Trust & Safety Blog

Keeping your Trade Me account secure

We’ve all seen the (sometimes kevin-cool-shadeembarrassing) results of leaving a Facebook account unattended.

While the outcomes can be a little different, and whether it's on purpose or not, letting other people use your Trade Me account can be just as problematic. 

Even when it comes to your nearest and dearest, we need to know it's only the account holder using the Trade Me account. In clause 3.4 of our terms and conditions, we say that “you are responsible for keeping your login information, including your email address and password, secret and secure”.

This is especially important if your partner/family/friend (or anyone else that could access your account) has been banned from Trade Me. 

If you have concerns about someone else accessing your account, here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Keep your account password safe – rather than writing it down, try and create a password that’s easy for you to remember, but difficult for someone else to guess.
  • Create a password that has a mix of capital letters, numbers and other characters.
  • Opt to not let your browser automatically save your password.
  • If you want to be super careful and you’re not using your normal computer, you could also clear your cookies when you’re done.
  • If you’re logging in on someone else’s computer, it’s a good idea to leave the ‘Remember me’ box unticked. 

For some more tips on staying ‘cyber safe’ on Trade Me, check out this blog post.

Disclosure of Australian Statutory motor vehicle 'write offs' now required


We’re concerned that there is an unquantified number of vehicles in the New Zealand fleet that have been through the statutory write-off process in Australia* and then on-sold to New Zealand buyers and dealers, who are not aware of the history of the vehicle.

So we’re doing something about it.

We’ve made a new policy around the information that must be disclosed by Motor Vehicle Traders listing these vehicles.

All motor vehicle traders listing vehicles on Trade Me must disclose in the listing body if a vehicle imported from Australia was a statutory write off.

This applies to vehicles imported from 1 January 2011

We’ve outlined this requirement in our banned and restricted list, and this policy comes into effect on 1 July 2016.

Required wording:

"This vehicle was imported from Australia as a statutory write off. Buyers should ensure they fully understand the history of the vehicle before purchase."

Why is this an issue?

Vehicles which have been written off in Australia may have suffered significant damage, including flood or fire.

Although they may have been cleaned, the damage may only have been repaired cosmetically to get the vehicle past border compliance, and there could be underlying safety issues (particularly with regards to electrical componentry).

We‘re concerned about the safety of our members and we believe consumers need to know the accurate history of a vehicle so they have the opportunity to have the vehicle inspected for specific types of damage or repair.

We understand that vehicles are meant to entry certification before vehicles are able to be driven on NZ roads, but there are ways to ‘work around’ this regulatory requirement.

We’re aware of cases where consumers have paid the same price for vehicles that have been through the statutory write-off process as they would for vehicles that have not suffered significant damage.

This means consumers are paying an inflated price for these vehicles based on a misleading impression of the vehicle’s history. And that’s just not cool.

Trade Me is not protesting against vehicles being appropriately repaired and then on-sold in New Zealand, but we believe consumers need to have an accurate picture of the true state of the vehicle to assess the vehicle’s worth with full information.

We believe that motor vehicle dealers who fail to disclose this information are making a misrepresentation by omission and this could amount to a breach of the Fair Trading Act.

We are aware the Commerce Commission is investigating this issue. 

How can motor vehicle traders comply with this policy?

New Zealand importers will be fully aware of the history of vehicles they import from Australia. This is always recorded on the documentation accompanying the vehicle as it enters New Zealand.

Other motor vehicle traders may use NZTA or MotorWeb to check the status of the vehicle.

We recognise that the NZTA’s database is a starting point and not a comprehensive data set.

If there is any doubt as to a vehicle’s status, traders may wish to consider exploring the vehicle’s repair certification status as a lead. 

We expect traders to make best endeavours to determine the vehicle’s status and disclose if the vehicle was a statutory write-off, particularly if the vehicle was imported into NZ on or after 1 January 2011.

Why is Trade Me taking this action and not the Government?

We look out for our members and where the Government has not yet taken action, we often get stuck in because it is the right thing to do.

While we are making this change for the benefit of Trade Me’s members, it is our view that this information should be a regulatory requirement for all vehicles statutorily written off for both Australian and the rest of the world.

Trade Me believes this information should be a mandatory requirement on the Consumer Information Notice. Further, to ensure the greater provision of information to consumers, we believe the CIN should be displayed on all online classified advertising. 

Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Paul Goldsmith responds:

“It is important that consumers have easy access to key information when making purchasing decisions. If you buy a second-hand car from a dealer, consumers do have rights under the Fair Trading Act.

“Under this Act, it’s unlawful for these businesses to mislead or deceive you, or to give you false information about vehicles they’re selling.

