Safe buying advice

We've got tips to help you stay safe on Trade Me.

Trade Me has dedicated Customer Experience and Trust and Safety teams who carefully monitor and swiftly remove inappropriate listings.


Safe buying tips

You can help us keep Trade Me a safe place to buy and sell by reporting any suspicious listings.

  • Always read the item description carefully. If the photos and description look like they've been borrowed from another site, research the item and pricing before you bid.

  • Check the seller's feedback history. If the seller has a lot of recent negative or neutral feedback, you may want to reconsider bidding on or buying the item.

  • If a price seems too good to be true, it probably is. Make sure you understand the postage costs before bidding, and never pay into an overseas bank account or via Western Union.

  • Beware of fake or pirated goods. Counterfeit items, such as handbags, jewellery and clothing, or unauthorised items such as copies of software, games, music or movies, are illegal and not permitted on Trade Me. If you see a listing that looks suspicious, please report it.

  • Never send money overseas. Most sellers on Trade Me are located in New Zealand, or hold an NZ bank account if located in Australia. Trade Me approves certain international members and those members only ever use Ping. Never use a money transfer service to send money overseas.

  • Always complete the sale on Trade Me. Contacting buyers or sellers outside of the auction process can be unsafe. Make sure you always correspond with the email address we provide once the auction's closed.

  • Get a phone number. If you are the winning bidder on a higher value item, ask the seller for a phone number in case you need to call them.

  • Keep all payment details and emails exchanged with the seller. These details will help us locate the seller if things go wrong. 


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Examples of suspicious behaviour

If you notice any of the below examples, please let us know immediately.

  • Request from the seller to complete the trade offsite.
  • Request from the seller that the buyer pay into an overseas bank account, or via funds transfer (e.g. Western Union).
  • Item photos and descriptions are directly lifted from another website.
  • Multiple memberships are created to push the bidding up (known as 'shilling').
  • A low bid is placed, and then a second person places a much higher bid which is withdrawn at the last minute so the low bid wins (known as 'bid shielding').


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Read our advice on spotting and dealing with phishing emails and spoof websites.


Most problems are the result of poor communication, or different expectations between the buyer and the seller.

Trade Me top tips:

  • Stay in contact with the seller and make sure you understand when to expect delivery.
  • If paying by bank account, sellers will normally wait for payment to clear before shipping goods (this can take 1-2 days, or longer on weekends and public holidays).
  • Delivery can take another 2-4 business days.


Contact issues


If you've paid and still can't contact the seller after a few days, or think you are the victim of fraud, please file a report immediately.

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The vast majority of problems reported to us resolve themselves through good communication and patience. So be patient, use your common sense, and happy trading.

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