I nearly got scammed recently. I’ve been trying to buy a second hand iPhone because the latest new iPhone releases have driven down the prices of the older versions, especially second hand. I’ve been following them on Trade Me but then I saw one, the exact one I want down to the colour, on a local buy/ sell page. So of course I messaged the seller. I was surprised to hear that she was not in Cambridge but Orewa. Lucky for me my sister lives near Orewa so I suggested to the seller that she could collect it then suddenly our conversation disappeared. Clearly her plan was to have me send her money and then not send me the phone. I messaged her again to test my theory and she ignored me. So I warned another potential buyer who was interested and then messaged a Moderator who took down her post and hopefully blocked her from the page.
Here’s what gave her away:
- Listing in a local buy/ sell group which was not local to her
- The price was about $100 lower than what they’re going for on Trade Me
- Deleted conversation when I suggested collection rather than bank transfer
I’ve had many positive experiences with Facebook Marketplace and local buy /sell groups but Facebook does not provide the safety nets that Trade Me does. Trade Me has a rating system that I recommend buyers make use of, but don’t only check the number of stars (out of five), you’ll want to check out any negative comments as well because the rating is an average. It also pays to check whether the seller is in NZ as many are now overseas and it will take weeks for your item to arrive. Address verified sellers are also more reliable in theory. Further, Trade Me provides a dispute resolutions service; together these measures seem to be enough to create a fairly reliable buying environment.
The beauty of buying on Facebook is the local aspect, which is a whole lot more convenient for larger items in particular. I’ve also noticed that items do seem to be a bit cheaper than on Trade Me. However my advice is that you should only ever collect and pay cash on the day, don’t take the risk of transferring the money.