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Thursday, 25 April 2019 09:51 pm

Warning new auction laws will lead to waste, but Trademe happy

Jun 20th, 2014 | By | Category: Editor's Picks, Front Page Layout, Lead Story, News

Categorypic_lawchangesNEW laws to protect people bidding at auctions have come into force – but not all auction business agree with the changes. The laws will cover traditional auctions, and online auction sites like Trademe and Wheedle and the traditional businesses warn it will increase waste. Sellers now have to disclose their trading status to customers, making the buying of all goods and services subject to the same laws as those bought in a store. The new laws will also cover sales made using text message, email, websites, smartphone applications, and social media. The changes to the way Kiwis are buying goods and services has changed drastically says Joanne Kearney senior advisor at the Ministry of Consumer Affairs. “The change reflects the very different world that we are living in now, previously we hadn’t factored in the amount of online selling that would go on.” Trademe has welcomed the changes, saying in a media statement this week that they are more than happy with the changes. Paul Ford, head of communications at Trademe, says they first started campaigning for reform eight years ago, and lodged a submission to the commerce commission in 2012. However, some believe that the laws should have only been applied to internet auction websites. “TradeMe has been instrumental to the changes according to Allan Fisher, co-owner of Central Markets in Lower Hutt. “As a traditional auction house we had our own laws and they always worked. It’s made things murkier,” he says. “There is a strong need for auctions. If there was no way of getting rid of things, the amount of chipped TV’s and other goods would be epic. We joke that if our business goes under, we would buy a waste disposal unit,” he says. In another change to the act, shill-bidding, where sellers bid on their own auctions to hike up prices, has also been made illegal. Paul Ford, head of communications at Trademe says shill-bidding has always been regarded as an illegal practice in Trademe’s eyes, and  he’s pleased there is clarity in what was once a grey area. Other changes to the law include changes to extended warranties which according to the Ministry of Consumer Affairs senior advisor,  Joanne Kearney is the most welcome change to the laws. The new law now includes a cooling-down period where consumers can change their mind on the purchased warranty. And if you flout the law it’s going to cost more. Fines have been increased from $60,000 to $200,000 for an individual and up from $200,000 to $600,000 for businesses. Information on the new laws can be found at http://www.comcom.govt.nz/fair-trading/fair-trading-act-fact-sheets

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