What to do if we ask you for ‘proof of product safety’

Goods must be safe to be sold in New Zealand and on Trade Me, we may ask you for supporting documentation

16 March 2021

When you buy something online, you want it to be safe.

We want the items sold on Trade Me to be safe too, so from time to time we ask members for proof that the items being sold are approved for use in New Zealand households.

Government agencies that enforce product safety standards also do their own follow ups, so it’s a good idea to make sure you’re informed about what can and can’t be safely used.

The kind of proof we’ll be asking you to provide will depend on what items you’re selling. Here’s a quick rundown on some of the situations where you might be asked for POPS.

For the shockingly safety conscious…

One of the main areas that crops up is electrical goods. Some of these items will need something called a ‘Supplier Declaration of Compliance’ (or SDoC), which is basically a document that says the item is safe to be sold. Specialty items will also often need additional certification.

If you’re a professional seller, you probably already know about these safety standards and will be able to supply an SDoC when required.

Anybody smell that?

On the topic of SDoCs, but with a bit of a segue, similar rules exist around gas appliances. Since 2010, sellers will also need to show a safety compliance label, which should be found on the item itself.

Again, these documents should be able to be given to you by a supplier or importer if you don’t have them on hand.

Food, glorious food!

Moving away from the dry stuff, and onto something a bit more palatable. Food!

A contaminated barrel of fish is hardly a barrel of laughs, and we care about protecting your insides.

If we ask you to show your food is bug free, we’ll want to know if it’s either made in a registered kitchen, or is covered by a Food Safety Programme.

If you do have some kai you want to share over Trade Me, it might pay to double check that your treats fit within the safety guidelines.

Extras for experts…

Generally, we’re allowed to pick and choose what we buy and what we sell on, but sometimes the Minister puts their foot down where they know something will cause injury. That’s when an unsafe goods notice is issued.

Anything subject to an unsafe goods notice can’t be sold on Trade Me. For example, chainsaws without a chain brake.

Now you’ll be glad to hear that not every request is going to ask for a fancy certificate. Some of the time we’ll just need you to take a clear photo of part of the item.

Don’t sweat it, we’ll make sure to be clear about what we’re asking you for in any POPS request.

For more information about product safety, check out this other great blog. There are also a bunch of other products with mandatory safety standards which can be found in further detail on the Commerce Commission website.

Thanks for reading and stay safe!