Trust & Safety Blog

A cell for Joshua Calthorpe

Back in 2012 we did a blog post about a fraudster named Joshua Calthorpe.

Calthorpe was apprehended by police in January 2013 and faced 19 fraud charges, for which he received a two-year prison sentence for Trade Me-related fraud.

On being released from that stint in the big house, Calthorpe went straight back to his old tricks, ripping off people who place their contact details in the Q&A section of listings.

Calthorpe, who also goes by the name Taorei-Calthorpe, escalated his offending to include aggravated robbery of a Trade Me member and blackmail.

On Friday 24 June 2016, Calthorpe was sentenced to five years and eight months’ jail time for aggravated robbery and blackmail, as well as eighteen months’ jail for multiple counts of obtaining by deception, all of which are to be served concurrently.

We were stoked to see this sentence, as it reflects the serious implications this kind of offending has for victims.

A big thumbs-up to the excellent work done by our Trust & Safety team, who worked closely with the NZ Police to help stop this fraudster in his tracks.

Stay safe from scammers

When you find an awesome deal on Trade Me, we know it can be tempting to bend the rules and leave contact details in the Q&A section of listings to try and push through a quick sale.

Unfortunately, this leaves you vulnerable to text scamming.

Text scammers are dirt-bag fraudsters who troll auction sites looking to trick people into paying them money for ‘offsite’ transactions, when they are not the actual seller of the item advertised.

By leaving your contact details in Q&A, you set yourself up for scammers to scam you.

Scammers like Calthorpe are banned from having Trade Me memberships, so need to convince people to trade offsite for their scams to work.

From our perspective, the best way to prevent offenders like Calthorpe is not leaving your contact details in the Q&A section of listings.

Secondly, ALWAYS complete the sale through Trade Me.

Sure, this means we collect our success fees, but more importantly, it allows you to be sure you’re actually dealing with the member who has advertised the item for sale. 

If you’re buying high-value items, you may want to consider restricting your purchases to those sellers offering Pay Now.

Check out this link to learn a few more helpful tips to keeping safe on the site.

Stay safe everyone!

Advertising sawn indigenous timber and indigenous logs on Trade Me

Logs -felled -wood

A guest post by the Ministry for Primary Industries

The harvesting, milling, and export of indigenous timber is managed by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) under the Forests Act 1949.

The purpose of the Act is to promote the sustainable forest management of New Zealand’s indigenous forest land.

To mill indigenous timber your sawmill must be registered with MPI, and the timber must have a valid Forests Act approval, such as a milling statement.

MPI monitors the sale of indigenous timber, including Trade Me listings, as part of our normal regulatory activity.

We have recently noticed a number of listings for sawn indigenous timber that do not mention a Forests Act approval, and listings for logs that do not inform buyers of their requirements under the Forests Act.

We believe it is in the interests of all those buying and selling indigenous timber to understand the legal requirements for milling indigenous timber, and to have this information provided in the listing description.

Milling indigenous timber in contravention of the Act is liable upon conviction to a fine of up to $200,000 and to a further fine not exceeding $10,000 for every day during which the offence continues.

If you’re selling indigenous timber on Trade Me, we would appreciate it if you included your Forests Act approval number (e.g. 7-01-0XXXX) in your listing description.

If you’re selling indigenous logs on Trade Me, and you think people might want to mill them for timber, we would appreciate it if you included the following sentence in your listing description:

“The milling of native timber is regulated by the Ministry for Primary Industries under the Forests Act 1949. If you intend to mill this timber, you will need to register your sawmill with MPI and apply for a milling statement.”

If your listing is for recycled or demolition timber, simply state as such in your listing (you do not need an approval for this timber).

If you have any questions or are unsure what to include in your listing description, please get in touch with us (MPI) on 0800 00 83 33, or email

MPI will be following up with any sellers that do not take the appropriate action.

For further information on indigenous Forestry and the Forests Act, including how to register a sawmill or apply for milling approval, head over to our website.


Trade Me thanks MPI for this post and notes that while the wording is voluntary, we strongly recommend members use it in their listings. 

Photo supplied courtesy MPI.

As an ‘in trade’ seller, what are your delivery obligations?

Mail -package

It can be exciting when you’ve made another sale and your business is thriving. However, your job isn’t done just yet – you need to make sure the item arrives safely with your buyer.

The Consumer Guarantee Act provides some guidance around what’s expected – read on for more info.

What happens if an item gets damaged in the post?

Any goods that a seller delivers or organises to be delivered, must arrive to the buyer in an acceptable condition.

If an item is described in a listing as being 10/10 perfect condition, this is what the buyer is expecting to receive.

If the seller sends an item and it gets damaged in the post, it’s the seller’s responsibility to remedy the situation.

Does an item need to arrive quickly?

Sellers need to make sure the item arrives within the agreed time period.

If a time period hasn’t been agreed upon, the item needs to be delivered within a reasonable time frame.

For example, you wouldn’t expect a life-sized sculpture of Gandalf to be delivered the same day as the purchase, although that would be awesome.

On the other hand, you wouldn’t expect a new pair of socks to take three weeks to arrive.

In these situations, good old common sense prevails.

If an item does not arrive, it is the seller's responsibilty to resolve the matter - either by replacement at no cost or by full refund. 

What happens if ‘in trade’ sellers don’t meet the requirements under the Consumer Guarantees Act?

If a buyer receives an item and there’s significant damage, it’s reasonable to expect a seller to do one of the following things:

  1. repair the damage within a reasonable time frame
  2. or replace the damaged goods
  3. or refund the buyer in full.

If a seller is required to remedy the damage but doesn’t, the buyer has the following options:

  • have the damage repaired elsewhere and the seller covers the cost
  • or reject the goods and have them returned to the seller.

Please note that sellers are responsible for any return shipping costs.

What if an item is damaged by the postal company?

If this happens, a seller’s first responsibility is to remedy the situation for the buyer.

A claim can then be filed with the postal company to recover any losses.

However, a seller needs to resolve the situation with the buyer, no matter the result of the claim with the postal company (i.e. resolve the problem without regard to any dealings with the postal company).

If you find yourself in a similar situation and don’t know what to do…

We all understand that things can sometimes go wrong. If you ever find yourself in a bit of a pickle and don’t know what to do, our awesome Customer Support team is available 24/7 and are happy to help.

Keep safe from Phishing

Some of our members have reported receiving emails that look like they’ve come from Trade Me, and are asking them for personal information.

We thought it was a good time to let you know how to spot them, and what to do if you receive one.

Here are two examples of emails that were not sent by us.

 This scam is called phishing, where scammers mimic a legitimate company, in this case Trade Me emails and the Trade Me website, in an attempt to trick you into giving away your personal information including credit card details.

If you’ve received one, don’t click on the links in the email, and delete it. 


Here's another example of a phishing attempt:


Steps for you to take:

  • If you have received a suspicious email please forward it to
  • If you have entered your credit card details into one of these fraudulent websites, call your bank now and explain the situation.
  • If you have entered your Trade Me login details into a phishing website, you will need to reset your Trade Me password immediately, please call us immediately on 0800 334 332 for assistance.
  • As a security precaution we recommend you run a full virus scan on your computer immediately, you can find out more here.
  • If you use the same password elsewhere, it’s possible that your other online accounts may also be accessed, so be sure to update your password and any security questions there too.
  • If you'd like to know more about phishing, feel free to check out our guide on how to protect yourself online from scams.