Consumer law and bad business practice.

In New Zealand any online sale is covered by contract law. However, that law only covers services and not goods.

When you accept your online transaction for goods you cannot cancel it. If you do attempt to cancel your online order you are not entitled to a refund. This is because under contract law the retailer did nothing wrong and therefore are not required to do anything but ship your order. They can however at their discretion provide you with a store credit or a refund.

NOTE: Cancelling your order is defined as cancelling your order prior to it being processed and shipped to you. Should you receive the goods this would be classified as a return and is covered in the CGA.

What happens if you don’t want the goods or a store credit. The only answer is “nothing”. The law states that the retailer has no obligation at all to provide a store credit or refund if you cancel your order.

What does this mean for the consumer?

This means that the consumer has no rights at all should they wish to cancel their order.

As it stands in New Zealand there is no code of practice or ethics that a retailer is obligated to abide by.

This is allowing a growing number of businesses in New Zealand to adopt law over good business practice. This creates confusion with the consumer as they rightly feel that they are entitled to a refund as it is the right thing to do. After all, the retailer hasn’t shipped the goods and it is a simple case for the retailer to reverse the transaction.