facebook marketplace avoiding a scam

Using Facebook Marketplace And How To Avoid Being Scammed

Money Saver Pete Money Making Leave a Comment

Have something to sell? Take a look at why you should try Facebook Marketplace first and see how you can avoid being scammed.

I would consider myself the complete opposite of a hoarder. There are 2 main reasons for this

1)    I hate clutter and have 3 children. I just don’t have the room to keep things in my house

2)    I love money. What’s the point of not using something when I could earn money from it?

Now, you might be thinking “why not stick to eBay?”

I am probably one of the oldest users of eBay in the UK (and I mean length of time, not age!) I used to have a thing for buying DVDs in the late 90’s and started selling unwanted discs on eBay in 1999. Back then, people would usually pay by cheque (and sometimes a postal order).

It would take a couple of days before I got to the bank and then it would be another week waiting for the cheque to clear. Then, it was down to the Post Office to send. Thinking back, it was quite a long, drawn-out process and it could be 2-3 weeks before you received your item. Yet, people never complained. Now, if people haven’t received something in 2 days, they start to panic.

When I originally sold with eBay, fees were in the region of a few percent, depending on what you were selling. Things have moved on since then, but not always for the better. Yes, the process is much quicker, but it is also far more expensive. Selling on eBay will now cost you 10%.

On top of that, if you accept PayPal (which nearly everybody does), you have to pay in the region of 3% for fees. In total, you’re looking at paying around 13% for everything you sell. That soon adds up when you’re having a big clear-out.

So, why not try Facebook Marketplace?

Facebook introduced Marketplace back in 2015. It was their answer to local classified ads but with a far bigger reach. There are plenty of buying and selling groups on Facebook, but many of them required you to be a member before you could buy or sell. The Marketplace is available for all to see.

Selling is simple. As long as you have a Facebook profile, you can list your item for sale for 1000’s to see within minutes. Then, using Messenger (a messaging service developed by Facebook) you can negotiate a price and arrange collection or delivery.

The beauty of selling this way is that it’s free. Plus, it reaches plenty of people. Nearly everything I have ever listed for sale has been bought within a couple of days. It’s even a good way of getting rid of things you thought were only suitable for the tip!

using facebook marketplace, avoiding scam

Is it all good?

Unfortunately not. If you’re selling, prepare for people to waste your time. There is a button which, if clicked, sends the seller a message asking if the item is still available. I have lost count the number of times I have replied “yes”, never to hear anything again. But I can forgive that as people do it accidently.

No, it’s another type of buyer that annoys me. For some reason, people love to say they will take something and never turn up.

Recently, I sold (or so I thought) a miniature pool table for £5. After a few messages, one lady said she would take it. She arranged to come the next day and I managed to pin her down to a time of 1pm as I had other things to do that day. Anyway, the time came and went and needless to say, she didn’t turn up. I messaged her with no reply.

Around 5pm, she messaged back apologising that she got stuck at work. But she didn’t ask to come and get it, so I think she had just changed her mind. I don’t believe she didn’t get 1 minute that afternoon just to let me know.

In the end, I decided to give the table away. A guy who lived 5 minutes away messaged to say he would take it. He said that I could choose the time to collect because he was self-employed and available most of the day. I arranged for between 10-11am the next day, which he said would be fine.

Again, he failed to turn up. He messaged me in the evening to say he had been stuck at a job in town that was 45 minutes away! He asked if he could collect another time, but I just ignored him. I did finally give it to a lovely family who was very grateful and came around in 5 minutes of messaging me.

How to avoid being scammed when buying on Facebook Marketplace

You need to be careful when buying. The issue is, Facebook Marketplace isn’t regulated… or at least not very well. My miniature pool table had its original listing removed because it broke their rules. I have no idea why and I’m guessing somebody reported it. Yet it seems quite easy for me to buy tobacco sourced from Belgium on there…  

1)    Be aware that there are a lot of fake items for sale – usually designer gear. If you see brand new Ray-Ban glasses for £15, don’t expect them to be genuine.

2)    If you’re buying electrical items, make sure you test them before parting with your money. I recently sold a soundbar, which I showed the buyer working before he took it away. At least then, you can agree on the condition and there won’t be some awkward conversations later on.

3)    Personally, I would never send money by PayPal for purchases on the Marketplace. You have no idea who that money is going to and there is nobody to intervene if something goes wrong. It’s very ease to set-up a fake profile using somebody else’s photo. I would stick to making all purchases in person.

4)    If you’re a little unsure about a purchase, then get a 2nd opinion from a friend or family member. And if you can’t, then don’t go through with it. Most scams have something a little fishy about the. So trust your gut feeling.

5)    If you’re meeting outside of either of your homes to make a purchase, make sure it’s done in a public place. And if necessary, take somebody with you.

But don’t let the above put you off from using Facebook Marketplace. Generally, it’s a great place to buy and sell. As always, just don’t take everything at face-value.

And if you have an old phone that you need to sell, take a look at some of the best places to sell.

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