Trust & Safety Blog

You have not bought a BBQ - but you did receive a phishing email

Overseas scammers are taking the time to do a spot of 'phishing' and are targetting Trade Me members (and also persons who do not use Trade Me) by trying to trick them out of personal details to use to commit fraud.  

You may have been sent an email that looks like the below image.


It is a faked credit card payment receipt. The recipient has NOT actually made a transaction on Trade Me at all. It is an attempt to trick you into 'cancelling' the transaction and providing your credit card details to the scammer. 

DO NOT click on the links contained in the email. They may look like Trade Me but they are not our URLs. Simply delete the email and commend yourself for being cyber safe. 

We are working to have this site removed as soon as we can.

Points to take action on for you to take action on:

  • If you have provided your credit card details via the fake site you MUST CALL YOUR BANK RIGHT NOW. Explain the situation and they will cancel the card immediately
  • If you believe you entered your Trade Me login details into a phishing website, you will need to reset your Trade Me password immediately via your My Trade Me page.
  • As a security precaution, we recommend you run a full virus scan on your computer immediately. In case you don't already have security software to assist with this, you might like to check out this free product:
  • If you use the same password elsewhere, it’s possible that your other online accounts may also be accessed. We strongly urge you to secure these accounts by updating your password and any security questions as soon as possible (but call your bank first).
  • If you'd like to know more about phishing, read our guide to how to protect yourself from scams.

Safety considerations for parents when purchasing second-hand infant sleep products

Oak -cot

This is a guest post on children's sleep safety by the Child Youth Mortality Review Committee (CYMRC). It works under the umbrella of the Health Quality & Safety Commission to provide advice on how to prevent deaths among children and young people. 


Babies can suffocate during sleep due to unsafe cots and bassinettes. This occurs by wedging of the infant's face, neck or chest between sleeping surfaces and/or bedding. Unintentional suffocation is preventable, and can be minimised if the right precautions are taken when purchasing sleep products.

Where deaths have occurred, cots and bassinettes commonly had an inappropriately sized mattress that allowed for wedging between the mattress and the base of the cot.

Another common factor was that the sides of the cot were faulty and allowed infants to slip through and become trapped.

The Child Youth Mortality Review Committee (CYMRC) emphasises the following guidelines for families and whānau when buying sleeping products:

Mandatory standard

When looking to buy a second hand cot, it is important to ensure that it is compliant with the mandatory safety standard AS/NZS 2172:2003. All cots sold in New Zealand must comply with this standard. It requires that the cot must not have any gaps or protrusions that could trap a child or catch their clothing, and it must not have any sharp edges. Additionally, the sides must be high enough to stop a small child climbing out and there should not be any footholds.

It is important to note that if a cot is old or damaged, it may no longer meet the requirements of the standard. A product bought overseas might also not comply with NZ safety standards.

The Commerce Commission enforces the law and have a great help page

Instructions for construction

When buying a second hand cot or bassinette, always ask for the instructions or check that they can be downloaded from the manufacturer's website. You need to know how to set up the product and use it safely.

Safe sleeping for babies includes:

  • Putting babies to sleep on their backs so they can breathe unobstructed, and making sure there is no bedding nearby that might cover their faces.  Avoid using pillows or loose blankets, remove any cords from bedding, and ensure there are no gaps in their bed in which they might become wedged.
  • Make sure babies sleep in a smoke-free environment and that the room is not too hot, so they will not overheat while sleeping.
  • Babies are safest when sleeping in their own cot or bassinette, and in the same room as their parents for the first six months of their lives.
  • Ensure the person looking after a baby is sober, drug-free and alert to the baby’s needs.

What to look for when buying a cot

Many infant products are covered by standards which aim to prevent injury or reduce the risk.

