Thinking of making a bit of cash running a home business selling items on Trade Me?

It could be a lucrative option but there was a reminder last week that you can't expect to fly under the radar.

If you make, buy or obtain items with the intention of selling them, are GST registered or have staff to manage your sales, you will count as a professional trader and need to flag yourself as one on Trade Me.

And as of this week, you won't be exempt from the Consumer Guarantees Act or Fair Trading Act. Until now, things sold by auction haven't always been caught by this customer-protecting legislation.


The rules mean anything you sell has to fit its description and last a reasonable amount of time. The Fair Trading Act makes it illegal to mislead consumers about goods and services so you'll need to be clear about what you're selling and how - clarity on discounts and specials is just as important as the description of the goods or service themselves.

And don't think that just because you're running your business from your kitchen, the IRD won't be interested.

The IRD will have a clearer picture now about who is a professional trader versus a private seller on Trade Me.

It has never been shy about keeping an eye on the site, and it just got a lot easier for it to do so.

The rules are pretty similar - if you're buying with the intention to sell then you're in business.

If you're not sure, get tax advice. Preparation now will save pain later.

There are now more businesses than private sellers operating on Trade Me.

These changes are a timely reminder that the basics of business apply wherever you're plying your trade.


If you run a business on Trade Me, you'll know that reputation is key.

Auction feedback allows buyers to check how deals have gone in the past with all sellers.

Buyers look for positive feedback and any sign of bad deals means they will check and critique the negative feedback, looking for how if any resolution was made.

The key to any successful business is to retain your clients and have them coming back for more, or at least brandishing some amazing feedback about their experience.

Remember, at any one time more than 2 million items are listed on Trade Me.

Consumers will find and become someone else's customer if they think they might not get what they expect from you.