replacement.

Please note that you may lose the right to reject the goods if you take too long to notify the seller, or if you have disposed of the goods, or if the items are destroyed or damaged (due to your own fault). Whether you have taken too long depends on how long it would usually take to work out there is a problem, taking into account the type of goods and how often it needs to be used.

I bought an item that can’t be fixed or the item has a serious problem, what should I do?

Goods will likely have a serious problem if a reasonable consumer would not have bought the item had they been aware of the problem or the item is unsafe or completely unfit for the purpose for which it was originally purchased for.

In cases such as these, you can:

  1. Reject the goods and get your money back, or get a replacement; or
  2. Ask for damages, which is the difference in money between what you paid for and what the item is actually worth as a result of the problem (whilst keeping the item).

I’ve suffered extra financial losses as a result of the faulty item, can I claim for that from the seller?

In addition to resolving the problem with the goods itself, you may also be entitled to ‘consequential damages’ which is loss or damage caused by the problem with the goods. This includes any extra loss you suffered because of the problem, such as where the purchased goods damage your property.

What do I need to bring with me when I return the faulty goods?

When you go back to the seller, you should bring with you a proof of purchase, such as a receipt and the faulty goods in its original condition. Having a friend or relative as a witness and for support is also good.

The shop where you bought the item can ask for proof that the item was actually bought from that particular shop. A shop can refuse to fix the problem if you cannot prove you purchased the goods from them. If you don’t have the receipt, you could show a credit card statement or a bank statement which shows date, time, amount and location of the sale.

If the goods are faulty and you can prove that you bought them from that shop, but the shop won’t accept this, then you can take a claim to the Disputes Tribunal.

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