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Consumer Guarantees Act 1993

The Consumer Guarantees Act (CGA) applies to sales by sellers 'in trade'. It does not normally cover private or one-off sales.

Regardless of whether an item is bought through a Trade Me classified, by “fixed price offer”, “Buy Now”, or by bidding on an auction, it should be covered by the CGA.

Trade Me’s Code of Conduct sets the expectation that professional sellers (sellers in trade) should honour the obligations they have under the CGA when items are sold by bidding. Professional sellers also have obligations under the Fair Trading Act to not be misleading in trade.

Trader guidelines

All professional sellers (people in trade) on Trade Me should therefore comply with the following guidelines:

  • Disclose they are selling in trade
  • Ensure items they are selling are safe, durable and of acceptable quality
  • Ensure items they are selling are fit for their intended purpose and any other particular purposes indicated
  • Ensure items they are selling match the description given
  • Act responsibly and promptly to fix any product faults within a reasonable time after the sale (other than those caused by unreasonable use) or offer a replacement or refund
  • Offer a full refund upon the return of goods with any serious problems
  • Ensure delivery terms are clear and can be met eg. include shipping costs, taxes, fees and estimated delivery times.
  • Ensure that delivered items arrive at the time agreed (or if the delivery time is not clear, within a reasonable time).
  • Ensure that delivered items arrive in an acceptable condition.

Sale of Goods Act

In situations where the CGA does not apply, such as for private one-off sales, then the Sale of Goods Act 1908 (SOGA) will generally apply instead. The SOGA includes warranties that are comparable to the CGA guarantees, including implied conditions that the seller is entitled to sell the goods and that the item meets the description.

If it’s clear that the buyer has relied on the seller’s expertise, then there may be warranties as to the item’s quality or fitness for purpose.

For more information, read the advice on the Consumer Guarantees Act in our Consumer Guides or visit the Consumer Protection website.

We also recommend you check out Consumer's advice on safe online trading.

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