There comes a time when everyone is looking to buy or sell something pronto, and once you’ve annoyed all your Facebook friends with a few punts you look to Gumtree.
You’re off to a good start, because it is the country’s leading online classified ad site, but a few helpful tips to ensure you get just what you’re looking for are always in order.
Unfortunately there are scamsters out there, although with a little know-how you can avoid being taken for a ride and shop or sell in peace.
These tips below from MyBroadband:
The scams you must watch out for
Pet shipping scams
A seller will claim to have a pet and will offer to ship them from an overseas location. These are usually sought-after dog breeds such as English Bulldogs, Yorkshire Terriers, and Chihuahuas.
“These ads are usually accompanied by staged pictures. The pets don’t exist and the fraudsters try to get you to pay money upfront,” said Gumtree.
“Remember, be wary of overseas sellers.”
Payment for import duties scam
A seller claims there are brokerage fees, import duties, or other fees required to get an item into the country.
“Do not pay such fees, as you will most often never get the product. Gumtree is designed for local, face-to-face trading.”
I overpaid you scam
A buyer or seller will send you a cheque worth more than the value of the items for sale, and ask for the surplus money to be returned to them.
“The cheque will clear into your bank, only to be stopped at a later date. Not only will you have lost the goods, you will be out of pocket for the amount you passed on as the difference.”
Gumtree said if you receive an overpayment cheque or money order, return it to the sender and ask for the correct amount.
Property rental scams
Gumtree scammers will take photos of a property which they have no control over and advertise the location as available to rent.
“Before you commit to a booking, ask for additional photos and use Google Street View to check the address that’s advertised with the property.”
Another sign is that the price seems too low, particularly for peak-season holiday accommodation. If the deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Also confirm who owns the property – the local municipality can assist you with this.
Now that you know the worst scams doing the rounds here are a few tips to stay safe:
- Only transact face to face on Gumtree – meet in-person to see the item and exchange money.
- If you can’t meet in-person, use Shepherd – Shepherd is a third-party service by Standard Bank which receives, holds, and releases funds online.
- Never send your item before receiving the money.
- Never send or wire money to sellers or buyers.
- Never provide your personal or banking information to anyone online.
- View advertised properties in person.
The good news is that if you come across a fishy deal then you can report it to Gumtree via their Help Section, where you can even report the matter to the SAPS and get them to contact Gumtree directly.
Happy shopping and selling y’all, root out the odd baddie and you’re looking at good deals for days.