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Our take on the meaning of 'new'

"Good as new" is not the same as "brand new"

By Trade Me 5 February 2021

Is that iPhone brand new? or good as new?

Ever heard the saying ‘good as new’?

It’s something your Dad might say after he’s fixed that leak under your sink with a piece of sticky tape.


And sure, the pipe might not leak anymore, but can you really call it brand spanking, cellophane wrapped, fresh from the factory new? We don’t reckon.

While we celebrate Kiwi ingenuity, and the repurposing of used items, if you are a seller of recycled or refurbished goods you shouldn’t be advertising them as new goods.

Mate, when I make something good as new, it’s good as new.

We don’t doubt it! The problem is, new is widely understood to mean brand new. So if you’re calling a refurbished item new, it’s potentially misleading for buyers.

Our view is that new means new, not refurbished. Imagine buying a new iPhone, believing it's brand new, only to find out that it's a refurbished phone made up of parts from several previous owners – you’d be gutted! 

Generally speaking, a new product is one that has never been used and is in its original packaging. Whereas, a refurbished product is a product with prior history that has been restored to working order.

Aren’t you being a bit picky here?

It might seem like a small thing, but 100% accurate descriptions are extremely important when you’re trading on the site.

Buyers will make decisions on whether or not they buy a product based on the information provided by sellers in product listings. When that information is accurate, they are able to make informed decisions resulting in positive experiences.

Inaccurate or false information has an adverse effect and can often leave the buyer feeling hard done by. This is a poor outcome for anyone involved in the trade.

Not only that, calling a refurbished product new is potentially misleading and may raise issues under the Fair Trading Act 1986, which is enforced by the Commerce Commission.

OK, so what is Trade Me doing about it?

Recently we conducted a review of listings where refurbished products were listed as ‘new’.

We then went about contacting each member using this description incorrectly, providing each with some friendly advice and requesting they make the required changes without delay.

We encourage you to keep listing these items on the site. We just ask that when you’re listing refurbished goods on Trade Me, you don’t describe them as new.

Not to be a one-hit wonder, we will continue to keep a lookout for any problematic listings. If you come across anyone describing refurbished goods as new yourselves, please use the Community Watch at the bottom of the listing page to bring them to the attention of our Trust & Safety team.

Image Gonzalo Baeza as per Creative Commons on Flickr


Trade Me
Trade Me

Written by one of Trade Me motoring experts - giving you advice on used cars, new cars, boats, motorbikes, dirt bikes, caravans, trucks, trailers and more.