Buying from a trader or private seller

Both private sellers and traders offer goods for sale on Trade Me. When you buy from a trader you have a number of rights under consumer laws which you do not have when you buy from a private seller.

Generally, a private seller is someone who buys or obtains goods for personal use which they then later onsell to another buyer on Trade Me.

A person in trade buys, makes or obtains goods they intend to sell - or offers services for sale. There are other factors relevant to whether someone is in trade such as how frequently they sell their goods or services online and if they are GST registered.

Read more about being 'in trade'

'In trade' status

By law, anyone offering goods or services for sale online must make it clear to consumers that they are in trade. This informs consumers they are covered by consumer laws.

If a seller on Trade Me is a trader, then they are advised to select the 'in trade' label which appears next to the username in the 'information about the seller'. This is usually found at the bottom of the listing. Some traders use their company logo on the post and refer to being a store or in business. Motor vehicle dealers have 'dealer' next to the name of their listing to show they are traders.


The Commission prosecuted an individual for failing to disclose his trader status when selling items on Trade Me. In more than 1,300 Trade Me listings of mostly second-hand household items, including cots, the person failed to disclose that he was 'in trade'. He was convicted and fined under the Fair Trading Act.

Read more about 'in trade' disclosure

Not in New Zealand

Sellers are located in New Zealand or Australia unless specifically authorised by Trade Me. You can check if you're purchasing from an international seller by checking the 'seller location' area on any listing.

Sellers located outside New Zealand must offer at least one of the following payment options to you: Ping, Pay Now, the Afterpay Service or payment into a New Zealand bank account. Relevant information concerning shipping costs and customs duty should be provided.

Make sure you check delivery times: International sellers must notify you of shipping time frames in their listing descriptions. Goods that are shipped internationally usually take longer to arrive than the standard seven days.

In the case of motor vehicles that are offshore, they must be in transit to New Zealand and the listing should clearly indicate that they are offshore or in transit.

You can read more about your obligations as a buyer and a trader in Trade Me's Terms and Conditions.

Resolving issues

If you have had any issues with an item that you purchased off Trade Me you should try to resolve the dispute with the seller first. If you haven't been able to resolve the issue with the seller, you can then file a dispute report with Trade Me within 30 days of buying the item.

Once you've paid for goods you should allow at least seven days for them to arrive before contacting Trade Me.

Read more about feedback disputes and filing a dispute report