Trust & Safety Blog

Don’t mess with the VIN

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Got an old dunger of a car and planning on selling off its parts? Thinking you can sell the VIN tags? Not on Trade Me, mate. 

Believe it or not, this practice is actually against the law under the Land Transport Rule: Vehicle Standards Compliance 2002. Any tampering with the VIN tags is illegal and therefore the tags cannot be sold on Trade Me.

What the heck’s a VIN?

A Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) is a unique 17-character code that identifies your vehicle. The VIN is used to combat fraud and for the NZTA to identify a vehicle for registration purposes.

The VIN can be found stamped into the body of your car (often the firewall), stamped on a metal plate fixed to the body of your vehicle or etched into the rear window of the vehicle.

If a vehicle has been identified by a Transport Service Delivery Agent (TSDA) as having the VIN tags tampered with, they must report this to the police and the NZTA. This means that your vehicle can be blocked from receiving a Warrant of Fitness, making it un-roadworthy.

Hang on a minute, what if I’m selling my rear windows and the VIN has been etched into the glass?

This is fine and can be listed on Trade Me, however it’s probably wise to mention the etching in your listing description for transparencies' sake.

The moral of the story here is to ensure that any fitting/removal/transferring of VIN tags is performed by a TSDA to ensure your vehicle can stay on the road

Any listings found to be offering vehicle identities for sale on the site will be removed.

We also note that we have a strong working relationship with NZTA who have demonstrated a keen interested in such listings.

Creative Commons image used courtesy serialnumberplate on Flickr. 

Agricultural compounds and Trade Me

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In today’s world, we are consistently coming up with new mixtures and tonics to assist us in our daily endeavours. However, what we don’t realise, is that many of these mixtures and remedies can be detrimental to our own health, international trade, and even our country’s own agriculture. This is exactly the reason why there are very strict regulations around these compounds in New Zealand.

To ensure they don’t pose a threat to us, the Ministry of Primary Industries have put an Act in place that monitors and controls the use, sale, manufacture and importation of such products.

This means our sellers need to know what they’re selling and importing into the country. We know this can be a bit complicated, and it’s not always clear if something you’re selling falls under this Act or not – we’re here to help!

I’m a seller, what do I need to do?

The first thing that needs to be determined is whether you have a product that is classed as an agricultural compound under the Agricultural Compounds and Veterinary Medicines Act 1997. The starting point of this would be to know what the definition of an agricultural compound under this legislation actually is.

The definition of “agricultural compound” makes reference to:

Any substance, mixture of substances, or biological compound, used or intended for use in the direct management of plants and animals, or to be applied to the land, place or water on or in which plants and animals are managed, for the purposes of:

  • managing or eradication pests, including vertebrate pests
  • maintaining, promoting, or regulating plant or animal productivity and performance or reproduction
  • fulfilling special nutritional requirements
  • diagnosing the condition of animals
  • preventing or treating conditions of animals
  • enhancing the effectiveness of an agricultural compound used for the treatment of plants and animals
  • marking animals.

Veterinary medicine means any substance, mixture of substances, or biological compound used or intended for use in the direct management of an animal.

Essentially, what this means for you as a seller, is that if you have a product that falls into the category of agricultural compounds, it will need to be registered and authorised before being allowed to be sold in New Zealand.

How do I know whether a product is registered or not?

There is a register that is accessible by the public. Have a look to see if your product is there or not. If it’s not on the register, you will need to get the product registered before being able to sell in New Zealand.

While the Ministry of Primary Industries do not consult with you throughout the registration process, there is a list of consultants on their website that can help you out.

When it comes to importing products of this nature for pets and animals, it’s vital they’re registered here before hand. If they are not registered it is likely that they won’t be able to be brought into the country, let alone listed on Trade Me.

If you are thinking about selling agricultural compounds, or if you are intending to import items for sale in New Zealand and sell them, please ensure that you are across all of this very important information.

For more information check out the MPI website.

Trading tips for the silly season

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The silly season is upon us. To ensure everyone has a cracker Christmas, here are a few tips for both buyers and sellers to avoid disappointment on the big day.

For sellers

No one wants a lump of coal this Christmas, but sometimes buyers have unrealistic expectations for delivery times during the silly season.

Keep in mind Christmas delivery timeframes when sending off goods that may be intended for under the tree. The NZ Post cutoff date for deliveries by Christmas is Friday 19 December 2014.

If you are getting overwhelmed with Christmas orders, it’s a good idea to update or add delivery timeframes to your Trade Me listings. If you are pushed for time you can even buy your postage online to save time at the post shop.

We also encourage our members to send items using a track and trace service, especially if the item is of high value and what we consider high risk (such as iPhones and the like), it’s a good idea to use a courier service that requires a signature at delivery and includes insurance. This way both buyers and sellers can keep tabs on the goods while they’re in transit, and can make it easier for the shipping company to locate goods if they do go missing. Insurance can also have you covered if the item is unable to be located. When sending any goods make sure you read the terms and conditions of the shipping company so you know what you’re covered for.

