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Trade Me outlaws all 'non-essential' items, announces strict new guidelines

Trade Me yesterday announced new guidelines for buying and selling on the platform, with commerce continuing on the website albeit with a major caveat: only essential items can be traded.

As New Zealand enters its second full week on alert level 4 lockdown, the Government has given more clarification on what items can be deemed ‘essential’, and Trade Me says it has followed the guidelines set by the Government.

Essential items include those from the following categories: phones, office supplies, health and exercise, heating and cooling, kitchen, food and beverage supplies, computers, and car parts, among some others.

In addition to severely limiting the items which can be traded on the site, Trade Me has also made all payments contactless, and limited item delivery to courier services (no pick-ups).

Trade Me also let users know that in order to comply with Government regulations, the company may provide the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment with ‘limited information’ about users’ names and items sold.

“We want to make sure our members are able to get the things they may need during isolation quickly and safely,” says Trade Me head of marketplace Lisa Stewart.

“This means that from today, we are allowing both casual and professional sellers to list items in approved essential categories."

Stewart says the safety of buyers and sellers is Trade Me’s top priority. 

“We are working closely with our delivery partners and members to ensure everyone is following appropriate public health measures at every stage of the trade.

“All members must follow the Government's alert level 4 restrictions and our COVID-19 safe trading guidelines, and pricing of items must be in line with our National Disaster & Civil Emergency policy.”

The company yesterday also clarified what happens to auctions trading in items not deemed essential – users cannot buy these items, but they can still be viewed and saved to watchlists.

The company also says users will not be charged a withdrawal fee if they wanted to take a listing off the website due to the item being deemed non-essential.

Trade Me says in addition to the above ‘essential’ categories currently available for buyers and sellers to trade, more items and categories are being added ‘every day’. 

Stewart says the company took particular care in its measures to ensure all trades were contactless. 

“We recommend sellers use our Book a courier service, eliminating the need to leave their house, and our courier partners are following strict contactless delivery processes,” says Stewart.

“All payments must also be made through our instant online payment service Ping or bank transfer."

Trade Me has also stated that anyone not following these guidelines will likely have their account suspended.