Buying on Trademe – enter a new world
Posted by Suzanne
A If you scroll down the listing, you will see a Watchlist button and you can push that to ensure it will show under your Watchlist section on the left of the listings.
Q I like a garment. Do I bid immediately even though the auction doesn’t close for several days?
A The more seasoned bidder usually waits until shortly before the auction closes and then makes his move. By then you will know what your competition, if any, is and you can make a better decision as to whether it is worth your while bidding. The garment might already be beyond what you would like to pay and so you move on. If the bidding is still reasonable, jump in and see what happens. A word of warning – set your upper limit and discipline yourself to stick to it rigidly. It is very easy to get caught up in the excitement and become over-competitive with the invisible other parties. If there are no bids yet, then go ahead and start with the minimum bid and hope anyone else who is interested has forgotten to turn on their computer for the closing of the auction.
Q What should I do if I can’t be at a computer when the auction closes?
A This is where the auto-bid function comes in handy. Decide what your maximum is for that garment and enter that amount as an auto-bid and then relax. But do make sure it is the auto-bid button and not the bid button. If you win the auction, then it was meant to be. If not, then fortunately you weren’t there to be tempted to increase your upper limit.
Q I see a garment I want but how do I know if it will fit?
A There are two ways to get a fair idea. A garment is entered under a particular size so, if the garment is a well-known brand, you can check the sizing of their garments in a store. If you don’t know where to find that brand or if it is impractical for you to go to the shops before the auction closes, then check out any measurements that might be given and compare them to your own measurements. Unfortunately many listings don’t have measurements and expect you to guess at the sizing. But there is the function for asking the trader a question and this is where you can ask for precise measurements. Don’t be vague – ask for exactly what you want. Eg: bust, waist and length. Surprisingly I sometimes get traders answering that they don’t have a tape measure, which floors me and, of course, I don’t buy the garment.
Q What about the sizing of footwear?
A Again check the brand against an actual shoe or boot in a shop or ask for the inner sole measurement. Get hold of your most comfortable pair of shoes and measure the inner sole and write that somewhere you can find it when you see footwear you fancy online. Only bid if that measurement is exactly the same or you will regret your purchase. The other thing to check is the heel height. This can be deceptive in a photo. Measure your own shoes and see what is the highest heel you are comfortable with and stick to that.
Q I have a particular shade of a colour in mind. How can I be sure the garment is exactly the same?
A In short, you can’t be sure. Photographs can distort the colour, especially if a flash has been used. Black can often look quite grey. You can ask the trader for clarification by asking, for example, if a red is a blue red or a yellow red. That way you might get a better idea but you can never be sure that the trader’s sense of colour is the same as yours. I have had some odd experiences with garments I have bought that looked one colour and turned out to be quite different. That is not really an offence for which you could ask for a refund as no one is really at fault. However, I did once sell a nice turquoise cardigan and was surprised when I had communication from the purchaser that she was unhappy with the colour because it didn’t match her skirt. Rather than get into a battle no one would win, I refunded her money and even the postage both ways, which she demanded was included. I went on to sell it for more money so I didn’t lose out but colour is certainly a sticky issue.
Q What do I do after I win an auction?
A You enter your address on the listing or choose one you have previously entered so the trader knows where to send the item. They will leave payment instructions, you pay and then you wait for your garment to arrive. Some traders are a little slack and the garment doesn’t arrive for some time but I have never had an item not arrive eventually.
Q What can I do if the garment doesn’t fit or is not what was described in the listing?
A If the trader gave accurate measurements but the garment still doesn’t fit, then you will have to keep the item. You can always sell it again on Trademe and hopefully recoup your money. I have occasionally received garments that weren’t suitable but were accurate to the listing description and in good condition. In that case I have always sold them on, sometimes for a profit because I display the clothes on a mannequin and not draped across a bed. If they gave the wrong measurements, then you can contact them and return the garment. They should pay for all postage costs in this case. This has only happened once to me. The trader actually had two skirt exactly the same and had sent me the wrong skirt. He was very gracious and paid all my costs back even before I returned the skirt.
If the garment is damaged and this was not mentioned, then you can definitely return it and expect a full refund. Once I received a garment with blood splatters on it and, as we all know, blood does not come out. I returned it. Another time, I received a jacket in a fabulous pumpkin colour which I loved and was very disappointed to find two marks on it which were still there even after I had it dry-cleaned. I could have returned it but I really wanted to keep it as it matched a floral skirt beautifully so I bought a couple of stick-on motifs and ironed them on over the marks.
Q What happens if the trader doesn’t agree to a refund?
A You can take him/her to the small claims court if the amount of money involved makes it worth it. With all the items I have sold and bought, this has never happened to me as the majority of people on Trademe are there for genuine reasons and don’t wish to stiff anyone.
Q I live in the same town as the trader. Can I pick up the garment from them and pay cash?
A You can check on their listing to see if they allow pick ups. Some people are nervous about having the purchaser turn up at their private home but I personally don’t have a problem with this. In these cases, you can usually pay cash directly to the trader when you pick up the item. But check first with the trader. You have access to their email once you win their auction but not before.