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Second-hand goods

Your rights, and things you need to know when you buy second-hand goods.

Your rights, and things you need to know when you buy second-hand goods.

Buying second-hand goods from a shop

The same laws apply to second-hand goods as to new goods.

If you buy second-hand goods from a shop or from anyone who’s in business, then the Consumer Guarantees Act applies. This applies to auctions and online sales too.

So, you can expect the goods to be fit for purpose, safe, free from defects, look acceptable, and last for a reasonable amount of time.

See Guarantees for goods for more information.

If the goods break, you can take them back to the shop or business (or send them back if you bought them online) to:

  • get a refund, repair or replacement if the problem is minor
  • get a full refund if the problem is major or causes a safety risk.

Since you know the goods are second-hand, several factors will affect how long you can expect them to last or what’s acceptable in appearance. These factors include how much you paid for the goods, information you received about them, and their general wear and tear.

Private sales not covered by consumer laws

Private sales aren’t covered by the Consumer Guarantees Act or the Fair Trading Act. Private sales include buying goods at a garage sale, from a neighbour, and from an advertisement in the paper. These sales also include buying goods from private sellers online in internet sales or auctions.

You’ll have less consumer law protection with a private sale, so it’s important to check out what you’re buying. For example:

  • See if mechanical or electrical goods work and get them checked out by an expert if you can.
  • If the goods have a manufacturer’s warranty on them, this warranty may still apply after the sale. Ask the seller to give you the warranty information.

It’s a good idea to ask the seller to give you a receipt that states when you bought the goods and the seller’s name and address. Also, keep records of anything that the seller has told you about the goods. If something turns out not to be true, you may be able to use the Contractual Remedies Act to get money back or make a claim at the Disputes Tribunal.

Got a problem with a second-hand item?

See Faulty goods to find out what to do about a problem with second-hand goods.

Last updated 19 September 2014
[Internal link] Consumer law changes - Changes in consumer rights.

Consumer laws changed in 2014 and credit laws changed in 2015.

See Changes in consumer rights and Changes in credit laws for more information.




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