In trade disclosure

As a seller, you need to adhere to legal obligations when selling to consumers. As a buyer, you have legal rights under consumer law.

The Fair Trading Act (FTA) applies to what people in trade say and do when selling goods and services.

The Consumer Guarantees Act (CGA) provides guarantees for when you purchase from a person in trade.

Sellers must make it clear if they are in trade when selling items online, so that consumers know they are protected under the FTA and CGA. If you’re not in trade, then you won’t have to make any changes to your membership settings.

How do I know if I’m in trade?

Whether you’re in trade depends on specific circumstances of the seller and the offer. It's up to you to decide whether you are in trade or not. However, where it is clear, given the volume, value and consistency of your trading on Trade Me, that you're in trade, Trade Me may take steps to ensure you turn the in trade icon on.

If you are listing items on Trade Me that you initially bought or acquired for your own personal use, then you won’t be selling them in trade.

Factors that will help determine whether you’re in trade, include if you:

  • regularly or habitually offer to sell goods or services online
  • make, buy or obtain goods with the intention of selling them
  • are GST registered
  • have staff or assistants to help manage your sales
  • have incorporated a company or set up another type of trading vehicle.

For examples and more information, check out the Commerce Commission guidelines on working out whether you may be in trade.

If you want to check out the legal wording, you can find it within the Fair Trading Act.

What do I need to do on Trade Me if I’m selling in trade?

If you’re selling items in trade, the law requires that you disclose this to members when you’re selling items on Trade Me. If you don’t, the Commerce Commission can fine you.

How do I show that I’m in trade on Trade Me?

We’ve made it easy for you to disclose on Trade Me that you’re selling in trade by creating a fancy label that you can choose to appear next to your username in the ‘About the seller’ section on your listings.

You can change your status from your My Trade Me page:

Once you confirm you are selling in trade, the following icon will appear next to your username in the ‘About the seller’ section of the listing page.

Is the in trade label shown across all categories?

No. We’ve excluded a couple of categories because the transaction can’t be completed via Trade Me. For example, if you’re listing in the Jobs, Property, Flatmates wanted or Services categories, the in trade label won’t appear. However, if you’re providing goods or services in trade, be aware that you’ll still have obligations under the CGA, even if you don’t have an in trade label on your listings.

If a ‘dealer’ label appears within the Motors category, it won’t show the in trade label as well. This is because we consider the ‘dealer’ badge communicates to buyers that the seller is in trade. To ensure you’re being clear, you can add in wording saying that you’re in trade within the listing details.

What if I want to sell personal items on Trade Me and still be in trade?

At our discretion, Trade Me allows you to have more than one membership if additional memberships are for business purposes.

You should only have one personal membership. You have the option of setting up additional memberships for business purposes. If you operate more than one business on Trade Me, you may be able to have an additional membership for each business.

If you want to sell your personal items on Trade Me as well as selling items in trade, you have a couple of options:

  • Set up a new membership for business purposes – i.e., selling in trade, or,
  • Change your in trade status from your my Trade Me page if you’re selling in trade.

You also have the option to keep using your existing membership, but clearly disclose within the listing details when you’re selling items in trade. This could be the option for you if you don’t sell stuff in trade very often, but you’re selling these items at the same time as selling personal items, and think it’s a hassle to have more than one Trade Me membership. However, when you sell in trade, you still need to disclose you’re selling an item in trade. You can do this by including clear wording within the listing details, which states that you’re selling the item in trade.

To qualify for the Top Seller programme, you’ll need to switch on your in trade status from your My Trade Me page. You won’t be eligible to become a Top Seller if you write that you’re in trade within your listings. We know this isn’t ideal for a small portion of sellers who do not want to operate two accounts, but we are unable to pick up sellers in our qualification run who have not ticked the ‘in trade’ box.

If you choose to turn your in trade status on and off (depending on the items you have for sale on Trade Me), Trade Me’s system will record when the change in status occurred.


The following scenarios provide some examples around whether a person might be selling in trade or selling personal items:

  • Beth is cleaning out her wardrobe. She sells the clothes online that she doesn’t wear anymore. Despite selling a lot of clothes online, Beth is not in trade because the clothes she is selling were initially purchased for personal use.
  • Sam regularly purchases PlayStation games for his own enjoyment. Over the years he has amassed a large collection of PlayStation games. He has since decided to slim down his collection and recently started selling these games on Trade Me. Sam realizes he could make some money from importing more PlayStation games. He starts to regularly import a number of games when he purchases games for his own use. When Sam sells the imported games online, he will be in trade. However, when he sells the games he purchased for his own personal use, he will not be in trade.
  • Anna knits scarves and hats and sells them at the local weekend market. She imports a number of jewellery and brooches, which she sells at the market also. Anna now knits the scarves and hats fulltime so that she can always stock her market stall. Anna wants to expand into selling online. Anna is in trade because she has made these scarves and hats with the intention of selling them. She is also in trade when she sells the jewellery and brooches.

For further information, check out the Commerce Commission guidelines.

Want further assistance?

  • Call us on 0900 87233Available 24/7. Calls cost $1.99 + GST per minute.
  • Email us your questionWe aim to respond within 3-5 days.