Trust & Safety Blog

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 what can and can’t be listed on Trade Me.

What traps can’t be listed:

There are a lot of traps out there, and those that 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 those 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’d have to pull it off the site so as not to put any animal at risk.

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 ministries stance on these traps, or would like to know more about identifying traps or tapping 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.  

Is that dog collar worth $30k?

Hunting -dog

Earlier this year, Radio Spectrum Management successfully prosecuted Trade Me member Conrad Adams for selling imported dog-tracking radio electronic devices. These devices are illegal to use as they operate on frequency bands that have already been allocated for other official uses.

We’ve touched on this before, but dog-tracking devices like Garmin Astro collars and their parts are a no-go on Trade Me. Garmin Astro collars are the chief offenders but other makes and models are also restricted:

  • Garmin Astro 220 system
  • Garmin Astro 320 system
  • Garmin DC 20 collar
  • Garmin DC 30 collar
  • Garmin DC 40 collar
  • SportDOG TEK equipment
  • and other devices.

For more info on why these items are restricted on Trade Me, check out this blog post. Compliance with radio-spectrum management is important. The frequencies allocated are relied on by a multitude of people working and travelling in rural areas like emergency services, logging and transportation firms, farms, NZ rail and those working in forested areas.

The use of Garmin Astro collars and similar devices creates a very real risk. At one end of the spectrum (couldn’t help myself), the interference can be a nuisance to those relying on the frequency. At the other end, it can fully disrupt emergency communications operating in the area.

Adams was fined a whopping $30k for importing and selling these devices. While this may be steep, it highlights the importance of compliance with the regulations. In this case, the Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment (MBIE) have shown a serious commitment to prosecuting those who ignore the regulations. MBIE have indicated they will continue to pursue people importing similar equipment in the future.

If you are about to list, or thinking about listing Garmin Astro collars or similar items, it’s important that you are aware of the regulations. If you want to know more about radio spectrum management, check out this site.

MBIE’s Radio Spectrum Management team can be contacted to discuss dog tracking collars and other prohibited equipment on 0508 RSM INFO (0508 776 463) or by email at

Creative Commons image used courtesy reneeviehmann on Flickr.  

Sold or bought a vehicle? Make sure the ownership has been changed

Vintage -toy -car -with -driver

You’ve sold a car on Trade Me, the trade was smooth, however a few weeks down the line you start receiving parking infringements and speeding tickets. You forgot to notify the NZTA about the sale of your vehicle, didn’t you?

If the appropriate agencies aren’t notified of the change of ownership of your vehicle, they will continue to assume it still belongs to you, meaning you end up with someone else’s pesky parking tickets.

The change of ownership process has been made relatively easy in recent years, and can even be done online. There’s two parts to the change: the seller’s and the buyer’s.

If you’re selling a vehicle:

  • Notify the NZTA  about the sale of the vehicle straight away.
  • Complete the “Notice of person selling/disposing of motor vehicle form” (MR13A) through the NZTA. This isn’t mandatory, but it’s strongly recommended that the MR13A be filed. If the buyer doesn’t file their required paperwork, any licensing/infringements will be the responsibility of the seller.  
  • Ask the buyer to give you a transfer receipt to show they are registered to the vehicle before you hand over the keys.

If you’re buying a vehicle:

  • Complete the “Notice by person acquiring motor vehicle form (MR13B) through the NZTA.
  • Request a transfer receipt, which you may need to give to the seller when you pick up the vehicle to show you are now registered to the vehicle.

The NZTA website has all the information you need to transfer the ownership of a vehicle so check it out.

Of course, before you hand over your cash for the vehicle, you really should check if there is any money owing on the vehicle

Creative Commons image used courtesy tiffany terry on Flickr.  

Leave them bones alone

Whether you’re a young Frankenstein in training, looking to source some extra body parts, or a budding Dexter wannabe looking to get rid of the evidence, – unfortunately Trade Me is not the place for you.

We don’t allow the sale of any human body parts on the site. Doing so would break a whole bunch of laws in New Zealand, and it’s also pretty gross.

