Trade Me is New Zealand’s largest and most popular auction site – the NZ equivalent of eBay. If you don’t want to throw money away read my five top tips for buying clothing on Trade Me.
I’m no stranger to buying clothes (and other things!) on Trade Me. And up until recently I have had an excellent run with my purchases being in great condition and as described. It’s only been my last couple of trades that have been REALLY disappointing, with both items destined for the bin. Which breaks my heart, usually I can do something to rescue them.
I’m not sure if it’s a sign of the times when people are trying to sell absolute rubbish when they should just be chucking it out, but it certainly does leave a bad taste in your mouth when a trading experience leaves you out of pocket and feeling ‘duped’.
I’m all for conscious shopping and promote the fact in the Finding Fashion Trade Me boutique. Trade Me IS a generally great place for those people who are time conscious, money conscious and environmentally conscious.
There are thousands of genuinely honest traders operating out there. But it seems nowadays you really do have to be careful with what you’re bidding on. Generally, if it’s cheap, maybe it’s just rubbish anyway. Something I’m beginning to learn the hard way!
I’d hate for you to fall into the same trap, so here are my five top tips for buying women’s clothing on Trade Me.
Quality of Photos
Check the quality of photos. TradeMe apps have made it so handy to load photos from your phone that many people take advantage of it – and boy are there some terrible photos out there.
Here is an example of a jacket I recently purchased. Looks white and black in the photo on the left? Wrong, when this arrived, it turned out to be pink and black and covered in marks, stains and smelt REALLY bad (photo on the right, after 3 days soaking). I didn’t even take a photo of it before I chucked it in a bucket of napisan. There are still marks down the front, on the sleeves and a black tinge all the way around the bottom.
Another example was of a Decjuba dress I bought. Kind of an impulse, but when it arrived it had big bleach stains on it – would I have bought it if this was made known??? No.
So if the photo is dark, bad resolution or unclear – ask loads of questions – assume nothing, colour, condition etc.
A good seller will include clear photos taken in great natural light, from several angles and in front of a simple background.
Is the seller in trade?
There are two types of sellers in the clothing section on Trade Me. Casual sellers and those that actually sell clothing as a business.
You can check if the seller is noted as being ‘in trade’ at the bottom of the listing (see image above). From June 2014, sellers on Trade Me must make it clear if they are ‘in trade’ when selling items online, so that consumers know they are protected under the Fair Trading Act (FTA) and Consumer Guarantees Act (CGA).
The Fair Trading Act (FTA) applies to what people in trade say and do when selling goods and services. The Consumer Guarantees Act (CGA) provides guarantees for when you purchase from a person in trade.
For example, Finding Fashion is in trade – although I run this as a part time business, I’m happy to stand behind any preloved garment I sell. If a customer has an issue with a garment that wasn’t described in my listing, I will simply refund the item. End of story.
A good seller will likely be registered as In Trade and will honour a refund if the item you purchased is faulty or different from the description they posted.
Check description carefully
If the description is super brief, maybe there’s a reason for it. Since the new site revamp of Trade Me, which include categories, sometimes people don’t list the colour accurately (Multi-coloured seems to mean different things to different people!). Ask questions!!!
I remember once buying a bulk load of clothing and I kid you not, the whole bloody lot went straight into the bin. Items were holey; a dress was cut up and the rest generally scrap. None of this was mentioned in the description.
I sometimes wonder at the type of questions I receive on some listings, things like ‘does it have any holes.’ It’s obvious that these shoppers have been burnt before.
Here is a great example of someone selling shoes on Trade Me (just a random auction I stumbled across for a pair of boots.)
I’ve enlarged the photo so you can see the heels. This trader stated the shoes had ‘heaps of wear left in them’… but in the image above you can clearly see most of the heel coating is peeling off. Who in their right mind would pay for these shoes.
A good seller will include as much information as possible on an auction, including colour, brand, sizing and condition.
After each auction, each buyer and seller is given the opportunity to place feedback on the auction. This is one area I really think Trade Me could improve upon. There’s quite a difference in being a good trader (ie communication, payment, posting in a timely manner) and the condition of the actual item being sold. You can be good at one, but not at the other or vice versa.
Look for the number of feedbacks from previous trades. Sometimes it’s worth checking what sort of time-frame that covers too.
A good trader will have mainly positive feedbacks (it’s hard to please everyone, all the time, but mainly positive is great).
Check postage costs
Some traders will over inflate the cost of postage in an attempt to boost their item’s price. Afterall, you don’t pay a commission on the postage rate – only the selling rate. I know it only costs $5.00 to send a small courier just about anywhere in New Zealand. For postage to be getting up in the $9 range, that’s got to be a pretty big item.
A good seller will offer a number of postage options and prices and these will be reasonable without over inflating.
So, that’s my five top tips for buying clothing on Trade Me to make it a more pleasurable experience and not feel like you’ve been ripped off!