24 B Dick St, Cambridge

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24 B Dick St, Cambridge

Trade Me Changes and Tips for Traders

Trade Me. It’s almost as much a part of life for New Zealander’s as Facebook, but over the years it’s changed a bit. Like Facebook it’s become rife with companies and I feel like it’s lost a bit of it’s humanity. I personally like to buy as much as I can online, especially if I might have to travel to Hamilton (gasp) for an item. I’m especially fond of buying second hand lego for my kids/ Husband.

Trade Me has been in the Herald and Stuff; they’re introducing incentives for sellers to improve their shipping costs, and of course the affected sellers are miffed. But this is actually great news. Right now the way Trade Me works is that as a seller you’re charged a commission on each sale; a small percentage of the sale price. However you also have the right to charge for shipping and you do not have to pay the commission on this. But soon some sellers will have to. The plan is to encourage transparency in shipping costs, or even free shipping. The key though is that this new rule will only apply to professional retailers, not the everyday users who are just looking to sell the kid’s bike seat that they no longer need, since my Daughter can now ride her big girl bike 🙂

And I have noticed some pretty exorbitant shipping costs as a buyer. I’m just not going to buy a $10 item if I also have to pay $10 for the shipping. Especially if I can buy the item at The Warehouse for $10 (do some research sellers!). Plus the professional retailers will also have the chance to claim back 10% of their Trade Me commission fees if they provide free shipping and manage timely delivery.

So as a seasoned, real life shopping averse, Trade Me pro, here are my tips for Buyers and Sellers:


  • Always use at least one photo. And splurge the 55 cents on the Gallery option so the photo appears on the search results page
  • Have a think about the info that the buyer will want and provide it all first up
  • Do your research into similar products, both new and on Trade Me and set your price realistically
  • Provide a Buy Now option
  • List a reasonable Shipping Cost or options
  • Make your listing sound friendly. Don’t put people off by insisting on a contact or payment period right there on the listing; don’t say negative things like ‘no time-wasters’



  • Search for your item and put all possibilities onto your Watchlist
  • Check the Shipping Costs as they can vary quite a lot and make a big difference to the overall price
  • Check the Seller’s ratings from other Buyers. The more Stars the better. You can even read the comments left by other Buyers
  • Check the location of the Seller. There are quite a few Sellers these days from overseas and it’s going to take potentially weeks for you to receive your item. For big or expensive items it’s safer to buy locally if possible and pick up, then you can pay on the day
  • I always prefer to use a Buy Now function. If there isn’t one I might request one via Ask a Question. The Seller can only add a Buy Now if the Reserve Price has not been met
  • End of Auction bidding wars are dangerous. If you insist on waiting until the last minute of an Auction to try to sneak in on an item with a whole raft of Watchers, you’re bound to bid higher than you intended and eventually be disappointed anyway. You won’t be the only one with this idea. Make sure you have a figure in mind that you will absolutely not surpass in the heat of the Auction
  • Pay immediately via Pay Now or into the Seller’s bank account. Or if you don’t receive those details then email immediately and request them. Email the Seller to let them know when you’ve paid. And leave good (accurate) feedback. Your Feedback Rating (Star Rating) is vitally important to your successful use of Trade Me

If anyone has any tech related topic or service you’d like me to write about please let me know. And if anything like, I don’t know, severe weather events for example wreck your computer. We’re at 24B Dick Street, Cambridge.