Trust & Safety

Trade Me's blog on Trust and Safety issues.

Can I transfer my Trade Me membership?

So you finally cracked the 1000 feedback mark and it’s time to put your feet up and let someone else continue on with the business.

Perhaps the time is right to spend some time with the family away from the computer; maybe it’s time for a holiday in the sun - in one of the Baltic States...

Kuldīga -latvia -car -in -front -building

Whatever your reason for wanting to transfer your Trade Me membership, you need to follow the rules.

For a long time the rule on Trade Me was that you could not transfer your membership at all.

We have relaxed that prohibition a little in recent times and we now permit transfers of memberships with more than 1000 feedback, where you have approval in writing from Trade Me.

We realise memberships are often linked to real world businesses and can form part of an overall deal for the sale of a going concern – meaning it can be easy to overlook getting in touch with Trade Me to get approval in the chaos of getting the deal done.

However, from our perspective it is important to remember that just because you have been an excellent Trade Me member and operated on the site without any issues, that doesn’t mean the person you intend to sell or transfer your membership to will operate to the same level. 

Trade Me needs to be as confident as we can that  where a membership is transfered and the buyer inherits feedback from an existing membership, that buyer will perform to the standards our members would expect from a membership with that level of feedback.

To be clear, you are not permitted to sell feedback. 

Businesses that attempt to purchase other businesses then change the username are effectively buying the existing memberships’ feedback.

We do not allow username changes for transferred memberships.

If we become aware of this, we are likely to shut the membership down and that feedback will be lost.

Also, if you go ahead and sell your membership without Trade Me approval, you face the risk that Trade Me could shut the membership down as you have breached our Terms and Conditions.

You could in turn face legal action from the buyer, if the business is unable to be operated on Trade Me.

As a rule, Trade Me does not permit the sale or transfer of a non-business membership.

As the seller of a business you need to make prospective purchasers aware that including a Trade Me membership in the sale will be contingent on Trade Me approving the transfer in writing. We are likely to need to speak to any prospective buyers.

This allows us to ascertain the buyer’s ability to meet the expectations of the membership they intend to take on, but is also a chance for the buyer to do their due diligence on the membership on offer.

For example, any reasonable buyer is going to want to know whether the membership is on its final warning for selling counterfeit handbags or unsafe electrical goods.

In most cases, the full history of the membership can be made available to the buyer to facilitate the sale of the business.

So, if you are thinking about including your Trade Me membership as part of a business sale:

  • Get in touch with us and give us the heads up so we can talk you through the rules.
  • Make the buyer aware that they will have to provide some information to Trade Me to help us approve the transfer.
  • Make it clear to the buyer that the sale is very unlikely to be approved if the buyer intends to change the username as soon as the transfer is complete (which is effectively buying feedback).
  • Make the buyer aware that they can and should complete due diligence on the membership before they sign on the dotted line, as the whole membership is transferred – including negative feedback and warnings from Trade Me.
  • Note the approval process is a bit of work for Trade Me staff. There is a $100 fee for us to complete this work, so it is important you are confident that your buyer is going to cut the mustard.

Creative Commons image used courtesy Kyle Taylor on Flickr.