Kiwi online market place Trade Me has today annnounced a new initiative called "Buyer Protection" which helps members get a refund when something they buy doesn't turn up, or they receive something that wasn't as described.

Head of marketplace Stuart Mclean described the new programme as a "safety net" for Trade Me users.

"Only a tiny percentage of Trade Me transactions ever result in an issues, but on these rare occasions we want to make it easier for members to get things sorted out. The Buyer Protection initiative is a free safety net, and another way for us to show our members that we've got their backs," Mclean said.

"It's important that our members know Trade Me is different to unregulated marketplaces. With us they have someone to contact if they need a hand, and an avenue to get a refund if something goes wrong."


The Buyer Protection will come into affect on 21 February, appearing on roughly 80 per cent of listings. Mclean said the new initiative has potential to cover 98 per cent of all marketplace listings.

"Buyer Protection will apply to new goods and used items too. This gives our buyers a great level of protection when choosing their next second-hand fridge, bike or trampoline," he said.

Mclean said Buyer Protection will kick in after a purchaser contacts Trade Me about a bad trade and can ultimately have a refund, subject to some criteria.

"For example, the item needs to be bought via our card payment system so we can see the transaction from end-to-end. The maximum refund claim is $2,500 and it applies to our general items Marketplace - with a few exceptions like the pets and animals category," he said.

"Only rogue sellers will have an issue with this - they're the ones who will hear from us and it will force them to smarten up their act or get off Trade Me altogether."