Com­plaints over Trade Me fee changes

Western Leader - - RYMAN HEALTHCARE - CHLOE WIN­TER

Al­most 20 re­tail­ers have com­plained to the com­pe­ti­tion watch­dog over fee changes by Trade Me.

Re­tail­ers trad­ing through the auc­tion site will be charged higher suc­cess fees for sell­ing an item if they do not of­fer free ship­ping from March 14. This does not ap­ply to ca­sual sell­ers.

A Com­merce Com­mis­sion spokes­woman said 18 com­plaints had been re­ceived to date, how­ever, it was too early to say whether the com­mis­sion would in­ves­ti­gate.

One Trade Me re­tailer, David Har­court, of Thorn­don An­tiques & Books, said the changes were ‘‘ex­tremely un­fair’’ and ‘‘com­pletely un­rea­son­able’’, given Trade Me’s monopoly in the mar­ket.

Har­court said the cost to his busi­ness would be at least $3000 a year.

Trade Me head of mar­ket­place Rick Davies said the com­pany was ‘‘far from’’ hav­ing a monopoly in the mar­ket.

‘‘Our com­peti­tors in­clude ev­ery do­mes­tic and in­ter­na­tional seller who sells items to New Zealan­ders, be that on­line, or [through] tra­di­tional bricks and mor­tar re­tail, or at the lo­cal garage sale.’’

Davies said the com­pany had ‘‘gen­uine com­mer­cial rea­sons’’ for mak­ing the change, which were not un­fair.

‘‘We would be sur­prised if the Com­merce Com­mis­sion was in­ter­ested. We’re not do­ing any­thing that will lessen com­pe­ti­tion,’’ He said.

‘‘The ex­pec­ta­tions of Ki­wis shop­ping on­line have soared in the past few years and we don’t want our pro­fes­sional re­tail­ers lag­ging be­hind,’’ he said.

‘‘Things like fast, free, tracked ship­ping, and no ‘ship­ping shock’ at check­out are table stakes in 2018.’’

Har­court said re­tail­ers would be forced to in­crease the price of their items to re­cover the costs of ship­ping them out.

Some Trade Me mem­bers were spec­u­lat­ing the auc­tion site was set­ting it­self up for com­pe­ti­tion from Ama­zon, Har­court said.

Davies said there were a num­ber of other dis­counts and ar­range­ments avail­able to re­tail­ers.

Once the new suc­cess fee changes were in­tro­duced, a 10 per cent re­bate would also be avail­able for re­tail­ers if they of­fered free ship­ping, the track­ing num­ber was sent to Trade Me within two days of pay­ment, and the sale was paid for with Ping, Pay Now or After­pay.

SUP­PLIED

Trade Me head of mar­ket­place Rick Davies says the com­pany had ‘‘gen­uine com­mer­cial rea­sons’’ for mak­ing changes to the suc­cess fees of re­tail­ers.

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