Buying guide

Tools and tips to buy on Trade Me with confidence

As the most trustworthy online marketplace for Kiwi, these are our top tips to help you browse and buy on Trade Me.

Last updated: 14 June 2023

Whether it’s a $3,000 camera or a $1 reserve hammock, it’s reasonable to worry that an item purchased online will arrive differently than how it was described.

Most of the time things work brilliantly for both buyer and seller, but check out our top tips for buying with confidence and learn how our systems help Trade Me be the most trusted online marketplace for Kiwi.

Your responsibility when buying on Trade Me

The most important tool to use when shopping online, is your own mind. It’s important to understand your responsibility as a buyer. Use common sense and your discretion to learn as much as you can about a listing, the item, and its seller. Do some research and follow your own instincts – they’re usually right!

Use the Q&A

Read the listing description carefully and view all photos. If you’ve got questions, ask away in the Q&A. Assuming isn’t advised – even when it should be super clear, we reckon it’s best to check anyway.

Know how Trade Me auctions work

The reserve, watchlist, auto-bid and Ping – if it’s been a while since you last bought or sold on Trade Me, there might be some new features or lingo to familiarise yourself with. Check out our quick guide to shopping for a refresher.

Compare similar listings

If an auction seems too good to be true, it probably is. If most iPads are consistently selling for $200+ and you’ve found one with a Buy Now of $80, there could be something wrong with it. Investigate further by reading the description, or request justification from the seller by asking them on the Q&A.


Checking out a seller’s feedback will give you confidence when you’re buying from them. The more positive feedback the seller has, the more confident you can be in the trade.

Buyer Protection policy

In the rare situation where a trade doesn’t go as planned, our Buyer Protection policy can help.

As well as being the easiest ways to pay, using Ping or Afterpay automatically offer Buyer Protection. If there’s a problem with your trade, you can be refunded up to $2,500 as long as your dispute meets the criteria. Find out more on our Buyer Protection policy.

Trade Me is a trusted site marketplace for buyers and sellers.

Placing feedback on Trade Me

The most important measure of credibility when shopping online is feedback. After every trade, you have the opportunity to place positive, neutral or negative feedback on the member you traded with, and describe your experience with them.

While it’s not compulsory, your comment and rating helps other members decide who to trade with and helps us ensure that all members are contributing positively to the online trading community.

Where to find feedback

Once you’ve found something you like, scope out the seller by scrolling to the bottom of their listing page.

You’ll see the seller’s username next to two green banners. These show the % rating and the user’s total number of trades, so you’ll get a strong sense as to the seller’s credibility.

If you want to know more about the seller, click through to view the seller’s most recent 1,000 trades and read the individual comments.

Why you should place feedback

Taking a moment to give feedback once you’ve received your goods is not just a way to maintain online trading standards – it also acts as an easy way to say thank you to the seller, and help future buyers have confidence when trading with the seller.

For more information on how to give feedback on Trade Me, check out this handy guide.

Types of Trade Me sellers

Here's a summary of the types of sellers you will find on Trade Me:


When sellers are selling so consistently that it’s less of a habit and more of a job, they might be required to disclose their ‘in-trade’ status. When an item is sold by an ‘in-trade’ seller, the buyer will be protected under the Consumer Guarantees Act and the Fair Trading Act.

Top Sellers

Top Sellers are not only in-trade, they also have a feedback rating of 98% or above. They’re professional sellers who make a living from selling their goods online – you’ll be able to spot one by the blue badge beneath their username.

Top Sellers genuinely care about doing a good trade because it’s their job, so look for the blue badge, shop with confidence and don’t forget to give them your feedback afterwards.

All other Kiwi

Although the in-trade and Top Seller badges are reassuring, traders without a status can provide a similarly professional and fun trade – after all, this is how Trade Me started!

You're ready to go

Despite the concerns that many buyers have about online shopping, auctions remain a super popular way to buy stuff. We think it might be because nothing beats the thrill of scoring a new fridge for half its RRP, or stumbling upon a limited edition EP for your vinyl collection.

If you’re able to do some research, seek clarification and give feedback, shopping on Trade Me will be fun, easy and rewarding. Don't forget to pay with Ping so that you’re covered under our Buyer Protection policy for your next eligible purchase on Trade Me.

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