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