Privacy Policy

Our commitment to your privacy

Consumer NZ is New Zealand’s independent, not-for-profit, product and service research organisation. We provide services to the public to help consumers make informed decisions about products and services, including offering advice on the most appropriate and cost-effective power providers for household needs through our Powerswitch service.

This privacy statement outlines what personal information we collect, how we store, use and share it, and how you can access or correct your personal information. We are committed to protecting your privacy when you visit our websites or contact us in any way.

We deal with your personal information in accordance with the Privacy Act 2020 and this privacy statement.

We may occasionally update this privacy statement, to reflect changes to our practices, and will notify you when we do so. This statement was last updated on 1 April 2021.

Your personal information

Collecting your personal information

We collect personal information that we need in order to deliver our services to you. We collect personal information directly from you when you access our services or engage with us through our websites and surveys.

Information collected from you

If you access any of our services (including supporting our campaigns, responding to surveys, contacting us with a Consumer Trusted business enquiry, signing up for our newsletters or checking plan options on Powerswitch), we will collect some or all of the following personal information:

  • Your name and contact details.
  • Age, gender ethnicity and any other demographic information you provide to us.
  • Your address or region and housing information.
  • Your comments and community contributions.
  • Survey results and responses, when you participate in any of our surveys.
  • Any correspondence with Consumer NZ staff
  • Website activity.
  • Transaction history.
  • Your credit card number, name on your card, expiry date and card verification code (CVC) code*.
  • Any other information you choose to provide us.

Collectively, this is known as your “personal information".

Note: We do not store full credit card details. These are captured directly by Windcave, a Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard compliant payment provider, which will only deal with your personal information in accordance with the Privacy Act and its privacy policy.

Information collected from third parties

We may collect information from third parties to enhance our services, however, when we do so, this information is collected in aggregated form. That means that we do not collect any personal information from third parties about you. However, we may collect aggregated information and information about household electricity consumption and combine that information with personal information we hold about you.

Using your personal information

In order to deliver our services (whether through Consumer NZ or Powerswitch), we use your personal information in the ways set out below. If we need to use information in a way not outlined below, we will only do so if required or permitted by law or with your authorisation.

We use your personal information to:

  • Provide you with any products and services you request or sign up for.
  • Set up or administer your membership or Digital Pass access.
  • Contact you to clarify details about your membership or digital access, or to respond to any of your enquiries.
  • Invoice you, or receive payment from you, for any of our services that require payment.
  • Analyse and inform you about whether you are on the best electricity plans, including providing updates and information to you about relevant plans or if there have been electricity price changes.
  • Conduct market research surveys if you opt-in to receive Consumer NZ surveys.
  • Target or customise our marketing and advertising.
  • Tell you about our new products, services, promotions and campaigns. For example, if you are opted-in to email marketing communications we may email you to let you know about new content you may be interested in.
  • Provide you with information about the operation and security of our websites.
  • Contact you to advise you of changes to our terms and conditions, services or new products or promotions.

Email communications

All Powerswitch and Consumer members and Digital Pass holders will be signed up to automatically receive email marketing communications, including surveys. For all our marketing emails, you can choose to remove yourself from receiving these communications by following the "unsubscribe" prompt at the bottom of each email.

Comments and community contributions

We may use some of your information to display it within the Member comments section. When you submit a comment or review, your first name and last name initial e.g. Mary B, or your display name (if you have set one), is displayed with your comment. You can set up or change your display name in your My Consumer profile at any time.

We do not publicly display any other personal information in our community areas. We strongly advise that you do not post your email address, home address, phone number or other personal information as part of your community contributions.

Sometimes, we might want to use the messages you post on consumer.org.nz in our articles or marketing material. If so, we will endeavour to get your permission before copying or quoting your message.

Sharing your personal information

We do not sell or rent your personal information to any third party. However, we do share your personal information with trusted third parties that work on our behalf to deliver our services to you (such as for computing and storage purposes, for email correspondence and marketing purposes and to assist you in switching electricity providers).

Third parties, some of which are based overseas, which we share your personal information with include:

  • Microsoft, our cloud hosting and computing infrastructure provider
  • Marketo, for marketing automation and email marketing.
  • Survey Gizmo, and occasionally Survey Monkey, to send you our surveys.
  • Amazon Web Services (AWS), our cloud hosting service provider.
  • Windcave DPS, our payment gateway provider.
  • Electricity providers when you choose to switch providers.
  • Google Analytics and Google Ad Manager, for targeted advertising.
  • Social Media Platforms (Facebook and Instagram), for targeted advertising.

We do not authorise third parties to use or disclose your personal information except for the purpose of providing the service we request from them. All third parties, which we disclose your personal information to, are subject to obligations under the New Zealand Privacy Act 2020 to protect your information from unauthorised use or disclosure.

