Trust & Safety

Trade Me's blog on Trust and Safety issues.

A buyers’ guide to identifying lemon traders

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A buyers’ guide to identifying lemon traders

Part one of the ‘lemon guide’ looked at identifying lemon listings. What about the people making the listings. How can you identify lemon listers?

A small bit of time checking out who you are considering buying from might prevent some unwelcome surprises during the trade.

Lemon traders take various forms. Let’s look at the most common forms and how to spot them.

The lemon trader with a poor trading history

We ask that our members conduct themselves in a manner that encourages good trades. Lemon listers probably don’t have a great trading history so how do you spot them?

Check their feedback. Look for signs that the trader will deliver the type of trade you are after.

A high percentage of trades that ended in negative feedback might mean they have a bad selling history.

Don’t discount a new member though!

We all start somewhere, just make sure that they tick the other boxes mentioned in the lemon series before you proceed.

The lemon trader whose not who they appear to be 

It’s one of Trade Me’s rules that only you, the owner of the account, may use your membership.

If you encounter someone that’s not using their own membership or that has bogus membership details, you may be dealing with a lemon lister. How do you spot this person?

Again, it’s looking at the seller’s details. The Member Profile page displays the seller’s first name, location and the age of their membership. These details may help you to spot this kind of lemon.

Questions you can ask yourself:

  • What’s their first name? The name of the person you correspond with and pay (if paying into a bank account) normally matches the name of the bank account holder provided. These details should not be of famous celebrities, gibberish such as ‘ttruusttmmmee’. That’s a giveaway right there!
  • What’s their location? If the seller’s location doesn’t match the location of the item you may be dealing with a 3rd party who has access to someone else’s account.
  • What’s the age of the membership? When a member makes claims of being a new trader or a well-established one, you can match it with their Member Profile. If the details don’t agree you may be dealing with a 3rd party or a person that’s operated another membership in the past.

Lemon lister avoidance

You think you may have spotted a potential lemon, what do you do now?

If you’re keen to trade, ask specific, relevant questions about the item or service via the Q and A or ‘contact this seller’ section. Ask for better or specific images of the item(s) to be added to the listing.

If the answers satisfy you, you may choose to proceed with the trade. The more informed you are, the better decision you can make.

If you’re confident you’ve identified a lemon lister, please let the Trade Me team know via the community watch, located at the bottom of each listing.  Please provide as much useful information as you can.