“I wholeheartedly agree with Trade Me’s sentiment that taking steps to mislead or deceive a purchaser at the point of sale about a motor vehicle’s history is unacceptable.

“I understand information regarding statutory write-offs from Australia has been available on the NZ Transport Agency website for some time. The Government recognises that this information needs to be more readily accessible to consumers, and is making changes. I am actively considering whether regulatory change to the current Consumer Information Notice (CIN) requirements is necessary or whether consumers can be provided with this information through other mechanisms.

“I will be watching the developments closely and have asked officials to report back to me on progress.”

* Statutory write offs are vehicles that are written off for insurance purposes because they’ve suffered significant damage. This damage could be from a crash, flood, fire or other accident. Once a vehicle is written off in Australia, it's never allowed back on the road - hence the export market to NZ.

Image credit courtesy Creative Commons licence by The NMRA 

To amber bead or not to amber bead?

Amber -teething -necklace

Amber bead necklaces are often worn by babies to help ease teething troubles. Some parents absolutely swear by them and there’s been plenty of robust debate about the therapeutic benefits of amber beads – from which ones are the best, through to how on earth they could actually work. It’s seemingly the stuff of magic. 

Last year the Commerce Commission decided amber beads are not magic and gave formal advice to an online seller who had been making some outrageous claims about the powers of their amber beads. They said to the seller:

If you “cannot adequately substantiate all of the claims relating to the therapeutic benefits of the product, reasonable grounds do not exist for the claims to be made.  Such claims are therefore in breach of the Fair Trading Act.”

What does this mean? 

It means that you can’t make any unsubstantiated claims about amber beads in the listing body. If your claims can’t be rigorously scientifically proven, then don’t state them.

But I swear they really do work!

While my second cousin (twice removed) and her hairdresser’s pet groomer both absolutely swear that amber beads made a huge difference to their teething babies, if they can’t actually prove it, then the advice of the Commerce Commission stands.

Have you got some examples of these misleading claims?

  • When worn against the skin, the amber warms and releases the oil that helps sooth and relieve symptoms of teething.
  • Scientific research has proved that succinic acid (or any other property) has a very positive influence on teething babies/pets/anyone.
  • Succinic acid ‘strengthens the body and improves immunity’.
  • Amber beads/succinic acid has been proven to be the equal to or better than any commercial drug, and much less expensive, etc.
  • Amber beads contain the essence of Unicorn Dreams, and will make all your wishes come true.

OK, I get it. How do I sell amber beads without making misleading claims?

The Association of New Zealand Advertisers (ANZA) supports the Therapeutic Advertising Pre-vetting Service, often known as TAPS. TAPS can be used as a service to ensure that the wording used in listings doesn’t breach any law. If you’re selling at scale, it may be worth your while to use this service.

ANZA has produced a guide for advertisers when promoting products such as amber teething necklaces. The guide provides examples of unacceptable therapeutic claims, acceptable claims and the warnings that should be included, including the risk of strangulation.

We strongly recommended that amber bead sellers on Trade Me adhere to the guide.

Risk of strangulation

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s Trading Standards team has released some guidance on the use of amber teething necklaces.

These guidelines point out that necklaces aren’t designed to be chewed by the baby and they’re a potential strangulation risk.

Amber necklaces should be removed from a baby when the baby is unattended even if this is likely to be for a very short period of time. Babies shouldn’t be left wearing necklaces while sleeping – whether that is during the day or overnight.

Crikey, that’s a lot of words Trade Me, can I actually still sell amber beads?

Yes, you can, but don’t make any unsubstantiated claims and we recommend running your description past TAPS before you list on the site. 

Privacy Awareness Week 9 - 14 May

It’s been a pretty big year for privacy. There have been several high-profile issues where the collection of personal information by government agencies has resulted in public discussion.

A key moment was Apple refusing to unlock an iPhone for the FBI, which gave a message to the world that access to user information is not as simple as asking for it.
Privacy Week 2016 Nz

Closer to home, we haven’t escaped discussion either, with our Transparency Report generating a fair bit of attention.

This is something we’re pretty proud of, as we take our members’ privacy extremely seriously.

If you’re keen to know a bit more, here’s our privacy policy. It explains how we handle information about our members that we gather, store and use.

Our members entrust their data to us. It is not Trade Me’s data.

Seeing as it’s Privacy Awareness Week, we thought it’d be a good time to give you some basic information to help you know more about your privacy rights.

Principle 6 of the Privacy Act gives you the right to access personal information held about you by agencies, including Trade Me.

You also have a right to correct that information if it’s inaccurate (a great example is your delivery address – if you move, let us know!).

While you have always been able to request your personal information, we’ve just created a new help page which gives you a list of commonly requested information, and a guide to how you can make a Principle 6 request.

Have a look if you’re keen for more info.