Trust & Safety Blog

Stolen goods on Trade Me

At times, the rat bags who steal our prized possessions think it’s an awesome idea to list them on Trade Me.

If you have been a victim of burglary, or are just looking for some info on how to keep your stuff safe, then this is for you.

Setting up favourite searches

Favourite searches’ are a really helpful tool for checking if your stolen goods have been listed on Trade Me. Anyone with a Trade Me membership can set up and save a favourite search. To set one up, just log in to Trade Me and type keywords into the search bar, either before or after you’ve narrowed down the categories. When the results come back there will be an option to save the search.

Save -this -seach

Before clicking this button just make sure the region selected is in your area or the area where the item was stolen as it’s highly unlikely that an item stolen from Dunedin will be sold in Auckland. After setting up a favourite search an email will be sent to you with the latest listings that match what you have saved. These emails can be received daily, every three days, or weekly, depending on what option is selected.

Searching expired listings

If you’re not having any luck searching live listings for your stuff that was pinched, the good news is that you can search expired listings too.

To search through items that are no longer on the site, click the down arrow next to the magnifying glass on the search bar and hit “Search expired listings”:

Search -expired -listings

What do I do if I think I’ve found my things on Trade Me?

From time to time we receive contact from members regarding listings they believe are their stolen items. We understand that it is extremely frustrating to see listings that may be yours, but we need to make sure we have the proper information before we’re able to take any action.

If you believe this item is yours, we strongly suggest that you contact your local Police Station and provide this information directly to them. We have an established process with NZ Police that needs to be followed so that we can help. Police will contact us directly regarding any information they require to follow up on your complaint.

Here’s a few handy hints for things you can do if you think you’ve spotted your possessions:

  1. Make a note of the Trade Me username and auction number.
  2. The Police will need to see evidence of why you believe the item being sold on Trade Me is yours so try and track down serial numbers, proof of purchase like receipts, photos of your item, photographs from the auction where you can identify specific marks, scratches, or modifications which match your stolen item. You should also include any other information you believe proves the item is yours.
  3. Take all of this information to your local Police station, including your Police file number from the burglary or theft event, and file a complaint about the item on Trade Me. 
  4. The Police will then update you directly with the outcome of the investigation.

How to keep your possessions extra safe

Even if you haven’t been a victim of theft, it is a really good idea to sign up to SNAP (Serial Number Action Partnership). This is a website run by the New Zealand Police where you can register your possessions.

All you need is access to a computer and the serial number of the possessions that you want to register. Head over to the website now and check it out.

Home made animal remedies are subject to the ACVM Act


Have you found a magic cure for facial eczema? Maybe found a way to get rid of chicken mites?

If the answer is yes, then there are a few things you’ll need to know and check before listing your miracle elixir or 'natural animal remedy' for sale on Trade Me.

What you intend to sell is likely to be an agricultural compound – a substance or mixture of substances to diagnose, prevent, or treat conditions of animals.

This means that your product will be regulated by the Agricultural Compounds and Veterinary Medicines (ACVM) Act 1997.

This regulation is necessary to ensure these types of products cause no harm to the environment, people, and most importantly the animals that are exposed to these substances. It is also to ensure that these products cause no adverse effects on foods and primary produce intended for local and export markets.

If you wish to list an agricultural compound, ask yourself these questions:

If you discover that your product is an agricultural compound and is not exempt from registration, then you will need to make an application to the Ministry for Primary Industries before manufacturing, importing or selling your product.

There is a lot of information that you’ll need to comply with before you can make an application to register your Trade Name Product (TNP). Check out this summary  for more information.

Finally, if you are listing animal remedies, be wary of making unsubstantiated or therapeutic claims.

Creative Commons image used courtesy Peter Cooper on Flickr.

How to sell coins on Trade Me

New -zealand -coins

Numismatics is the study of coins, tokens, medals and banknotes and Trade Me has recently become numismatic enthusiasts, especially around the presentation of coins on the site.  

We are keen to ensure that coin buyers are not misled when purchasing coins, and we want to ensure a level playing field for coin traders, whether they choose to sell either genuine coins or ‘reproduction’ coins.

To help avoid confusion around the sale of coins, a new policy has been developed. 

Reproduction coins

We have created a new coin category for reproduction coins.

Trade Me will allow sale of reproduction coins in this category when the word ‘reproduction’ is used to describe the coin. The copyright in the coin must have expired.

That is to say, any reproduction coin that is older than 16 years since the date of the original production may be listed on the site. 

An example of this would be the 1343 Edward III florin. There are only three originals known to be in existence and a reproduction is fine to be listed on the site – provided the listing body reflects the coin is a reproduction and is listed in the coins reproduction category.

Any coin that would be in breach of design copyright may not be listed on Trade Me.

