Buyer Protection

We want to make sure our members have a safe and great trading experience.

Buyer Protection can help if you buy a Marketplace item using our preferred payment systems (Ping, Pay Now or Afterpay) and it doesn’t turn up, or it’s not as it was described.

How does it work?

In the first instance, buyers and sellers are expected to use good old common sense and try and work out any issues themselves.

As a buyer, if you’re unable to reach a resolution, you have 30 days from buying the item to make contact with us in order to be eligible for Buyer Protection. You can make contact by filing a dispute report.

We’ll consider your situation, and if you meet the below eligibility criteria and we believe your situation is appropriate, we’ll refund you if an item:

  • hasn't been delivered by the seller ('non-delivery') or
  • is materially different from what the seller described in the listing ('not as described').

When are you eligible for Buyer Protection?

In order to be eligible for a refund through Buyer Protection, you’ll need to meet the following criteria:

  • You purchased the item via one of our preferred payment systems (Ping, Pay Now or Afterpay).
  • You’ve filed a dispute report within 30 days of buying the item.
  • The item is not excluded from being eligible (see the list below).
  • You’ve already tried in good faith to resolve the dispute directly with the seller.
  • You’ve posted feedback on the seller about the trade.
  • If you’re claiming an item is not as described, you’ve returned the item with original packaging to the seller’s address in materially the same, or similar, condition as when it was received by you (unless an exception applies).
  • You’ve acted in good faith – we retain the discretion to refuse a refund if we decide you’ve failed to act reasonably and in good faith with us or the seller.
  • Your dispute meets the criteria in the ‘what’s protected’ section below.

Refunds under Buyer Protection are limited to $2,500 (including original shipping costs). If your item is worth more than this, we may still refund you up to this amount.

Please make sure dispute reports are filed by the registered account holder. In some cases, we’ll need you to provide proof of identity before we refund you.

Refunds for Afterpay purchases will be made with the involvement of Afterpay (see below for more details).


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What’s protected?

If we decide you meet the eligibility criteria (above), we may provide you with a refund in the following circumstances:




You may be eligible for a refund if you arrange shipping with the seller and the item doesn’t arrive within the time indicated by the seller (or, if not indicated, a reasonable time). However, if the item is tracked and shows that it was signed for, we’ll consider the item delivered, meaning the seller isn’t responsible.

Not as described

You may be eligible for a refund if your item doesn’t materially match the listing description of what you’ve purchased. There are a number of cases where you may be eligible for a refund:

Different item

E.g. if you order a large t-shirt and the seller sends you a small t-shirt.

Item’s condition misrepresented

E.g. you order a pair of shoes described as “new” but receive shoes scuffed with the soles worn through.

Item missing parts or features

E.g. you order a phone described as coming with a charger, protective case and headphones, but you only receive the phone.

The item is fake, unsafe or otherwise illegal

E.g. if the item is counterfeit or is non-compliant with product safety standards. Note: If an item is counterfeit, unsafe or illegal, we may require that you return this to Trade Me for disposal or detention through appropriate authorities.

Number of items is wrong

E.g. you order three rugby balls but only receive two.

Item damaged during shipping

E.g. you order a set of wine glasses and they’re broken when you take them out of the box.


What's not protected?

The following cases are excluded from Buyer Protection:

Situation               Explanation

Buyer’s mistake

You won’t be eligible where you mistakenly purchase an item or a different kind of item to what you intended.

E.g. if you wanted to order a large t-shirt but mistakenly ordered a small t-shirt, Buyer Protection won’t apply.

Buyer’s remorse/change of mind

You won’t be eligible If you buy an item and subsequently decide you do not want it.

E.g. if you buy a Christmas present for your partner but they do not like it, you won’t be able to get your money back or return it.

Seller or another party has refunded you

You won’t be able to receive a refund under Buyer Protection where we receive evidence that the seller or a third party has refunded you for the entirety of the purchase price (including shipping).

If the seller or a third party has partially refunded you, we’ll consider whether this has satisfied the seller’s obligations under our terms and conditions, the Consumer Guarantees Act, the Sale of Goods Act or other relevant laws before deciding whether you’re eligible for a partial refund from us.

Item excluded

Buyer Protection only applies to some Trade Me Marketplace items. Trade Me may exclude certain items, including any of the following:

  • banned items
  • real estate for sale or rent
  • vehicles (including boats, aircraft, tractors, trailers or similar items)
  • pets and animals (including livestock, poultry and bees)
  • businesses for sale
  • carbon credits

Fraudulent claims

You won’t be eligible for Buyer Protection if Trade Me considers that you are or may be acting fraudulently.

E.g. if we have evidence from a courier that you signed for an item, we will not accept a dispute report that the item was not delivered. We may also refuse it if you have a history of making false or fraudulent claims and we consider it is appropriate to do so.

Items damaged during pick up by the buyer

If you or an agent acting on your behalf (such as a freight company you’ve engaged) come to the seller’s premises to pick up the item, and due to the nature of the item it suffers damage while being picked up by you, you won’t be eligible for Buyer Protection.

E.g. if you pick up a marble statue from the seller, the seller won’t be responsible if you damage this moving it to your vehicle or taking it home afterwards.

Non-delivery where items are shipped to a vacant address

If you arrange for an item to be shipped to an address where you won’t be available to pick the item up, Buyer Protection won’t apply.