You can choose to opt out of having your email address provided to Google and Facebook for targeted advertising by emailing us with your request to info@consumer.org.nz.

We do not share your personal information with any overseas providers which are not subject to the New Zealand Privacy Act. If we were to do so, we would obtain prior authorisation from you before we disclose it to any such third parties.

We sell aggregated survey results to third parties but the results do not contain any personally identifiable or personal information.

How we store and protect personal information

We store your personal information we collect from you in accordance with our obligations under the Privacy Act and take reasonable steps to ensure the security of your personal information. We use trusted third-party providers to store and process our data and ensure that our cloud-based platforms meet New Zealand privacy requirements. For more information on privacy practices for our key third party providers, see the following links:

Retention

We retain personal information only for as long as we need it in order to continue to provide you with our service(s), maintain the security of our websites or as required by law.

Security

We take all reasonable steps to ensure the personal information we collect is protected against loss, unauthorised access and disclosure or any other misuse. We have an information and communications technology policy in place to ensure staff manage and protect Consumer NZ data and devices. Access to our systems and platforms is controlled, through role-based access, and all access is logged and audited.

Cookies

We use cookies and web beacons to help us understand how visitors engage with our website and services. These technologies allow us to:

  • Improve our website (for example, identify and promote popular content); and
  • Provide you with more targeted information where appropriate.

Temporary cookies: We use temporary (per-session) cookies to "remember" that a member, Digital Pass holder or Powerswitch user has logged in. This means you do not have to enter your email address and password more than once during a visit.

Please note: Our temporary cookies must be accepted to login and access consumer.org.nz, or to purchase a membership or Digital Pass from us. If your browser is set to notify you when you receive a cookie, you will be prompted to accept the cookie. Please select "Yes".

Our temporary cookies will disappear when you logout of your member or Digital Pass account.

Important: You should not use a “remember my login” feature on a browser unless you are the only person who has access to the browser. Never enable this feature on a public access computer as this could allow other people to access your personal information.

Third party cookies and other technologies: We use third party cookies and other technologies for marketing and to gather website analytics. This includes:

  • Remarketing and emails: we use third party cookies – such as Google Analytics and Marketo cookies – to keep track of the content you’re interested in and remarket it to you when you leave our site (as a result, you may see ads from Consumer NZ when you visit other websites).
  • Impression reporting: we use web beacons to estimate the number of users that have viewed and clicked on our advertisements (as a result, we’re able to gauge the success of a campaign).
  • Demographics and interest reporting: we use cookies and web beacons to get an overview of our readership broken down by age, gender and interests such as home appliances or technology (as a result, we can provide you with relevant information, services and features and also gauge the popularity of our content).

You can opt out of Google Analytics without affecting how you visit our site. For more information on opting out, please visit this page.

For more information on Marketo, our third party inbound marketing and sales software, please visit this page.

You can also ask your browser to delete or block third party cookies: simply search online for “cookies” + the name of your internet browser (for example, “Google Chrome”) for step-by-step instructions.

Our websites provide links to other websites when we consider you may be interested in the content of those sites. We do not endorse any third party sites or their content and we have no control over the conduct of the companies or organisations operating those sites.

Before you disclose any personal information to another site, we advise you to check its terms and conditions, including its privacy and security policies.

Your privacy rights

You have the right to request access to and correct any personal information we hold about you at any time.

Consumer NZ members and Digital Pass holders can change their information on consumer.org.nz by entering your email address and password and updating your My Consumer profile.

Alternatively, you can contact Customer Services on 0800 266 786 or at info@consumer.org.nz.

Rights of access

You have the right to request a copy of the personal information we hold about you. When any such request is received, we will process your request as soon as possible and provide you with our decision on your request within 20 working days after your request. We will also take steps to verify your identity before providing you with any requested personal information.

Asking us to stop using your information

You can ask us to stop using your information. However, if you ask us to stop using your information, we may not be able to provide you with all our services, such as emailing you newsletters and updates.

You can choose to opt out of having your email address provided to Google and Facebook for targeted advertising by emailing us with your request to info@consumer.org.nz.

Complaints

Consumer NZ is committed to dealing quickly and appropriately with any privacy complaints.

If you are concerned this privacy statement may have been breached or your privacy has been compromised, please email us immediately on info@consumer.org.nz or call customer services on 0800 266 786.

If we cannot adequately address your privacy concerns, you have the right to complain to the Office of the Privacy Commissioner. For more information on privacy see the Privacy Commissioner's website.

Other information

You can find more information about our policies for protecting your personal information in our terms and conditions and our security policy.