Trade me – Buying

Okay Ive had a few questions for a ‘Buyers’ Trademe hints and tips. Here goes.

  • $1 Reserves
  • Bidding Hours
  • Prices
  • Postage
  • Contact
  • Feedback
  • Expensive/Large Items
  • Testing
  • Changing your mind
  • Honesty

$1 Reserves

Watch the $1 reserves. If you customize your left hand menu (click the Customize and change it to full) you can have the $1 reserves at hand all the time.

Bidding Hours

NEVER bid on anything during the hours of 5pm-11pm. This is when the most people are on and bidding goes through the roof. You can pay up to twice as much by bidding on things at this time of night.

Go online at obscure hours to check. The first thing i do in the morning is check trademe. The amount of people between 6am-9am is low so you often dont get the bidding wars you would get in the evening.


Check the price before buying, compare with similar items. Often you might think what you’re getting is a bargain only to find out you overpaid. Bid with your mind not your heart or testicles (dont worry if you miss out, there will ALWAYS be another one).


Check the price of postage, some traders sell at a loss and make it up on $10-$20 postage. They use the excuse that 1 price for North Island one for South, and they dont allow pickups (even if they live next door).


Contact as quickly as possible. If you won the auction and want it, then email them. Never get nasty in emails, even if you waited 2 weeks. Whatever may have happened may be a genuine problem with the seller (got sick, other commitments etc). Hold back on placing bad feedback until at least 1 month after resolution. Never post bad feedback in a fit of anger.


Check the feedback on a user before bidding! if a user has less than 10 feedbacks, more than 5-10% bad feedbacks (ie only 90% good) then dont trade with them unless you are going to pickup, and see the items before paying.
Also take into account the bad feedbacks they do have – are they just idiots who had no idea the rules of trademe? or long time trademe users that know whats going on?
Check out this cool tool for filtering feedback

Large/Expensive Items

Dont bid on large expensive items unless you can pickup (ie Laptops, TVs etc). If they get shipped and broken or lost (or the buyer claims they were and just scammed you) then somebody has lost $1000 or more.


Test things before you pay and go home. If you break it or find out that its not working a few days later then its not entirely believeable.

Changing your mind

If you buy something and change your mind later for whatever reason …

a) you are an idiot – its annoying and waste of time to the buyer
b) dont try and lie and make up some stupid story about your account being hacked, the kids did it, your dog did it, some flatmate did it – nobodys that stupid
c) admit that you did it and apolagise, take the bad feedback without returning it.
d) let them refund their sucess fee
e) give them good feedback, if nothing else for wasting their time.

Ive done this, i got over eager and carried away and ended up bidding on something that was more $ than i had. I realized what an idiot i was, emailed the user and was most apolagetic. I told the truth and was lucky enough to not get a bad feedback on it.

My point is, everyone makes mistakes, dont make it worse by making up a lame excuse đŸ™‚


And along the lines of that … if you cant pay till next pay day – most people are happy if you say ‘ill put the money through next tuesday’. They tend to get annoyed if you claim you already put the money through when you clearly didnt or some other excuse that you got held up.