E.g. if you arrange for a new television to arrive at your holiday house on a Thursday, but you won’t have a chance to go to the address until the Saturday morning, you won’t be eligible if the item isn’t there when you arrive.


What information do I need to provide? 

If you’ve talked to the seller (or you haven’t heard back from them) and you’ve been unable to resolve the dispute, we’ll ask for information so that we understand what has happened. In order to be eligible for a refund through Buyer Protection, we’ll require you and the seller to:

  • Cooperate with us in good faith to help resolve the dispute or decide whether Buyer Protection applies.
  • Answer any questions we have about the trade between you and the seller in a timely manner.
  • Send us any correspondence that’s relevant to the trade.
  • Send us any photos, evidence of purchase, receipts or other evidence that will help establish the nature and condition of the item, or whether it was delivered.

Where necessary, we may share some of your information with Afterpay to help resolve the dispute (see our privacy policy for more information).

We'll aim to process your Buyer Protection dispute as quickly as possible, but timeframes may depend on the complexity of the matter, the evidence available to us, and any enquiries we need to make.

How does Trade Me assess ‘not as described’ disputes?

We’ll look at what’s happened, applying our terms and conditions and normal rules under the Consumer Guarantees Act 1993, Sale of Goods Act 1908, Fair Trading Act 1986 or other relevant laws, to determine whether an item is not as described. If it’s likely you’d be protected by these laws or our terms and conditions, and we’re satisfied that you’ve met our other criteria and a refund is appropriate, we’ll give you your money back.

Return shipping

Normally for a not as described dispute, you must return the item to the seller. We expect sellers to cover the cost of return shipping, and for you and the seller to work together in good faith to get the item returned. For items worth over $250, any return shipping will need to be sent via 'signature required' courier.

If there’s a dispute regarding return shipping, we may credit your Trade Me account with an amount proportionate to your reasonable shipping costs, up to the value of $50, so that you can return the item back to the seller via a recognised shipping company. If we decide to give you a Buyer Protection refund for the item, we’ll usually pass these shipping costs on to the seller (as well as your original shipping costs).

Despite the above, we may not require you to return the item to the seller if:

  • the seller refuses to accept return of the item
  • the item is hazardous to ship
  • the item is from an international seller and it’s impractical to return the item (in which case, we may require that you return the item to us)
  • the item has lost its value due to timing (e.g., a ticket to a music concert)
  • the item is counterfeit or unsafe (in which case, we may ask you to send this to us and we reserve the right to dispose of the item or pass it to government agencies)
  • we decide return shipping is unnecessary or inappropriate.

If your item needs return shipping, you should ship it back to the seller in materially the same or similar condition to when you received it. We may make an exception if your dispute relates to an undisclosed material defect, and you wouldn’t have been able to discover this defect without using the item. E.g. if you only discover that a fishing rod doesn’t wind properly once you use it for the first time and it’s already been covered in bait and saltwater.

Our role

For each dispute report made under Buyer Protection, we’ll make reasonable efforts to ascertain whether your dispute falls within our Buyer Protection Policy, and if it is appropriate for you to receive a refund.

In particularly complicated scenarios, rather than processing a Buyer Protection dispute, we may refer you to the Disputes Tribunal instead. An example of a tricky situation could be if the seller sends you a lawn mower which is an older model than described in the listing. You then use it a few times and damage it before filing a Buyer Protection dispute that the item was not as described. In this scenario, we might refer you to the Disputes Tribunal.

Other important terms

 In order to make Buyer Protection available to Trade Me members:

  • Buyers and sellers accept that it is ultimately Trade Me’s decision whether a buyer receives a refund under Buyer Protection, but this doesn’t affect the buyers’ and sellers’ ability to refer the matter to the Disputes Tribunal or a court.
  • Members authorise Trade Me to provide the other party with any correspondence or evidence relevant to the dispute. In limited circumstances, Trade Me may also provide a member's contact details to the other party to help resolve the dispute (but will always seek the member's permission first).
  • Buyers understand and agree that they won’t be eligible for Buyer Protection if they have initiated a credit or debit card chargeback for the item through their bank or payment card company.
  • Trade Me reserves the right to reverse a reimbursement or refund to a buyer that is made by mistake.
  • Members understand and agree that Buyer Protection is not a form of insurance, guarantee or product warranty of any kind.

How does money get refunded?

If we decide to refund you under Buyer Protection, your money will usually be returned to the source (either your card, bank account or Ping balance) used to purchase the item.

If this won’t work (e.g. because your credit card has expired or your bank account has closed), we may determine the most appropriate way to get you your money back (including by deposit into your Ping balance). In this case, we may request your help to find the best solution for you.

Despite the above, if you purchased the item via Afterpay, we'll first confirm the refund with Afterpay. Afterpay will then pay you the refund, in accordance with Afterpay's terms, and this will be equal to the amount you have paid for the item to date. For example, if you've purchased a $100 item, but only made repayments of $50 to Afterpay, you'll only receive the $50 you've already paid. Afterpay will then ensure any remaining repayment obligations are cancelled.

When we’ve returned your money to you, we’ll debit the seller’s Ping balance or Pay Now / Afterpay account. If there’s not enough money, under either the Pay Now or Ping terms and conditions, or the Afterpay terms for Trade Me sellers Trade Me may require the seller to pay Trade Me (and Trade Me reserves the right to refer the matter to a debt collector if the seller refuses to pay the debt).

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