The lead-up to Christmas can be exciting, but the anticipation of the financial burden can be scary for a lot of people – especially families.

What can make this even worse is if the presents you buy for your loved ones don’t turn out to be exactly what they were meant to be.

You can make sure it’s a Merry Christmas by knowing your rights under the Consumer Guarantees Act 1993 (the Act). One of the Act’s main purposes is to protect the interests of consumers, like yourselves, and provide certain guarantees regarding the purchase of goods.

Here’s our list of the top things you need to know going into this Christmas shopping period:

1. Delivery Guarantee


This guarantee applies to the products that you order online and desperately hope will arrive in time for Christmas day – a feeling of anxiety that most of us have experienced.

Under this guarantee, if the supplier is responsible for the delivery or arranging the delivery, there is a guarantee that the goods will be received by the consumer at an agreed time frame between the parties; if there is no agreed time frame, it must be delivered within a reasonable time.

In short, if they have promised you a date of delivery, then they are required to honour it. 

2. Quality Guarantee


Have you bought a Christmas present for your 5-year-old, but once it’s been unwrapped, its quality is so poor that it looks like your kid could have made the toy themselves? This guarantee is here to save you.

The guarantee provides that the goods must be fit for all purposes that the good is commonly supplied for. It needs to be acceptable in appearance and finish, free from minor defects, safe and durable. This is judged from the perspective of a reasonable consumer.  It considers the nature of the goods, statements about the goods on the packaging, and any representation of the goods made by the supplier.

The bottom line is if you bought something that isn’t the quality you were led to expect of it, this guarantee is there to protect you.


3. Description and Sample Guarantee

This helps consumers who buy a product based on an in-store sample, display picture or description – but receive something very different from what they’ve read or seen.

These goods could be a different colour, function, or entirely different product than what you expected to receive. 

Overall, this guarantee protects you from falling victim to receiving a good that doesn’t correspond with its description.

What to do if these guarantees aren’t met:

1.       Require the supplier to remedy the repair or replace the product within a reasonable time;

2.       If they neglect to do so, or do not do this within a reasonable time, you can have it repaired elsewhere and claim costs from the supplier; or

3.       Reject the goods and expect a refund from the supplier.


Consumer Warning - You may lose the right to reject the defective goods if:

1.       You do not exercise the right within a reasonable time – a period of time from the supply of the goods in which it would be reasonable to expect the defect to become apparent;

2.       You have destroyed or disposed of the goods, or lost them; or

3.       The damage was incurred after receiving the goods and was caused by something out of the supplier’s control.


We hope that this article empowers you to tackle the Christmas list - Happy Shopping!