  • Look for a mark that shows the product complies with the New Zealand standard ‘S’ mark, the Australian ‘tick’ mark, the British (BS) or American (ASTM or CFR).
  • Check there are no broken or wobbly bars.
  • All bolts and screws should be firmly in place and not protruding.
  • The corner posts should not stick up more than 5mm.
  • Make sure the mattress fits the cot snugly, and that there are not gaps which would allow a child to become trapped beneath the mattress.

What to look for when buying a bassinette

As soon as babies can support their own weight and lift themselves, they should go into a cot. Note: there are no Australian or New Zealand safety standards for bassinettes.

  • The bassinette should be sturdy and durable with a wide base.
  • The mattress should be firm and fit snugly around all sides with no gaps larger than 25mm.
  • There should be no sharp edges or protrusions that could hurt a baby or snag their clothing.
  • Mesh sides provide good ventilation.

What to look for when buying a portable cot or Moses basket

Avoid Moses baskets that have puffy fabric sides.

  • The cot should have 2 locking mechanisms to prevent it from collapsing accidentally.
  • The cot should be stable and have good base support.
  • The mattress should fit snugly with no gaps at the sides or ends. Only use a mattress that was designed specifically for the cot.
  • Inside the cot, there should be no footholds that could allow the child to climb out.
  • Make sure there are no protrusions or sharp edges.
  • There should be no gaps that could trap a child’s finger, limb or head.
  • If the cot has a removable base, check that it is firmly secured.
  • Mesh sides give good ventilation and allow you to easily see the child.
  • A pocket on the outside of the cot is good for storing small items or toys.

There also a ‘Community Watch’ button on each listing. You can use this to report a product you suspect may be unsafe. Trade Me staff will check the product and, if there are any concerns, remove it or refer it to the Commerce Commission.

Selling a cot

People wishing to sell a product on Trade Me that appears on the list of Banned & restricted items – such as a child's car seat or a cot – must confirm they have read the guide to the Product Safety Standard for cots and that their cot complies.

Trade Me works closely with the the Commerce Commission in this space and notes the Commission may hand out heavy fines for selling a non-compliant cot.


In 2013, the CYMRC released a special report on unintentional suffocation, foreign body inhalation and strangulation. Here’s a full copy of the report.  

Safekids Aotearoa, the national injury prevention service of Starship Children’s Health, supports Safe Sleep Day. They provide parents with important product safety advice, specifically about cots, check them out!


A big thanks to the Child Youth Mortality Review Committee for putting this guide together.

The keeping safe online campaign

As part of a recent Netsafe and Google ‘keeping safe online’ programme, teens from all around New Zealand were tasked with putting together a submission that would get the message out to other teenagers about protecting themselves online and treating others respectfully.

Trade Me contributed to the handbook produced as part of the campaign and a few staff popped along to the parliamentary launch event where we met some talented young ‘Web Rangers’ who were doing great things to draw attention to online risks.

Netsafe’s Martin Cocker talked about risk being a reality of our online existence. He noted the importance of a responsive framework regulating internet use, allowing for flexibility as new issues arise. Poor regulation could stifle creativity as could attempts to control the organic, user-driven nature of internet communities. 

It is important to be educated and aware of the risks; from cyber-bullying, to identity theft or to having your devices compromised by spyware and malware. 

About 140 teens from Southland to Northland met with experts in public awareness campaigns, and then had six weeks to put together a campaign that would highlight the risks in online participation. 

The submissions were many and varied, with the winners from each region taking out the top prize of a trip to Sydney to visit Google Headquarters. The three top prize winning campaigns from each region are below, with two videos and one website:

Hayley Smith from Auckland’s Te Kura

Angus Slade from Wellington

Tip Varnakomala from Burnside High School, Christchurch 

Trade Me would like to congratulate all of the winners for their exceptional entries – well done!

99 tips and tricks to using Trade Me safely (and a picture of a cat)

Cat -in -a -kitchen -sink

We understand that the internet was built for cat pictures but there are only so many cat pictures to look at and when you're done purrrveying them, you might decide to buy something online. 

