Making a Disputes Tribunal claim as a seller

If you want to make a Disputes Tribunal claim as a buyer – we can help.

Scales_Kevin.svgOutside Seller Protection, Trade Me doesn't have the legal power to enforce a trade. Where we're not able to help, the Disputes Tribunal can step in.

If your dispute is about untrue feedback placed by the buyer, we recommend following our feedback dispute process first.

How it works

No need to stress – it's not quite the same as going to court. The Tribunal is less formal and tries to help both sides reach an agreement together.

A dispute might be because:

  • The buyer pulled out of the trade.
  • Goods or services were received – but you haven't been paid.
  • The buyer's feedback says your item was substandard – but that's not true.

There might be other reasons for a dispute, where the Disputes Tribunal can help – but they don't address debt.

The process is straightforward:

  1. A trained referee hears your dispute.
  2. A solution to the dispute is decided upon.
  3. A binding enforceable court order is issued.

If you're both in the same location, you can both meet with the referee. Remote options can also be arranged in some situations.

Learn more about the Disputes Tribunal link-external-16.svg

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During the Tribunal process, you'll be called the applicant – and the buyer the respondent.

Starting the claim process

Ways you can apply:

You'll need to pay an application fee. The amount depends on how much money you're seeking from the buyer.

To apply, you'll need:

  • basic-tick-framed-16-medium.svg To know your nearest District Court.
  • basic-tick-framed-16-medium.svg Your name, address, and phone number.
  • basic-tick-framed-16-medium.svg The seller's name, address, and phone number.
  • basic-tick-framed-16-medium.svg Details about the dispute, and how you've tried to resolve it.

There are a few other things that are good to have for your claim. Learn more link-external-16.svg

I don't have the buyer's details

Trade Me can, at its absolute discretion, release this information directly to you or to the Disputes Tribunal for this purpose.

We take privacy seriously and will only do this where necessary.

To request these details from us:

  1. Download and complete a statutory declaration form Shape.svg
    This states that you need the buyer's details so you can file a claim with the Disputes Tribunal – and will only use them for that purpose.

  2. Take the form to your local court
    – Sign the form in front of a Registrar or Deputy Registrar.
    – Have the form signed and stamped by the Registrar or Deputy Registrar.

  3. Send the form to us
    Online or by post:
    Trust and Safety
    Trade Me
    PO Box 11042


Most statutory declarations are processed within five business days.

If your request is granted, we will:

  • Email you the buyer's details in a PDF.
  • Notify the buyer – if we've released their details.


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What happens next?

The Disputes Tribunal will process your application. They'll notify you and the respondent, once a time and place for the hearing have been set.



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After a decision has been made

We take Disputes Tribunal decisions seriously – and can help with enforcing them.

If you let us know the outcome of your claim, we may be able to take further account action against the buyer. For privacy reasons, we can't share what action we do or don't take.

Find out what to do if the respondent hasn't followed a decision link-external-16.svg

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