I bought a faulty item off TradeMe or off Facebook from another person, can I get a refund?
You get much less protection if you buy something from someone who isn’t a trader. This is common on websites like TradeMe or on Facebook. You will have none of the guarantees in the Consumer Guarantees Act. If they’re in New Zealand, you are protected under the Contractual Remedies Act (CRA) if you can prove:
- The seller lied about something; and
- That lie influenced your decision to buy; and
- You have suffered from some kind of loss because of their false statement.
For example, if someone lied to you about the condition of an item you were buying from them on TradeMe and you paid to get it fixed, you might have a claim under the CRA.
To get any money back, you will need to negotiate with them and see if they’re willing to give you a refund. If they don’t, you will need to take them to the Disputes Tribunal to get the money back. However, it may be very difficult to get any money back through the Disputes Tribunal, because the only contact detail you may have of the seller is their email address. You may not even have their real name. You cannot serve official court/tribunal documents on someone through email, you’ll need their address, so it could be hard to get any money back at the end of the day.
Also, there is a fee to attending the Disputes Tribunal, if say your item cost $15, that will be less than any Disputes Tribunal fee you have to pay, so it may not be worthwhile to take the seller to the Disputes Tribunal even if you knew their contact details sometimes.