What are my obligations as a professional seller?
As a professional seller, you have obligations that should be followed in order for safe trading.
As a professional seller, you have legal obligations under the Fair Trading Act (FTA) and Consumer Guarantees Act (CGA). So that buyers know they are protected under the FTA and CGA when purchasing from you, you must mark yourself as ‘in trade.’
We’ve made it easy for you to disclose on Trade Me that you’re selling in trade by creating a label which appears next to your username in the ‘About the seller’ section on your listings.
You can change your status from your My Trade Me page. For more information on the In Trade disclosure have a read of our help page.
Consumer Guarantees Act
Being a professional or in trade seller means that buyers are protected under the CGA when it comes to the products that you sell.
You cannot contract out of your obligations under the CGA and it can trump any of your own policies if they offer less protection to the buyer, so it’s best to ensure your own policies line up with the CGA to avoid any issues.
The main things for an online seller to be aware of are that products need to arrive safe and sound with the buyer, be fit for purpose, and match your description. For more information about your obligations under the CGA you should familiarise yourself with consumer rights.
If things go wrong, you should always look to do your best by your buyer. This is something we encourage of all sellers on Trade Me, but as a professional seller you also have the Consumer Guarantees Act to abide by too.
For any issues where the goods have been lost in the post or damaged by the carrier, the buyer should receive a replacement or a refund. As the seller, you can make a claim with the carrier in these situations for compensation, and this process shouldn’t hinder a resolution for the buyer.
Sellers should also resolve issues where the item is ‘not as described.’ This could be where the wrong item is sent to the buyer, the item is faulty or not fit for purpose, or it does not match the description on the listing. Depending on the situation, any issues should be resolved with a replacement, refund, or repair.
Providing great customer service is really important, especially if things go south. Customers are much more likely to talk about a bad experience than a good one, so it’s important to do your best to make sure everyone walks away happy.
In any situation, aim to be professional, friendly, and polite. Always keep some top customer service tips in the back of your mind, and learn some handy tricks to try and prevent complaints in the first place.
Having a great returns policy that makes things easy for the buyer is great customer service.
You may choose to accept returns in circumstances not related to a warranty or the CGA, for example, if the buyer orders the wrong item or changes their mind.
As these are not legal requirements, you have more flexibility about the terms that you offer, but your returns policy should be clear, and if possible, consistent across all of your listings to avoid confusion.
Let the customer know exactly how long they have to return a product and what timeframe this refers to – the date of purchase, the day they received it, etc. This is especially crucial if your return period is shorter, such as 30 days or less. Common return time periods offered by sellers are 30, 60 or 90 days.
You may require that the buyer who has changed their mind must pay for return shipping costs. You may also choose to not accept ‘change of mind’ returns at all, however, if the buyer does return an item because it was defective, you must cover the cost of return.
If a member is returning an item because of a misrepresentation made in the listing (including the image) then your warranty or returns policy does not apply, and again, you must cover the cost of the return.
Check out these Seller Blog posts for more information on keeping buyers happy.
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