When trading online there are lots of things to think about. For the Trust & Safety team it's all about ensuring that trade between our members is trusted and safe.

We thought it might be helpful to do a 'kitchen sink' post – so here are 99 tips and tricks to using Trade Me and the internet in general.

If you make to the end, reward yourself with some more cat pictures!

  1. Whether you’re an average Joe Harley, fancy yourself as The Stig or consider yourself the reincarnation of Evel Kinevel, when it comes to motorbikes you need to make sure you’ve got adequate protection for your noggin.
  2. We all know that Trade Me is a great place to help old Aunty Joyce clear out her garage or find that perfect vintage piece for your new living room. But before you trade-in old artefacts, there’s a few things you need to be aware of.
  3. You may not realise it, but all children’s nightwear is required to have a fire hazard label sewn into the item to warn about the dangers of contact with fire. No label means the pjs can’t be listed on the site.
  4. Trade Me is relaxed about military medal sales but there are a couple of points to consider. Certain medals will fall under the Protected Objects Act 1975.
  5. Trade Me doesn’t allow the sale of counterfeit items. When you list fake items you can breach NZ law and our terms and conditions.
  6. Smishing is the same fraudulent scam as phishing, but instead of delivering the scam by email it’s sent straight to your phone by SMS (text message).
  7. We require you to put an asking price in your classified listing.
  8. We are big animal lovers and we work with a number of organisations in relation to the animals and items allowed to be sold on the site. We have some fairly strong rules about electronic dog collars too.
  9. Buying car parts can be a tricky business. Check out our tips.
  10. Would you ever buy a car without checking if it has money owing on it? Would you take the seller’s word for it? Check for money owing before you buy that car.
  11. We've said no to the sale of bitcoins.
  12. Overseas scammers often target Trade Me members (and also persons who do not use Trade Me) by trying to trick them into giving away personal details. They then use these to commit fraud. Keep yourself safe and be wary of suspicious emails.
  13. Trade Me only allows the sale of “A” category (also known as sporting) firearms.
  14. Consider using track and trace for your parcels.
  15. Use Pay Now. You know that song that says “trust me on the sunscreen”? Trust us on the Pay Now.
  16. Did you know the word “gib” is actually a trade Mark and thus the word should only be used when referring to the actual product? Same goes for batts and bubblewrap…
  17. Sometimes trades go wrong and cannot be resolved by either the buyer or seller. If no head way can be made, taking a claim to the Disputes Tribunal is a great way to get an independent decision on the issue.
  18. Similarly if you have an issue with a vehicle that you brought from a motor vehicle trader, the Motor Vehicle Disputes Tribunal offers specialist knowledge about the car industry.
  19. Trade Me is very proud to be New Zealand’s most successful online marketplace. Unfortunately a few members might find themselves being taken for a ride by an overseas scammer. We do our best to keep this kind of activity off the site, but the reality is some scammers are successful. Anyone can be scammed– unless you know what to look for.
  20. If you are going to list a moa bone, make sure it has not been taken from land administered by the Department of Conservation. We’d prefer ‘recent’ moa bone discoveries were not listed.
  21. Christmas tree lights must have the correct insulation on the plug pins.
  22. Furry critters are our friends, so we have rules about fur sales.
  23. Every chainsaw needs to have a chain brake
  24. Check who you are buying from. Sellers with good feedback are generally responsible traders. If the seller is not authenticated or has no feedback (or plenty of neutral or negative feedback), you may want to reconsider bidding on/buying the item. Here’s some advice on how to avoid lemon traders.
  25. From time to time stolen goods are listed on the site. Here's what to do about it if they are your goods.
  26. Autobots, roll out!
  27. Selling radiocommunications gear? There's a lot of regulation to be mindful of.
  28. Trade Me takes privacy issues very seriously.Check out out transparency report which shows how member information was shared last year.
  29. Sellers who are ‘in trade’ need to disclose this so that members can get a better understanding about whom they are trading with. Learn how to disclose you are in trade.
  30. All motor vehicle traders need to be registered. If you sell more than 6 cars in a year then you are a trader and need to be registered.
  31. All motor vehicle traders selling second hand vehicles by auction must display the CIN notice.