For buyers

The lead up to Christmas is a time for BBQs, drinking in moderation and partaking in awkward office parties – not worrying about whether that iPhone you bought for your mum is going to arrive in time for the big day.

While we take measures to ensure our members are safe, sometimes there are a few turkeys and lemons out there that ruin it for the rest of us.

We recommend you use Pay Now for your purchases where you can. Pay Now will give you more peace of mind when purchasing items through Trade Me, as your purchase can potentially be refunded if it can be proven that the goods were not sent/delivered, or if the goods are found to be defective.

We also advise taking a good look at the seller’s membership and their feedback. 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 from them. You could also consider using Safe Trader for high value transactions and always conduct your trades within the site.

If Saint Nick fails to deliver, and is no longer responding to you, please file a non-delivery complaint and we’ll look into it for you.

That’s a wrap – have a great Christmas!

Adopting an animal? Can you answer “Yes” to these questions?

We are animal lovers and Christmas fans here at Trade Me, especially when the two come together. Oh boy, there is nothing like a cat jumping on your face first thing on Christmas morning and waking you up with her claws. My cat’s name is Barbara, and that reminds me, she is due to have her claws trimmed and I am due for a tetanus shot.

BarbaraUnfortunately, not all pets have a great time during the festive season.

Sometimes issues arise where an over-ambitious buying decision results in an owner finding that pet ownership is actually more involved than they may have first thought.

For example, did you know that the average lifespan of dogs and cats is around 12 years, with some living until 15 or even 20 years – that’s a big and potentially expensive commitment, and one prospective pet owners should be prepared for when considering a pet purchase.

We have teamed up with the SPCA, New Zealand Kennel Club, New Zealand Cat Fancy and the New Zealand Veterinary Association to pull together a buyer checklist for companion animal listings on Trade Me.

The checklist will appear automatically on all listings in the Cats, Dogs, Chinchilla and Rabbits & Guinea pigs categories.

Buyers of pets in these categories should be able to answer “Yes” to the following questions:

1. Can you care for a pet for its whole life?
2. Can you afford a pet?
3. Do you know how to care for a pet?
4. Do you have time to care for a pet?
5. Is your home suitable for a pet?
6. Will a pet fit into your lifestyle?
7. Is the pet you are buying healthy?

We take animal welfare extremely seriously on Trade Me and work closely with the SPCA and Animal Welfare inspectors to investigate claims of animal maltreatment.

Trade Me also actively polices complaints against members who falsely claim affiliation or endorsements with or from organisations, including those listed above. Misleading representations can breach the Fair Trading Act and Trade Me’s terms and conditions and could result in your Trade Me membership being restricted or suspended.

Our hope is that by being front and centre with the information buyers need to consider when buying a pet, we can help Trade Me members become great pet owners and also avoid the unfortunate consequences of an ill-informed buying decision.

Trade Me would like to thank the SPCA, NZVA, Kennel Club and the Cat Fancy for their input into this initiative.

Each of these organisations has further information on pet care and ownership and we recommend both sellers and buyers use the resources they have available online if they’re after any further info.

The Ministry of Primary Industries also has some great advice, including the age at which animals can be re-homed

Deck the halls… safely

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Tis’ the season to be jolly! But not so jolly that you would use unsafe Christmas lights.

Seeing lights draped around the Christmas tree and in homes is a big part of the whole Christmas experience. In saying that, a lot of Christmas lights out in the marketplace are unsafe for use.

In part this is due to the lights not being designed for use in New Zealand, meaning the plugs are often unsafe. We’ve touched on the topic of electrical safety many times in our blog posts, and in short, if an electrical item has a foreign plug, or if it doesn’t comply with the regulations  then it can’t be sold on Trade Me.

The use of appliances that contain unsafe plugs does create a safety risk; whether it’s the plug itself blowing up, starting a fire or exposing live wires. If the light bulbs are poor quality then the actual light fixtures themselves could also be a fire or shock hazard.

Trade Me will remove any listings that contain a foreign plug or appear to be unsafe. If you do purchase Christmas lights, ‘fairy lights’ or any electrical item on Trade Me and they are supplied to you with a foreign plug, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team.

Having a picture of the plug at the ready is super helpful.

For Trade Me sellers, the safety legislation applies to all electrical appliances, so you must be satisfied that your electrical goods meet the requirements of the Electricity (Safety) Regulations 2010  and they must have the documentation to prove it (known in the industry as SDOCs or Supplier Declaration of Conformity).

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment provides a lot of useful information on this subject, including a great guide on supplying safe electrical products.

As a final note, always keep in mind that Christmas lights designed for hanging inside the home are unlikely to meet the safety requirements for outdoor use.

That’s it, team – be safe, and have a happy holiday season!