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New Zealand's longest-running online daily news and commentary publication, now in its 24th year. The opinion pieces presented here are not purported to be fact but reasonable effort is made to ensure accuracy.

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Greed cometh before...

7 February 2019

As I wind down from a heady day at The Treaty grounds yesterday (cue Tui's ad) I find myself wondering what the hell TradeMe is doing?

Well I *know* what they're doing, I just wonder if they've just started down the road of making bad mistakes.

Over the years I, like most NZers, have bought quite a bit of stuff through TM and the other day I found some 18650 cells that I thought I'd buy. And before you ask, yes, I was after Genuine Panasonic 3500mAH cells, not the grossly over-rated Sino-brands that for some incredible reason, seem to always have the word "fire" in the name. What genius thought that was a good idea?

Anyway, I found a supplier with several auctions and good feedback so I figured that I'd haul out the credit card and "buy now".

The next words that passed my lips were "what the f*&#?"

Last time I purchased through TradeMe there was a payment option that allowed you to simply pay instantly using your credit card. No hassles, no problems.

Well it seems that the instant-pay option that used to be there has vanished and been replaced by a cynical attempt to duplicate the functionality of PayPal.

Yes, I'm talking about "Ping".

Ping wants you to "register" your credit card so that you can make instant purchases.

Bugger off!

I'm not about to "register" my card with any website. The security implications are quite significant and I suspect that if you delve deeply into the terms of service under which Visa and Mastercard indemnify you against fraud, "registering" a card is going to disqualify you from their fraud protection. After all, it's kind of akin to handing over your EFTPOS card and PIN.

I can see why Ping exists... it's a cynical method of holding onto people's cash in such a way that TM benefits from the interest earned.

From this page

When you create a listing, you can add Ping as a payment option. If a buyer pays with Ping, their money will instantly appear in your Ping balance. Note that there is a transaction fee of 1.95% (1.65% for Top Sellers).

You can choose to leave the buyer’s money in your Ping balance to pay for Trade Me purchases, or transfer it to your bank account

Yep, no wonder TM is pushing sellers so hard to use Ping... they get to hold onto their money (even if only overnight) and earn interest on it. Money for jam!

Of course one could use a direct-transfer to the seller's bank account but the only problem is that if you get even a single digit wrong you can end up sending the money to the wrong account.

I'm sorry but TM are just too greedy this time so I will not be buying and, since the seller has no other online presence, he won't be making a sale to me.

All empires, no matter how large or powerful, eventually fall and I suspect that greed has crumbled a lot of stone and mortar over the century.

Given that TM is now more of an online retail site than a true auction site, how will they survive when Amazon sets up shop here? This seems like the wrong time to be alienating people by forcing them to use services that do nothing except line TM's own pockets.

Or have I got this wrong -- is there something I'm missing?

And don't suggest PayPal because after they confiscated thousands of dollars of my money for weeks without good cause, I'm never letting another cent slip into their greedy hands either!

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