  32. Whether you’re NZ’s hottest home baker or a Master Chef addict wanting to share your edible talents with the whole country, there are some vital ingredients to consider before you take a big bite out of the Trade Me market.
  33. Wipe your hard drives clean before listing them. It just makes more sense to leave them blank rather than giving your person files to someone else!
  34. It’s hard enough finding a decent flatmate who doesn’t drive you crazy and now you’ve got fraudsters to contend with too. We’ve seen a few scammers pop up posing as wannabe flatmates. They’re attempting to recruit money mules to help them transfer stolen money around the globe.
  35. Have a play around with Netsafe's Scam Machine. It gives a great insight into how scams work. 
  36. We take compliance with Court orders extremely seriously here at Trade Me. Over and above the action the Courts can take for non-compliance, we also reserve the right to restrict or suspend the account of any member who refuses to comply with an order of the Disputes Tribunal.
  37. Do not pay for trades using Western Union. It's always a con.
  38. You need Trade Me's permission to sell your membership.
  39. Believe it or not, there are rules about selling honey! Sweet as.
  40. Nazi memorabilia is not permitted to be sold on the site and it falls under our ‘Offensive memorabilia and propaganda’ policy which you can find in our Banned & restricted items list.
  41. Is an overseas buyer asking you to pay for the shipping of a vehicle? Freight forwarding is a scam.
  42. If space was the final frontier for James T. Kirk and his band of merry red shirts, what is Trade Me in the scheme of the universe? Ideally, it will continue to be the best place that exists for Kiwis to buy and sell. Here's how Star Trek can lead to trading safely and successfully on Trade Me.
  43. Phishing is a favourite past time for internet crooks. Remember that you’re the one who takes the bait when you go online so be mindful on what you click and to whom you give your data to.
  44. Do not leave your contact details in listings, they're a bright shiny beacon for scammers to approach you.
  45. Some people like to talk their wares up. Now you have to back up those claims or you may be called on by the Commerce Commission!
  46. All electrical goods should have New Zealand plugs that feature insulation on the pins. We will remove any listings we identify as featuring a ‘foreign plug’. No, we’re not xenophobic, we’re just very conscious about making sure our members buy electrical appliances that are safe.
  47. Occasionally you may find that communication and willingness to compromise isn’t able to resolve issues with a lemon trade. Ever wondered what Trade Me can do to help? Community Law can also give you free advice and help when things go wrong.
  48. When listing third party products they need to be described accurately so there is no confusion about the nature of the goods.
  49. Your user name should not be the same as the first part of your email address. ie. if your email is, your user name should not be alexsmith1999 as it increases the chance of a phishing email landing in your inbox.
  50. Check out our guide to listing Apple products.
  51. Learn the rules around using images on listings. Basically, don't copy images from search engines!
  52. It's OK to sell parallel imports on Trade Me. We think competition is a good thing. 
  53. Not sure of your consumer rights? The Citizens Advice Bureau know a thing or two about them.
  54. A lemon trade is one that’s left you dissatisfied with the goods or services you’ve received or the manner in which a trade progressed. Here's how to turn that trade in to lemonade.
  55. Used or second hand underwear may be sold on the site. However it must be washed thoroughly. 
  56. How to trade safely – we think the force is strong with this one.
  57. You can't list on Trade Me if you are currently bankrupt.
  58. Find out how to keep your credit card details safe
  59. Remember, puppies must be at least 8 weeks old before they can be rehomed.
  60. Trade Me allows approved overseas sellers on the site.
  61. It turns out you can’t sell black coral, which means it can’t be listed on Trade Me.
  62. Keep an eye on our Announcements for updates on what's happening on site.
  63. The orb has been developed by NetSafe to offer all New Zealanders a simple and secure way to report their concerns about online incidents. The orb works with partner agencies to direct your reports through to the organisation best able to investigate or advise you on various types of online incidents including scams and frauds, spam messages, objectionable material, privacy breaches and problems whilst shopping online.
  64. Gas appliances must be safe, especially second hand gear.
  65. That Kiwi bloke working on an oil rig who wants to buy your car and ship it to Malaysia – he doesn’t exist. Be cautious of who you engage with.
  66. Selling an Android phone? Make sure you understand how to correctly represent it.
