The deal with second-hand goods

Pam Quinton, Edgemead

I trade in collectors’ items online and have a second-hand-dealer’s licence, which by law is required of all persons who sell second- hand goods.

This includes all flea-market traders, online sellers and so on. No exclusions.

I keep a register of all second-hand goods, and the police can knock on my door at any time and inspect any goods I have for sale.

I am required by law to have a copy of the ID of the person I buy the goods from and a copy of the ID of the person I sell to.

I have no problem obtaining the former face to face with the seller, but from buyers who buy from me online it has far-reaching implications.

I have explained to the policeman I deal with that not all buyers will comply with this to protect their personal information.

I have spoken to a few of my buyers and 90 percent of them responded with, “What Second-Hand Goods Act? I have never heard of it.”

I was told this morning that if I do not get a copy of my online buyers’ IDs, my licence will be revoked.

I traded for more than 20 years at a flea market, have always advertised and bought privately, never buy off the street and have been selling online for eight years. Thirty years of trading and the government wants to close me down.

Where is the fairness in this? I am not a thief, murderer, rapist or handle public funds fraudulently.

How can a flea marketer get an ID of a customer unless they take a photo – so everyone must have a camera at the market and while vigorous trading is taking place stop to take a photo of an ID. Well they do not.

I have never known any marketer to ask me for my ID when I have on occasions bought an item from them. Nor has an antique shop asked me for my ID.

I explained to the officer that no one can buy or sell online (the controlled site I trade on) unless the company has a copy of their ID, so, surely, if they find me in possession of stolen goods, the ID can be sourced from the online trading site. They have a privacy policy so cannot supply me with the ID.

I regret ever obeying the law and registering as a second-hand dealer. If sellers and buyers are not registered, it will be to my disadvantage. They will simply not buy from me to keep their personal information private. Oh and by law the person buying from me should then need a copy of my ID.

This law, which very few people seem to be aware of, could open a can of worms as big as the room you are sitting in.

By law, an organised flea market I know of will not allow anyone to trade on the market in second-hand goods unless they have a licence. To trade once-off they need a temporary licence. Should that then be the case with online trading?

According to the act, some businesses can apply for exclusion from parts of the act for good reasons, and because the online site has the information of every user on this could exempt us from having to have a copy of users’ IDs. So here I am in a catch-22 being hassled and shut down for complying with the law.