Claims which mislead as to the nature of the coin are not cool at all and are likely a breach of the Fair Trading Act. Any listings that make misleading claims will be removed.

What about commemoration or souvenir coins?

These coins may be sold. If they are original issues, they should be listed in the coins category. If they are reproductions, they should go into the reproduction category. 

Note that intellectual property rights will apply to packaging and the like of commemorative sets and souvenir packages. Any listings in breach of this more general artistic copyright will be removed.

When does this policy come into effect?

The reproduction coin category is live to site now. Over the next few days we will begin a process of migrating listings into the new category. Sellers should create any new listings for reproduction coins in the new category. We will also be getting in touch with regular participants in this category to give them the heads up about the new policy. 

What you need to do

If you are listing a reproduced coin for sale where the original was minted under 16 years ago, it needs to be removed from the site.

If you are selling reproduction coins that are not subject to copyright law, they should be listed in the reproduction category. 

Creative Commons image used courtesy Abaconda Management Group on Flickr.

Whitebait: now you can sell the tasty wee buggers on Trade Me

Whitebait -in -egg -batter

Good news for whitebait sammy-lovers and fritter connoisseurs: you can now buy and sell whitebait on Trade Me.

Whitebait has been in caught up in the food category of our banned and restricted items list and we didn’t allow it to be sold unless it had emerged from a registered premises, under an approved food safety programme or registered risk management programme. Listings also had to comply with food labelling and standards requirements. 

This week we received an email from a Trade Me member who reckoned whitebait could be legally sold without adhering to the regular food safety requirements according to the Animal Products (Exemptions and Inclusions) Amendment Order 2005. The guts is that whitebait is excluded from requiring a registered risk management programme certification and can be sold legally without meeting the standard food safety requirements. This is because it has been determined a low-risk product when balanced against the compliance costs and consumption level. 

We chatted to the Department of Conservation and the official word is that whitebait is the only fish species in NZ allowed to be sold by recreational fishers – if you can catch it, you can sell it.

We like whitebait sandwiches and fritters as much as the next person, so it’s great that Trade Me is now a place where whitebait can be bought and sold. Whitebait fishing season for most of New Zealand opens on 15 August and runs until November 30. On the West Coast the whitebait season runs from 1 September until 14 November.

Remember though - if you're selling cakes or other food products on Trade Me, you're probably captured by the regulations.

Creative Commons image used courtesy Ian Carvell on Flickr.

It's a trap! Animal traps on Trade Me

Gin -traps

We’re a bird loving country. We take pride in our ornithological diversity, love to hear the dawn chorus, and feel a flutter when we hear the flap of wings from a fantail, kereru or kaka. They’re a mark of our special place in the world, and we’ve spent a lot of time over the years as a country helping protect our birdlife.

A part of this is animal trapping. Many introduced species pose a risk to the bird folk and their young, and setting traps has proved a good way to help control this threat. However, there is always a right and a not-so-right way to go about things and this is reflected in what can and can’t be listed on Trade Me.

What traps can’t be listed:

There are a lot of traps out there. Traps you can buy at your local hardware store should be fine – it’ll be the traps that you’ve found at the back of the barn that we’re concerned about. Over time, what is acceptable for trapping has changed and some older traps are considered inhumane.

  • On Trade Me, you may not list hard-jawed, leg hold traps – these kinds of traps can break and maim an animal and leave it in all sorts of pain. This is in line with legislation around the use of such devices: no hard-jawed, leg hold trap may be used in a residential environment.
  • Glue traps for rats are also unable to be listed as they can only be used by commercial pest operators – the small cockroach glue traps are fine though.

These types of traps can’t tell the difference between a possum and your neighbour’s poodle, so to stop unfortunate accidents and to give members clear guidelines to follow, we’ve taken the step to ban all hard-jawed, leg hold traps and glue traps for rats.

OK, but what do these traps look like?

These traps look like the old-time gin-traps, although many can be smaller. However, the best way to identify a trap that cannot be listed is just to have a look at what it does – if there is a plate trigger that could be activated by a foot, and the jaws are metal, then it won’t be able to be listed. The size of the trap and whether the trap has teeth or not is not a factor – we'll have to pull it off the site.

Please note that you cannot modify a hard-jawed trap to make it soft-jawed.

If you’d like to know the ins-and-outs of the Government's stance on these traps, or would like to know more about identifying traps or trapping in general, we recommend getting in touch with either the Department of Conservation or the Ministry of Primary Industries – they have a lot of helpful information on their websites.

If you come across any other listings you have concerns about, please report them to us via the "Community Watch" link at the bottom of the page. This will bring them to the attention of our policing team who will investigate.

With the above, we hope that we can help keep the pests out of your garden, off the farm and away from our birds – without causing unnecessary risk or harm to other animals.

Creative Commons image used courtesy Wendy House on Flickr.