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Buying Safely From Classifieds Sites

by recycler on February 14, 2012

Buying Safely From Classifieds Sites

Meet your seller. (Creative Commons via Flickr user kafka4prez)

Need a couple items around the house? Instead of trucking out of the house and shuffling over to the local store, why not check and see if you can find the items in the recycler classifieds ads.

You’ll likely be able to save money, especially if you are buying something used rather than brand new from the store. Plus, you can still get the high-quality items (even name brand items) from the local classifieds.

But, as is always the case, you want to be able to protect yourself from any potential fraud or danger.

When buying anything, from anywhere, there is always a little bit of a risk. It’s no different with the classifieds, but you want to minimize that risk as much as possible. So equip yourself with the knowledge before you go frolicking into the first ridiculously good deal you find.

Some quick tips:

  •  Deal locally as much as possible. This allows you more options for payment and picking up an item. Unless you have built trust with a seller, we do not recommend you ever send payment internationally.
  • Always talk with the seller on the phone before making any agreement. While it isn’t fraud proof by any measure,  talking on the phone can be a major deterrent. People running scams typically want quick and easy targets. They don’t typically want to spend a bunch of time talking to you on the phone. Talking on the phone also gives you a chance to ask the seller questions and won’t give them time to research answers.
  • Meet in daytime public place. If you decide on a price with the seller or if you want to see the item, meet in a neutral/public place during the daytime. It doesn’t have to be overly crowded so much that you won’t be able to visually recognize the seller, but unless you’ve done business with a person before, you shouldn’t automatically give them your trust.
  • Bring a friend along. Sometimes there are items that make it impossible or improbable to meet in a public place (for example: a used car that isn’t currently running). If that’s the case, bring a buddy for the trip when you agree to meet the seller. Not only will it be safer, but an impartial friend can help you make a final decision on whether to buy or not.
  • Let someone know. Also let someone else know where you are going when you are heading to a meeting with a seller or a potential buyer. Extra precautions are never a bad idea.

Hope that helps you when you are buying from the classifieds. Stay safe and best of luck finding bargains!

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