I bet you’ve never bought/sold anything on Gumtree right? Mostly likely because you are too afraid to make a purchase/sell an item and risk getting scammed. Sure, that is a valid cause of concern but you’ve got to jump on the bandwagon some time or the other – so why not now? So, in this post I’ll be telling a little bit about Gumtree and the benefits of using it as well as focusing on my top tips for using Gumtree safely.
What is Gumtree?
So if you don’t already know, Gumtree is a local classifieds website in which you can both post an ad as a seller and purchase an item from another seller. You can find all kinds of items on Gumtree – airline tickets, cellphones, laptops, toys, homes for rent, cars for sale and even job ads – if you can name it, then you can find it on Gumtree. But if you don’t believe me, then you can check it out here and read more about it here.
Why should I use Gumtree?
• It’s free and easy to use.
• Posting an ad is also free.
• You have the ability to purchase special and unique items.
• Items listed for sale on Gumtree are usually cheap and affordable.
• Second-hand goods in mint condition can easily be found on Gumtree, especially textbooks which are much more affordable second-hand.
• Online shopping is just cool.
So I found an item/service that I want, is there anything I should consider?
So after browsing through the site and finding an item that you are interested in and would like to purchase, that’s when everything gets real. You ask yourself if you should make the purchase and if you are willing to handover your hard-earned money to a complete stranger who may or may not be genuine and truthful about who they are and what they are selling.
And you have every right to ask these questions. You should be skeptical and wary, this is what makes you a smart shopper. And remember, if something sounds too good to be true – it probably is!
So the ad sounds, looks and feels real, now what?
Once you are on high-alert for any kinds of scammers/fraudsters out there and you are pretty sure that this ad is legit, this is when you can focus on making your purchase.
You then alert the relevant seller that you are interested in their product/service and once this is done, there are certain safety protocols that you should follow.
• When purchasing an item, always ask to meet the seller in person. This way you’ll know if he/she is genuine and you’ll get to inspect the item for yourself.
• Meet the seller in a public place such as a busy coffee shop or cafe. And take someone with you too – this is South Africa, after all.
• Ask the seller to bring along his/her proof of ID to verify who they are.
• Never give out your credit card details or personal info to the seller or anyone on Gumtree – it’s personal for a reason.
• Handover the cash at the same time in which you receive your item.
• If you are responding to an ad for a house/holiday home to rent, always verify that it exists and check out the place first before going any further.
• If you intend on purchasing brand new big ticket items, such as cellphones, TV’s and laptops, ensure that they aren’t generic or stolen goods – because no commoner can just have a couple of brand new IPhones just hanging about.
General rules for shopping on Gumtree:
• Verify everything the seller tells you.
• Always be skeptical.
• Be on high-alert for scammers/fraudsters.
• Confirm that the price you are paying for an item on Gumtree, is in line with the normal price/fair value of the item.
• Keep your personal info to yourself.
• Your first Gumtree purchase should be small and menial, that way there is less risk and you earn the experience of shopping with them too.
If you are interested in finding out more about how to use a Gumtree safely and how to report scammers, you can read this comprehensive article.
I know of quite a few people who have purchased from sellers on Gumtree and thankfully, they have all had good experiences. So just be smart, skeptical and safe and I’m sure you will be just fine!