Our Banned & restricted list outlines what the go is around body parts:

“You may not list a human body or body parts on the site. This includes such items as sperm, eggs, excrement, and bone.”

This list isn’t exhaustive, but you get the gist.

In the past we have seen some extraordinary listings hit the press pretty quickly, and when the law is involved we need to make sure we’re chinning the bar. Some of the weird and (not so) wonderful things people have tried to sell, include an amputated leg that had been kept in the freezer, and on one occasion a kidney that was still inside someone’s body.

We also see gallstones and the odd severed finger that’s been given to the owner to take home. While you may be tempted to make a buck from your misfortune, it’s best to give it pride of place on your mantel piece at home.

But what about hair? One of the exceptions to the no-body-parts rule is human hair extensions. These are permitted because they are professionally made and treated. However you may have seen some of the fun listings on the site for hair cutting that are often being run for charity – Piri Weepu’s hair cut was a pretty popular one. We like to support charities where we can, so these are generally allowed as the hair itself is not usually being sold.

Listing wacky items like body parts may seem pretty harmless, and most people who have listed these kind of things just didn’t know it was not allowed, but we want to make sure our members aren’t breaking the law. Should you come across anything of this nature on the site please let us know by using the Community Watch  button, which you can find at the bottom of every listing.

Careful with that cigarette lighter, Eugene

Zippo -ciggarette -lighter

Do you buy or sell cigarette lighters on Trade Me? If so, there’s some important product safety information you need to be aware of to help keep yourself and your family safe. Unsafe lighters can result in people and property getting harmed, so we take non-compliance very seriously at Trade Me HQ.

A good chunk of cigarette lighters are subject to a mandatory product safety standard in New Zealand. Sellers need to ensure they’re clued up on this, and buyers should educate themselves to ensure they’re buying products that are safe. This safety standard comes under the Fair Trading Act 1986 and is enforced by the Commerce Commission, so the consequences are steep if you’re snapped selling non-compliant products. It definitely pays to do your homework and get it right.


As with everything you list on Trade Me, if you have any concerns about a product’s safety or compliance with the standard it’s best not to list it until you’ve done your research. Many of the tests done on cigarette lighters are designed to ensure little kiddies can’t ignite them easily – so the consequences can be extremely grim if products don’t meet these standards. Don’t be “that guy” that didn’t take his obligations seriously, nobody wants that kind of guilt weighing on their conscience.

The Commerce Commission has a handy help page on this product safety standard, with a downloadable (printer-friendly) PDF Fact Sheet at the bottom. It contains detailed information to help you identify whether the standard applies to your products or not, and contact details for the Commerce Commission should you want to seek further advice.

The regulations apply to “any person who supplies, offers to supply or advertises the supply of new disposable or low-price refillable lighters”. If your lighters come under the standard, you must be able to supply a certificate of compliance showing they’ve been tested and meet the regulations.

It’s illegal to sell these products if you can’t front up with the paperwork, so it’s a good idea to hit up suppliers about this before you buy or import lighters from them. If they can’t or won’t provide this to you, steer clear, as that’s a definite warning sign. If you’re importing the lighters from overseas you must provide a certificate of compliance to NZ Customs when the shipment enters NZ.

If the Commerce Commission requests evidence of compliance from you, you must be able to provide a certificate to them within ten days of being asked. Trade Me might also request a certificate from you at random, and will whip your listings off the site if we have reason to doubt their compliance. Safety comes first.


The Commerce Commission’s help page  is a good read for buyers too, as it helps you to identify products on the site that are subject to the mandatory product safety standard, and whether they comply or not.

If a cigarette lighter seller doesn’t expressly mention the product’s compliance within the listing description, you can use the Q&A to clarify this with them – and if you have any concerns you should hit the Community Watch button and our compliance team will take a look. If you aren’t confident a lighter is safe and compliant, it’s best you don’t bid or hit Buy Now until you’ve done some research.

If you use re-fillable cigarette lighters, always take great care to ensure you re-fill them safely, and follow the instructions closely. Never re-fill lighters around children, and make sure you’re in a well-ventilated space away from highly flammable objects. There are some great online tutorials demonstrating how to do this safely, like this wikiHow step-by-step guide.