New Zealand flocked to fast food outlets as soon as they opened last week but it seems not everyone was happy with their Big Mac, Wicked Wings or Whopper.

A number of complaints had been made about the cost of takeaways and fast food outlets during alert level 3, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment said.

The latest figures showed around 3700 emails had been sent to the Price Watch inbox in total, the majority being about common grocery items.

People are not happy with the cost of some of their fast food and takeaways. Photo / Martin Sykes
People are not happy with the cost of some of their fast food and takeaways. Photo / Martin Sykes

Since it was set up, a web form of Price Watch went live on April 24 and had received around 50 complaints.


Supermarket staples like butter, milk, eggs, flour, fresh produce, meat and bread remained the most commonly complained about products.

Elsewhere, complaints about the price of cigarettes were becoming common.

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The increased price came into effect from March 26 as a result of delayed tax increases and inflation, British American Tobacco New Zealand confirmed.

"The most frequent non-food products complained about are hand sanitisers and face masks, particularly at pharmacies," an MBIE spokesperson said.

"We have also received complaints regarding the price of services for example charges by dentists, vets and plumbers.

"Since alert level 3, we've received a number of complaints related to the cost of takeaways and fast food."

Many of the complaints were accompanied by supporting evidence such as receipts, which was what Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern encouraged Kiwis to do.

Elsewhere, during level 4 complaints were made about businesses who restricting their offerings so the expensive products were only available for purchase.


The inbox also received emails about online businesses accepting payment for goods they were not able to supply.

MBIE was taking the complaints seriously and they were working with the Commerce Commission closely, the spokesman said.

Meanwhile, emails were also sent by Kiwis who praised businesses for demonstrating good practice during the lockdown period.

"These include businesses being flexible to consumer needs and circumstances by offering refunds or other remedies, such as free cancellation, credit for future use or reduced penalties," the spokesperson said.

Consumers were asked to use the Price Watch web form to make complaints about the price of products instead of the email address.