Private transactions are not subject to statutory consumer guarantees. Still, trading platforms where private buyers and sellers meet (e.g. eBay, or TradeMe in New Zealand) do provide some level of protection for both of them and dispute resolution process.

Are they legally obliged to do that in any English-centric jurisdiction? Or do they do that merely because it repels crooks and makes their service more attractive to honest traders?

In other words, would it be a legal business to run a trading platform that only matches buyers and sellers but does not give them any guarantees beyond that?

  • By "English-centric" do you mean common law? en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_law – Paul Johnson Feb 22 at 11:34
  • @PaulJohnson That will suffice. However, my question assumes that the answer will be largely the same in any country where English is (one of) the official languages, whether common law or not. I would be surprised to learn that is not the case. – Greendrake Feb 22 at 11:53
  • You're including places as diverse as Pakistan, Nigeria and the Philippines. This seems far too broad to me. Even for those that do have legal systems rooted in English common law, they've been evolving separately for hundreds of years, and AFAIK modern ideas of consumer protection are much newer than that. – Nate Eldredge Feb 22 at 14:43
  • And what about a site like Craigslist as a counterexample? It provides no sort of protection or dispute resolution as far as I know. – Nate Eldredge Feb 22 at 14:45
  • @NateEldredge Then the answer is probably "no, not required anywhere" even if it sounds broad. Murder is a crime everywhere the same way. At the end of the day, a grounded answer for any jurisdiction would be nice. – Greendrake Feb 22 at 19:53


Such a service platform would be subject to Australian Consumer Law unless all their transactions are more than $40,000 and not for household consumption and not motor vehicles.

Therefore, the service they provide is subject to the Consumer Guarantees which for services are that they must:

  • be provided with acceptable care and skill or technical knowledge and taking all necessary steps to avoid loss and damage

  • be fit for the purpose or give the results that you and the business had agreed to

  • be delivered within a reasonable time when there is no agreed end date.

When some of the best known platforms are providing buyer/seller protection I would not like to be making the argument that one that doesn’t is “taking all necessary steps to avoid loss and damage”.

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