It doesn’t matter if you trade from a website or a leased shop front in a mall, the consumer laws of New Zealand still apply to how you sell, advertise and deal with customer complaints.
In fact, you continue to be bound by consumer laws regardless of what type of electronic medium you use to sell your products or services (including smart phones and other devices).
Like all other retailers, you need to make sure your customers are fully informed about the costs and terms and conditions of your goods and services. All the information needs to be accurate and provide consumers with the complete picture so they can make an informed purchasing decision.
To ensure you do this, you should include the following on your website.
This is a guide only. Only the courts can make an authoritative ruling on breaches of the Fair Trading Act. The guide is not intended to be definitive, and should not be used instead of legal advice.
‘Spam’ is the use of electronic messaging systems to send unsolicited bulk messages, especially advertising, indiscriminately. While the most common form of spam is unwanted email, it can also include fax, instant messaging, or mobile phone messages.
The Unsolicited Electronic Messages Act 2007 prohibits spam with a New Zealand link (such as messages sent to, from, or within New Zealand).
All New Zealand businesses are required to comply with the Act by ensuring any electronic messages they send are not considered spam. Failure to comply could mean a fine of up to $500,000.
The electronic message is considered spam only if it is commercial in nature – for instance, marketing or promoting goods, services, or directing the recipient to a location where a commercial transaction can take place (such as a website).
It is important to note that providing a hyperlink (Internet link) to a company web page in the signature of an otherwise non-commercial email would make it commercial.
The Act provides that the following common messages between organisations and customers are not commercial electronic messages.
These may include:
If messages fall into any of the above descriptions they are not spam and don’t have to contain information about the sender or a functioning unsubscribe facility.
Follow the steps below to ensure you are not sending spam.
Anti-spam advice (external link) — Department of Internal Affairs
In addition to the requirements of the Unsolicited Electronic Messages Act 2007, businesses must always comply with the Privacy Act 1993 and be familiar with the Privacy Principles.
Passing on email addresses, without permission, to another organisation or business may breach the Privacy Act.
The Department of Internal Affairs has compiled a range of resources and business case studies to help New Zealand businesses comply with anti-spam regulations.