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Not sure of your rights? Ask the CAB

A guest post from the Citizens Advice Bureau – with their tips for navigating a bad trade and seeking legal advice.

By Citizens Advice Bureau 24 August 2023

How the Citizens Advice Bureau can help

Here's a guest post from the Citizens Advice Bureau – a great organisation that helps many New Zealanders every year, including giving advice on consumer law which can be very useful for Trade Me members.

Over to them:

We all know there's lots of great online information about your rights. You can read all about what the Consumer Guarantees Act says, or about your rights under the Fair Trading Act. However, it's not always clear what this actually means when you get stuck in a bad situation or what you can do about it.

This is where Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) can help.

About CAB

The CAB has been helping New Zealanders resolve their problems for over 40 years and can help sort out your best options for any sort of problem you are having.

There are 80 sites across New Zealand that you can visit in person - or you can call 0800 FOR CAB or contact them online. The service is free, independent and confidential.

The CAB is staffed by over hundreds of volunteers who are trained to deal with a wide range of different issues.

Last year the CAB helped with over 130,000 enquiries including over 22,000 relating to consumer issues, about dodgy tradespeople, problems with couriers, buying a lemon (when you wanted a working vehicle), direct sales and lots more.

How they can help

One of the challenges of being a consumer in New Zealand is that you mostly have to enforce your own rights, even when the other party is clearly in the wrong.

The CAB is very experienced at helping people understand what to do in this situation and helping people prepare for taking a case to the Disputes Tribunal.

The CAB helps by talking to you about your problem and then providing information and options for what you can do to resolve your problem.

They’ll listen to your story, help you work out your options, and provide you with the information you need to proceed.

Many CABs provide access to free general advice from lawyers, as well as access to Justices of the Peace (JPs).

How to get help

Just pop into your local CAB, call the free number 0800 367 222, send an email, or get in touch using online chat.

You can also get help if English is not your first language, as some CAB volunteers speak other languages. They can either find a volunteer to help you in your language, or connect you with an interpreter to help communicate with you.


Citizens Advice Bureau
Citizens Advice Bureau