  67. Here’s some guidance on ‘made to order’ listings.
  68. If you’re thinking of doing some online dating, we’ve got some tips on how to find Mr Right, not Mr Doesn’t Actually Exist.
  69. Sometimes we get people to prove they have the goods they’re offering for sale in their possession.
  70. Conduct your trades within the site. Avoid going off-site to make purchases as then we wouldn’t have a record of the trade and a scammer could be targeting you.
  71. Looking to do a layby sale? Here’s how they apply to online sales.
  72. The best advice we can give our members on how to protect their accounts is to never share your Trade Me password. The reasoning is pretty simple – if you are the only one using your account then there shouldn’t be any problems.
  73. If you spy some dodgy message board behaviour, please report it.
  74. Netsafe's OWLS is a great online privacy resource for kids.
  75. Selling an electric blanket? Make sure it’s safe before you list it.
  76. Trade Me takes its Terms and conditions very seriously as they serve as a guide for our expectations around member behaviour. Grab a cuppa and have a read!
  77. A Plant Variety Right or PVR is a type of intellectual property right that protects new plant varieties. They exist because developing new plants can be expensive and time consuming, so it makes sense that those who are working over-thyme get a bit of protection by the Plants Variety Act.
  78. Trade Me notes that there are many kinds of hearing devices available and urges members who are considering buying one to think about the issues raised in this post.
  79. Find out how to avoid getting spammed!
  80. There are probably over 100,000 hazardous substances that are used in New Zealand every day. From bleach in the bathroom and petrol at the pump to snail bait on the veggie garden, you can find them everywhere. There are tough rules about these things being sold on Trade Me.
  81. Ticket scalping is legal! But you need to list tickets in the correct manner.
  82. You can report suspicious listings or sellers who are breaching our Terms and conditions by clicking the b Watch link at the bottom of every listing – it’s right next to the sheriff’s badge. We get about 1,400 Community Watch reports a day – that’s 9,800 a week, or 509,600 a year! A set of human eyeballs reads each and every listing that is reported through Community Watch and action is taken as appropriate.
  83. Never send money overseas via a money transfer service like Western Union. This is always a scam
  84. Be aware of what suspicious behaviour looks like – check out our safe buying advice.
  85. Our good friends NetSafe are in the business of promoting cyber safety and championing digital citizenship by educating and supporting individuals, organisations and industry on a range of issues. They have plenty of useful advice on internet scams
  86. Sellers now have greater obligations to resolve delivery issues. The Consumer Guarantees Act has provisions which place obligations on the seller to ensure that items arrive in acceptable condition in a timely manner.
  87. Product safety is an important consideration when buying things your children use and buying a child’s car seat must be right up there in terms of playing it safe with your child’s well-being. New Zealand law requires that all children under seven years of age must use an approved child restraint appropriate for their age and size.
  88. Hang gliders must have a new Warrant of Fitness before they are listed.
  89. Be wary of logging into your Trade Me account, online banking and the like at internet cafes.
  90. You might be surprised but we had to put in a rule that you may not list a human body or body parts on the site...
  91. All food listed on the site must be produced in a registered premises or under an approved food safety programme or registered risk management programme. It must also comply with food labelling and standards requirements. 
  92. When buying a car make sure you understand what ‘On Road Costs’ means
  93. Fireworks cannot be listed on Trade Me.
  94. The 'Blacklist' function can be used to prevent unwanted members participating in your trades.
  95. All electrical items listed must be safe. Some items require a supplier declaration of compliance (SDOC) before they can be sold. Other items considered high risk also require safety approval or certification.
  96. Members should keep the Fair Trading Act in mind when writing their listing descriptions.
  97. The Commerce Commission is in charge of enforcing the cot safety standard and offers some really good advice on the requirements for having a safe cot. 
  98. Shill bidders are not welcome on Trade Me.
  99. Trade Me is a wonderful place to sell the weird and wacky. We’ve helped sell a haunted washing machine, Tana Umaga’s handbag, David Beckham’s corncob and a meet and greet with Elton John. But you can't sell dead seahorses.

