Monthly Archives: April 2011

How to be a Great Trade Me Buyer

The auction’s over. You won. Congratulations! You are now the proud owner-to-be. Time to get acquainted with the seller.

As soon as the auction is finished, if you’re the successful bidder the seller’s email address will be displayed alongside the auction details. Both you and the seller will be emailed each other’s contact details by Trade Me. If the seller is making use of Trade Me’s automated services, you’ll also receive an email giving Payment Instructions (and possibly offering the opportunity to use Trade Me’s Pay Now service).

Your next step is simple: email the seller promptly, confirm that you’ve won the auction and, if the item is to be sent or delivered to you, give your address details (unless you too are taking advantage of Trade Me’s labour-saving devices and have already set up your delivery address info through your “My Trade Me” pages). If you haven’t already received the seller’s Payment Instructions, ask for their fiscal particulars (e.g. their bank account if you’re paying through that method) and await a response.

Not everyone constantly monitors their email — from the seller’s point of view it’s probably been a week since they listed the item so they’re not necessarily hanging around the keyboard waiting for your message. Give them a couple of days to come back to you before sending through a polite reminder.

Once the seller’s been in touch with you and given you their payment details, pay promptly.

If the seller does offer Trade Me’s Pay Now credit card payment service (and you’re in a position to take advantage of that service using either credit or debit card), fantastic! All the relevant information (including your user name, auction number and chosen address) is automagically communicated to the seller. If you can use Pay Now, we definitely recommend you do so — it removes a whole lot of pain from the virtual paperwork you’ll otherwise have to face.

Alternatively, if you’re paying directly into the seller’s bank account, make certain that you include the Auction Number (and, ideally, your User ID, since it is possible for the same Auction Number to refer to two different auction transactions) in one of the reference fields so that they can easily identify the payment.

We recommend you send a followup email to the seller once you’ve paid, giving them all the payment details and again referencing the Auction Number and your User ID. Some Trade Me sellers (particularly the 10,000 who qualify as Top Sellers) list hundreds or thousands of auctions on the site every week. It can be a nightmare for them to track down your payment if you don’t give them the right details.

You’ve paid, you’ve told the seller you’ve paid, maybe you’ve even had an email back confirming receipt of the payment.

Time to wait. Sending stuff out is the most time-intensive part of doing business on Trade Me and some sellers prefer to organise all their despatches on the same day. Then there’s the time in transit. If your item has been sent by courier (or tracked NZ Post services) you can Track and Trace it all the way home. Otherwise, stand by your (snail) mailbox: here it comes…

When we were interviewing top traders for the “Trade Me Success Secrets” book, we asked them to tell us about their favourite Trade Me customers. If you want to be appreciated as an excellent Trade Me buyer (and get great feedback), learn from these examples:

  • queeneQ: ‘They trade efficiently, i.e. get back to you with required information well ahead of the time allowed, you get all the information you ask for first time and they pay when they say.’
  • silverrow1: ‘I have a few special return customers that always bring a smile to my face as they are such lovely people to deal with. I even have a few who have my account details permanently logged on their online banking.’
  • kris21: ‘They pay on time, they are honest. If they cannot pay within the three days stated on the auction, they will ask if they can pay by a certain day.’
  • dartangnan: ‘I have a regular customer base of wonderful buyers who use Buy Now, have my account details on file and pay right away. They send chatty emails about friends and family and are a pleasure to deal with in every way.’
  • cher4u: ‘Very grateful, thankful … they even write and let me know how much. I offer clothing for ladies size 22 and over, for those that can’t go into a shop to buy.’
  • chelley: ‘I have quite a few regulars who are always great to deal with. They almost become friends. I do remember one guy who was so rapt with his purchase that he felt I had undervalued it and put more money into my bank account.’
  • saje: ‘My best buyers are prompt payers who do what they say they are going to do, when they say they are going to do it. They place good feedback for a good trade and they let you know if something goes wrong in the post without taking it out on you.’
  • alfle: ‘Our best customers? There are a lot of them out there and they all do the same thing … they read the auction, they decide after some research that the product is right for them, use a Buy Now, provide address and full details straight away, read our email (all of it) containing payment details, pay immediately, reference the payment with their auction number as asked. We send the product to them with a tracking email. They wait two days but Courier Post have misdirected it, so they ring CourierPost directly and Courier Post promptly redirects their package without us even knowing. They get the product and they read the manual. In short they are intelligent, independent people.’

There is a real art to being a good Trade Me buyer, but in essence it all boils down to the Golden Rule: do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

PS Biggest single gripe about Trade Me Buyers by Trade Me’s Top Sellers: buyers who pay but don’t send through address details, requiring costly manual followup emails. Stay off their Grump List: don’t forget to send out your delivery address!!

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