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People can use online stores to sell all types of products in a modern and convenient way. Therefore, starting an adult product online store can be a successful business idea, as customers may be more inclined to purchase your products discreetly over the Internet. In New Zealand, you can start an adult product store using an e-commerce platform, but you need to comply with New Zealand law when you do so. This article will explain what laws may apply to you when starting an e-commerce adult product store in New Zealand.

Maintaining High Standards for Your Products

When you sell goods to consumers for their personal use, you must comply with the Consumer Guarantees Act. This law is a part of New Zealand’s overall regulation that protects consumers, which applies to you when you regularly sell goods to consumers. In particular, you need to ensure that your adult products are:

  • fit for purpose;
  • of acceptable quality;
  • the same as the pictures you display on your site;
  • delivered on time and in good condition;
  • priced reasonably where there is no predetermined figure; and
  • sold legally.

These standards are consumer guarantees that you make when you sell these kinds of products. If you fail to meet one of these guarantees, you need to provide the affected customer with a remedy. This remedy could take the form of a:

  • replacement;
  • refund; or
  • repair.

For example, if you sell a customer a faulty or broken adult product, you legally must provide them with a remedy.

However, you do not have to give a customer a remedy outside of these situations, such as if they have ordered the wrong colour. Nevertheless, due to the nature of the adult industry and the products you sell, it may not be easy to facilitate returns. So, you should what situations will warrant a remedy in your online returns policy.

Take Care Not to Mislead Your Customers

Another part of consumer law in New Zealand is the Fair Trading Act, which regulates how you can sell to your customers and what you can say. In particular, this law prohibits:

  • general misleading conduct;
  • false or misleading statements/representations;
  • unsubstantiated representations; and
  • unfair sales tactics.

Therefore, you need to be truthful in what you say about your products and not mislead your customers.

Being Careful With Advertising

Leading on from the previous point, The Fair Trading Act can also apply to how you advertise your goods. So, you cannot mislead your customers in your advertising. This applies even if you use disclaimers, as an advertisement’s misleading nature is determined by its truthfulness as a whole.

However, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) also has general rules for sexual imagery in advertising. These rules are not necessarily legally binding, but you should be mindful of them if you attempt to advertise outside of your website.

In particular, you must not use offensive, degrading, or provocative copy and images to attract attention or promote your products. Additionally, any sexual imagery or language you use in your adult content must be appropriate to the audience and the medium.

Complying With Customs Rules

As a business owner, if you import your adult products, you will need to comply with New Zealand Customs’ importing rules to get your goods into the country. In particular, Customs has banned any objectionable material. This term refers to anything that describes, depicts, expresses or otherwise deals with certain matters in a way that having that material available in the country would damage the public good. These matters include:

  • sex;
  • horror;
  • crime;
  • cruelty; or
  • violence.

For clarification, the material would be objectionable if it promotes:

  • the exploitation of children;
  • bestiality; 
  • terrorism;
  • extreme violence; or
  • sexually coercive violence.

If a customs officer thinks that your adult product is indecent or obscene in this way, then they have the power to seize that product at the border. Additionally, you could be arrested and face up to 14 years imprisonment. For example, in the past, customs officers have seized sex dolls with children’s faces at the border as they promoted the exploitation of children. 

Therefore, you must be extremely careful with the nature of the adult products you try to import and seek legal advice where necessary.

Protect Customer Privacy

Another law that will apply to you is the Privacy Act, which protects people’s personal information in New Zealand. This term refers to any information that could identify a person, including:

  • names; 
  • shipping addresses;
  • financial details;
  • IP addresses; or
  • email addresses.

Therefore, you need to deal with any personal data according to the principles that the Privacy Act outlines. 

Drafting Appropriate Documentation

Finally, to best protect your business, you need to prepare appropriate online legal documentation for your e-commerce website. This documentation should include:

Key Takeaways

In New Zealand, you can start an e-commerce adult product store online. However, if you wish to do so, you must comply with New Zealand’s laws that apply to your sales. In particular, this can include consumer law, privacy law, and import restrictions. If you would like more information or help with setting up your e-commerce adult product store, contact LegalVision’s experienced e-commerce lawyers on 0800 005 570 or fill out the form on this page.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is personal information?

Personal information is any data about an identifiable individual. Therefore, if you can use this information to identify a living person, it is personal information. Examples include names and addresses.

Can I start an adult product eCommerce store in New Zealand?

It is legal to start an adult product online store in New Zealand. However, you will need to do so while complying with any laws that do apply to your online business, such as consumer law and privacy law.

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