Phew! You’ve made it to the end – what a mission. Clearly there’s a lot to think about when taking part in the digital realm.

If you liked this post, please share it on Facebook. Hit the button just to the bottom right…

Creative Commons image used courtesy Zestycarl

Can I do layby sales on Trade Me?

Layby -sales -layaway -sign

Layby sales under the Fair Trading Act - a guest post by the Commerce Commission 

The consumer law reforms are bringing changes to layby sales. There is a small amount of layby activity on the site, so we asked the Commerce Commission to give us the word on the street about how they work. As the advice notes, this is the law so Trade Me expects all members who offer layby sales to make sure their practices comply.

Here’s what they said:

“Some Trade Me sellers may decide to offer “layby” terms to buyers. A layby is where the buyer purchases goods and makes payment by instalments, but does not take possession of the goods until all (or a specified portion) of the total price of the goods has been paid. The goods must cost less than $15,000 and a seller cannot charge interest or any fees (apart from a cancellation fee) as part of a layby.

Example: Raewyn buys a pair of boots costing $300. Over the next few weeks she makes payments of $40, $30, $50, $50, $40, $60 and $30. After making the final payment, the seller sends her the boots. This is a layby sale because the goods cost less than $15,000 and Raewyn has paid by instalments.

The law relating to laybys is now included in the Fair Trading Act (FTA), and this Act is enforced by the Commerce Commission. The law applies to all sales where the consumer buys the goods for personal or domestic use. It applies even if the seller is not “in trade”.

The law isn’t difficult to comply with, but sellers should be aware of it because there can be penalties if it is breached. Buyers should also be aware of the law as it provides them with protection when they buy goods on layby.

Sellers are required to provide written disclosure to the buyer setting out specific details about the layby agreement. This includes:

  • a description of the goods
  • the seller’s name, street address, telephone number and email address
  • information about cancellation, including that the buyer has a right to cancel the layby at any time prior to taking possession of the goods, and details of any cancellation fee payable.

The right to cancel is regarded as a very important consumer protection, and it is a statutory right that goes beyond Trade Me’s standard terms and conditions. If a buyer cancels the layby, the seller can charge a cancellation fee, but this fee must be disclosed in the layby agreement.

Cancellation fees must be reasonable and must only reflect reasonable costs that the seller has incurred in relation to the layby. Sellers should take care not to have a standard policy stating that a deposit of (say) 25% of the purchase price is required and that this is non-refundable if a buyer cancels the trade. A percentage based fee is unlikely to be reasonable, and if a seller who is “in trade” makes a statement like that they could misrepresent a buyer’s rights, and breach the Fair Trading Act.

A cancellation fee is limited to recovering costs such as a loss in value of the goods, the costs of storing or insuring the goods and reasonable administration costs relating to the layby sale. Sellers may need to be able to justify the fee, in case it is challenged.

A seller can cancel the layby agreement if the buyer has breached an important term of the layby agreement, and can charge a reasonable cancellation fee if the layby agreement states that a cancellation fee may be charged. A seller can also cancel the layby if the goods are no longer available, but in that case, it can’t charge a fee.

You can read more details about the new law on the Commerce Commission’s fact sheet.


Many thanks to the Commission for putting this together for us.