De­ter­min­ing faults in prod­ucts

Kapi-Mana News - - ADVICE - By SAN­DRA AN­DREWS

The Con­sumer Guar­an­tees Act (CGA) sets out the stan­dards that traded goods must meet and the reme­dies if a stan­dard is not met.

‘‘ Goods’’ in­clude sec­ond- hand goods or­di­nar­ily bought for per­sonal or house­hold use, used by your­self or given as a gift, and free items given away by a trader or man­u­fac­turer when you pur­chase goods.

Guar­an­tees for goods in­clude the goods be­ing:

of ac­cept­able qual­ity which means fit for their nor­mal pur­pose

ac­cept­able in fin­ish and ap­pear­ance free from mi­nor de­fects safe and durable

The test for de­cid­ing whether goods are of ac­cept­able qual­ity is: ‘‘A rea­son­able con­sumer would find the goods ac­cept­able tak­ing into ac­count: the price paid, na­ture of the goods, state­ments made by the trader and any in­for­ma­tion on the goods or pack­ag­ing.’’

So what does this mean when your toaster doesn’t toast or your fridge/freezer doesn’t chill/freeze? Ba­si­cally if one of the stan­dards is not met, you may have rights to have a trader (and in some cases the man­u­fac­turer) put the prob­lem right.

Reme­dies can in­clude, re­pair­ing the goods, giv­ing you an iden­ti­cal re­place­ment, pro­vid­ing you with a re­fund, and in some cases ask­ing for com­pen­sa­tion. So who chooses the rem­edy? Un­der the CGA, if the fault is mi­nor and can be reme­died, you must ask the trader to put the prob­lem right.

The trader can choose be­tween re­pair­ing, iden­ti­cal re­place­ment or re­fund.

If the fault is se­ri­ous or can’t be reme­died you, (not the trader) can choose be­tween re­ject­ing the goods and ask­ing for a re­fund, re­place­ment or keep­ing the goods but ask­ing for com­pen­sa­tion to make up for the drop in value caused by the fault.

A se­ri­ous fault is one where the goods are:

Un­safe – eg an elec­tric blan­ket has faulty wiring

sig­nif­i­cantly dif­fer­ent from the sam­ple or de­scrip­tion

sub­stan­tially un­fit for their nor­mal pur­pose.

There are also other things to con­sider when de­cid­ing if the fault is se­ri­ous in­clud­ing how long you have had the goods be­fore a fault de­vel­oped, how much the goods cost, claims made about the goods, and other fac­tors. At the Cit­i­zens Ad­vice Bureau we have an ex­cel­lent book­let Your Con­sumer Rights (Goods) – A Guide to the Con­sumer Guar­an­tees Act.

This in­for­ma­tion can also be found on our web­site in the form of ques­tions and an­swers.

Please call us on 04 237 8846 or free phone 0800 367 222, email us on if you would like more in­for­ma­tion about your rights and the Con­sumer Guar­an­tees Act.

Our ser­vice is free and con­fi­den­tial.

Cit­i­zens Ad­vice Bureau Porirua is open Mon­day to Fri­day, 9am to 4.20pm, and open un­til 7pm on a Thurs­day, Pem­ber House, level 2, 16 Ha­gley St, Porirua.

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