The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment is seeking submissions on whether there is a need for additional protections for businesses and consumers against unfair commercial practices.
This follows release of a discussion paper Protecting businesses and consumers from unfair commercial practices.
The paper says that despite existing legisative protections against unfair commercial practices, a recent MBIE survey found that 45% of surveyed businesses felt they had been offered unfair contract terms in the last year, and 47% felt that they had otherwise been treated unfairly.
It says while it is not the role of the government to protect consumers or businesses from every transaction, the results indicate that there might be a gap in the protections available to businesses, particularly those that are small and without effective bargaining power.
Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Kris Faafoi says unfair commercial practices can case significant stress for consumers, while the consequences for businesses include cash flow issues, increased costs and stress.
“I’ve heard about traders who have used aggressive tactics to sell products to vulnerable consumers, and businesses that were powerless to stop suppliers varying the terms of their contract, including price," he says.
The information provided in submissions will be used to inform MBIE's policy development process, and will provide advice to Ministers on unfair commercial practices.
The closing date for submissions is 9am on Monday, 25 February 2019.