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Tips for shopping

Shop around

Make sure you research your options before you buy an item. Search the internet, look in catalogues, visit different stores, talk to store attendants and discuss your purchase with family and friends.

Make sure you compare items on the basis of quality and cost. The cheapest item isn’t always the best option.

Budget and spend sensibly

Make a budget to balance your income and expenses. Add up all of your expenses and compare them against your income.

Download our budget planner (XLSX, 325KB)

Know your consumer guarantees

You are entitled to a refund, repair or repeat service for goods or services that are of poor quality. You will need to show proof of purchase.

You are not entitled to a refund if you simply change your mind about your purchase.

Find more details about consumer guarantees.

Read the paperwork (and keep it)

Reading the paperwork will give you important details about a good or service.

Make sure that you:

  • read and understand any contract before you sign it
  • keep a copy of anything you sign
  • read the instructions to learn how to safely use your product
  • don’t try to fix a broken product (unless you are qualified to do so)
  • don’t void the warranty by using products incorrectly.

Care for your receipts

Some types of receipt paper can fade quickly. This might make it difficult to prove a purchase later on. Businesses do not need to tell you how to care for your receipts.

You can care for your receipts by:

  • storing them carefully (away from light, heat, abrasives or plastics)
  • taking a photocopy, scan or photo.

You will need proof of purchase if you need to claim a refund on the product or service. The best proof of purchase is the receipt, because it will usually itemise the products or services you bought.

Talk to the business

Most businesses are happy to help if you have any complaints or problems. Talk to them and try to resolve it. Send your complaints in writing to the manager. Describe the problem and how you would like them to fix it.

If something goes wrong and you paid by credit card, you may be able to get a chargeback from your bank.

If this doesn’t work, you can make a complaint to us.

About the consumer complaint process.