Trust & Safety Blog

Our take on the meaning of 'new'

Iphone

Ever heard the saying ‘good as new’?

It’s something your Dad might say after he’s fixed that leak under your sink with a piece of sticky tape.

Legend.

And sure, the pipe might not leak anymore, but can you really call it brand spanking, cellophane wrapped, fresh from the factory new? We don’t reckon.

While we celebrate Kiwi ingenuity, and the repurposing of used items, if you are a seller of recycled or refurbished goods you shouldn’t be advertising them as new goods.

Mate, when I make something good as new, it’s good as new.

We don’t doubt it! The problem is, new is widely understood to mean brand new. So if you’re calling a refurbished item new, it’s potentially misleading for buyers.

Our view is that new means new, not refurbished. Imagine buying a new iPhone, believing it's brand new, only to find out that it's a refurbished phone made up of parts from several previous owners – you’d be gutted! 

Generally speaking, a new product is one that has never been used and is in its original packaging. Whereas, a refurbished product is a product with prior history that has been restored to working order.

Aren’t you being a bit picky here?

It might seem like a small thing, but 100% accurate descriptions are extremely important when you’re trading on the site.

Buyers will make decisions on whether or not they buy a product based on the information provided by sellers in product listings. When that information is accurate, they are able to make informed decisions resulting in positive experiences.

Inaccurate or false information has an adverse effect and can often leave the buyer feeling hard done by. This is a poor outcome for anyone involved in the trade.

Not only that, calling a refurbished product new is potentially misleading and may raise issues under the Fair Trading Act 1986, which is enforced by the Commerce Commission.

OK, so what is Trade Me doing about it?

Recently we conducted a review of listings where refurbished products were listed as ‘new’.

We then went about contacting each member using this description incorrectly, providing each with some friendly advice and requesting they make the required changes without delay.

We encourage you to keep listing these items on the site. We just ask that when you’re listing refurbished goods on Trade Me, you don’t describe them as new.

Not to be a one-hit wonder, we will continue to keep a lookout for any problematic listings. If you come across anyone describing refurbished goods as new yourselves, please use the Community Watch at the bottom of the listing page to bring them to the attention of our Trust & Safety team.

Image Gonzalo Baeza as per Creative Commons on Flickr

A ‘how to’ for discount pricing on Trade Me

Was -now -pricing

Everybody loves a good bargain, and we’re no exception.  

It’s for just this reason that the Commerce Commission (or ComCom for short) are around, keeping an eye on the way retailers use discount pricing.

Amongst other things, ComCom are tasked with enforcing the Fair Trading Act, which prohibits traders from making misleading representations with respect to price.

So what’s misleading?

There are a bunch of behaviours that could be considered misleading, but the main theme is that the discounts you advertise need to be genuine. This means that if you want to advertise a discount, this needs to be done based on an ordinary price that you regularly use.

For example, you can’t just list a product with a 50% off label for the purpose of attracting buyers. This is misleading behaviour if not based on real, commonly used prices.

If you don’t use discount pricing appropriately, chances are you’ll get a letter from ComCom with a big please explain attached, and it’s not uncommon for this kind of thing to lead to some pretty hefty fines.

How does Trade Me deal with discount pricing?

We’re all about the sales at Trade Me, and we love to see our members getting great value on the site.

We also make it easy for members to advertise by providing a feature that sellers can use to display what the price used to be, alongside the new, discounted price.

But, like ComCom, we don’t want people using discount pricing inappropriately.

So, off the back of some recent media around the subject, we’ve chosen to implement some clear rules for advertising discount pricing on Trade Me.

The rules around using was/now pricing on Trade Me

  1. The ‘was’ price must have previously been offered on Trade Me by the member advertising the discount. It cannot be an RRP or valuation, unless the member has previously offered the goods on Trade Me at that price.
  2. The ‘was’ price must have been offered on Trade Me for a minimum of 28 days before a discounted ‘now’ price can be advertised.
  3. Discount prices should only be offered for a short period of time. Sellers must be reasonable when setting their sales periods, and we suggest that these be no more than 28 days.  
  4. Members can only offer consecutive discounts on the same item if they are further discounting the price. The previous "now" or sale price must be used as the new "was" or original price. Members can't regularly offer the same discount on an item.
  5. New members may not have ‘was/now’ pricing enabled until at least 28 days have passed since their registration.
  6. An allowance of 3% will be permitted for international marketplace sellers using ‘was/now’ pricing to account for currency fluctuation.

Sounds serious?

Yeah, it can be – but it’s an easy fix!

If you haven’t updated your pricing in the last month, it’s worth going through your listings to make sure that the discounts you’re offering follow these new guidelines. Our Trust & Safety team look after this kind of thing too, so don’t be surprised if you are contacted by them directly to let you know if your pricing is out of date.

Just remember, at the end of the day all we want to see is our members offering, and receiving genuinely good value.

For more information on pricing, check out ComCom’s pricing fact sheet, or drop us a line. We keep the lights on 24/7.

Image Consumerist Dot Com as per Creative Commons on Flikr 

No more orange fire safety labels on kids pyjamas

Fire -labels -nz

The Commerce Commission has released guidance for parents and traders on new safety regulations for children’s nightwear.

The Commission has published this advice: 

The new regulations and the standard they enforce are intended to reduce the number of serious or fatal burn injuries to children by informing consumers of the relative flammability hazard of children’s nightwear.

The regulations came into force in April 2016, but a one-year transition period was allowed, so that suppliers and retailers could sell existing stock and ensure new stock meets the regulations.

The key change is around labelling, with a reduction from three types to two:

  • White label: low fire hazard fabrics
  • Red label: higher fire hazard risk
  • Orange label: now phased out, and must no longer appear on nightwear

The Commission has produced guidance for both traders and consumers which can be found on the Commission’s website.

The consumer information is also available in brochure format contact the Commission to request copies

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Trade Me welcomes these guidelines and enourages members to be familiar with them.

When members list in the children's clothing category we send an automated reminder email so that they are alerted to the requirements and can make selling decisions accordingly. 

These regulations apply to both new goods AND second hand nightwear. More detail about PJ labelling can be found at this help page.

Privacy Foundation of New Zealand launched

Privacy -foundation -nz

Trade Me is pleased to support the launch of the Privacy Foundation of New Zealand.

The Foundation is an independent civil society group that has been established to help to advocate for people’s privacy and personal information rights in New Zealand.

The Foundation aims to be a new and strong voice that offers independent, informed and fair public comment. It will help to keep an eye on government and business uses of our personal information, and will make statements on law and policy proposals where it sees a potential erosion of rights, or introduction of unnecessary intrusions.

The Foundation will also conduct research on important privacy issues, as capacity permits.

Foundation members are all volunteers with expertise or interest in privacy issues. Its members include people from the business, IT, health and legal sectors, as well as from a variety of academic disciplines.

Chair Marie Shroff said today

“Control over our personal information is a crucial 21st century human rights issue. Hardly a day goes by without a fresh report of loss, carelessness or deliberate misuse of our information. Also, the complexity of our information environment leads many people to wonder how much control they have in the big data age. They are rightly worried about whether anything is off limits to government and business. They are concerned for the safety and rights of both themselves and their children.

"The Office of the Privacy Commissioner has a crucial and sometimes lonely role in upholding the Privacy Act 1993, in resolving privacy complaints from the public and working to influence government and business practice. While the Foundation is separate from the Office of the Privacy Commissioner and our views may sometimes differ, we expect to be able to complement and support its work in most instances".

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