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How to take a Disputes Tribunal claim

If you can't resolve a trade you may choose to take your claim to the Disputes Tribunal

24 February 2021

It’s a fact of life that sometimes Trade Me trades go wrong.

We understand that it can be incredibly frustrating that a trader you’ve trusted hasn’t delivered on their promises in some way to you.

They could have, for instance, misled you about the quality of the product you bought and are refusing to do anything about it, despite your best efforts.

If you aren't eligible for Trade Me's Buyer Protection then in such circumstances you might consider taking them to the Disputes Tribunal (DT) to get your issue resolved.

The Disputes Tribunal deals with many types of disputes, including those that occur online. Over the years Trade Me has found this can be a very effective tool for getting the wrongs made right.

The DT deals with claims of up to $15,000 or, if everyone involved agrees, up to $20,000 - so it’s very likely your trade falls within these limits.

It will generally cost $45 to file a claim, but it can be more expensive for larger value claims.

Claims against motor vehicle traders for matters related to motor vehicles can be up to $100,000 and can be heard by the Motor Vehicle Disputes Tribunal instead of the ordinary DT.

We recommend this as it is a dedicated tribunal that knows the ins and outs of the motor industry quite well. It also has an expert assessor who has experience in the industry and they are able to assist the referee with understanding any mechanical issues.

To make a claim at the DT, you need to fill in the ‘How to make a claim’ form and file it with your local District Court.

To file a claim with the DT you will require the other party's full name and address. Sometimes you may not have the full details of the person with whom you traded.

We can help you with those details, but you’ll need to make a statutory declaration due to Privacy Act requirements.

Help us keep our community safe

If you’re dealing with another member who has been threatening in anyway, let us know.

If we have any concerns for the safety or wellbeing of our members and don’t feel comfortable releasing details to them, we’ll consider releasing that information directly to the Disputes Tribunal instead.

Taking a DT claim can be quite daunting, however, it’s been designed to be a cheap and easy way to get issues resolved in a fair manner. Hearings are heard with only the adjudicator, claimant and the respondent present.

No lawyers can attend and you can take a support person with you if you like.

For more information see the advice prepared by Consumer NZ for Trade Me members.