Making a Disputes Tribunal claim as a buyer
The Disputes Tribunal can help you resolve a dispute between you and the seller.
Before turning to the Disputes Tribunal for help, we recommend following our dispute resolution process first.
How it works
A dispute might be because:
- The seller pulled out of the trade.
- The goods or services were not as described.
- The goods or services were paid for but not supplied.
There might be other reasons for a dispute, where the Disputes Tribunal can help – but they don't address debt.
The process is straightforward:
- A trained referee hears your dispute.
- A solution to the dispute is decided upon.
- A binding enforceable court order is issued.
If you're both in the same location, you can both meet with the referee. Remote options can also be arranged in some situations.
Learn more about the Disputes Tribunal
During the Tribunal process, you'll be called the applicant – and the seller the respondent.
Starting the claim process
Ways you can apply:
- Paper form (mail-in)
- In-person at your local court
You'll need to pay an application fee. The amount depends on how much money you're seeking from the seller.
To apply, you'll need:
- To know your nearest District Court.
- Your name, address, and phone number.
- The seller's name, address, and phone number.
- Details about the dispute, and how you've tried to resolve it.
Learn more about what you need to make a claim
Trade Me can, at its absolute discretion, release this information directly to you or to the Disputes Tribunal for this purpose.
We take privacy seriously and will only do this where necessary.
To request these details from us:
- Download and complete a statutory declaration form
This states that you need the seller's details so you can file a claim with the Disputes Tribunal – and will only use them for that purpose.
- Take the form to your local court
– Sign the form in front of a Registrar or Deputy Registrar.
– Have the form signed and stamped by the Registrar or Deputy Registrar.
- Send the form to us
Online or by post:Trust and Safety
PO Box 11042
Statutory declarations are usually processed in 3–5 business days.
If your request is granted, we will:
- Email you with the seller's details in a PDF.
- Notify the seller – if we've released their details.
What happens next?
The Disputes Tribunal will process your application. They'll notify you and the respondent, once a time and place for the hearing is set.
- What to expect at a hearing
- Prepare for a hearing
- Going to a hearing
- If the decision is in your favour
- If the decision isn't in your favour
After a decision has been made
We take Disputes Tribunal decisions seriously – and can help with enforcing them.
If you let us know the outcome of your claim, we may be able take further account action against the seller. For privacy reasons, we can't share what action we do or don't take.
Find out what to do if the respondent hasn't followed a decision
If you want to make a Disputes Tribunal claim as a buyer – we can help.