How To Avoid Scammers When You Shop On Online C2C Platforms
How to avoid scammers is something you should learn if you’re a frequent online shopper. Although big e-commerce sites have already done the necessary protective measures, social selling apps are still on the susceptible with these issues because it’s a C2C ( customer-to-customer) platform.
With this said, you can just never be sure of what the other buyer or seller is thinking, so it’s best to take precautionary steps.
1. Make sure to keep conversations in-app
Carousell has an in-app message feature that lets you chat with potential buyers to discuss the item he or she is interested in. If things go downhill you have a record of the conversation you can show to Carousell’s Help Centre. Even if you archive the conversation, it will still show in your archived chats.
2. Request to “Make An Offer” or “Accept Offer” so you can leave feedback
Following the “offer and accept” system is highly encouraged in Carousell. As a buyer, you are encouraged to place an offer to secure a transaction. As a seller, you can politely decline the offer or accept it. Once you accept the offer, both parties can exchange feedback. This is possible whether or not the item is sold. When issues arise, you can simply write negative feedback and explain what happened. This way, potential sellers and buyers will know if the user is a scammer.
3. Request for real life pictures and measurements
As a buyer, you can also be scammed by sellers who might be posting fake items, replica items, or non-existent items. In Carousell, you are encouraged to post photos of the actual items. You’ll also know if the seller is a possible scammer if his/her listings are made up of photos grabbed from the internet.
You should also be wary of pre-loved items that look “perfect”. To double check, you have to ask for the measurements and for real photos. These can be tested further if you ask for a photo of the items when worn (for clothes) or close-up photos (for other items).
4. For big tickets items, choose to meet up so you can do cash on delivery and verify the items
Big ticket items like luxury bags or gadgets are too risky to be shipped. If you are talking to a seller who sells these type of items, opt for a meet-up and offer cash on delivery. This the ideal set-up for a possible big transaction.
It also secures both parties–the buyer can see the item in person to see possible damages and the seller can get the cash or cheque in person to see if it’s legitimate.
5. If mailing, ask for a picture or video of the party mailing your item
As a buyer, you have to be sure that your seller ships your item promptly after you show proof of purchase. This can be done by sending a mailing photo or video via the chat feature.As much as possible, request for Registered mail (top up $2.24). Once you see proof that the item has been delivered, you can wait for your purchase in peace.
6. Only resale tickets from sellers with photos of the actual ticket
There are so many ways to alter photos so you can never be sure if an email print-out or .pdf file of a ticket is legitimate. It can either be a duplicate of an altered version of the original and is a fake/non-existent ticket. To remedy this, ask the seller to take a photo of him of her holding the ticket and if possible, a selfie of him of her with the ticket.
7. For really big ticket items, request for a picture of the person’s NRIC
With more expensive purchases like appliances or properties, you need extra effort in securing your transaction. Requesting a buyer or seller’s photo of his or her NRIC is the best way to know that you’re dealing with an actual person thus, making him or her accountable for the transaction.
Image credit: asiaone.com
8. Avoid “no-shows” by asking for deposit first
No-shows are just a pain to deal with because you’re wasting precious time for nothing. Asking for 50% downpayment, especially for pricier items, is a good way to secure that your buyer will show up during the meet-up.
9. Check the seller/buyers feedback ratings
The easiest way to check if the buyer or seller is not a scammer is if his or her profile gets good feedback 100% of the time. If there’s negative feedback, investigate further and read about it so you’re aware if similar issues will arise. However, we encourage you to only deal with buyers and sellers with a clean record.
10. For expensive “branded” items, request for proof of original purchase to guarantee authenticity
Sometimes close-up photos are not enough to show an item’s authenticity. Again, photos can be altered and some can just grab photos online and pretend it’s their photo. To double check, ask if the seller has the receipt and tags of the item she’s selling. This way, you’ll know the original price and where he/she bought the item to ensure you that you are buying an original luxury item.
At the end of the day, common sense is king. If the deal is too good to be true, it probably is. If the user has a weird account name, you might be dealing with a bot. If the seller forces you to pay for an item without answering your queries, he/she might just be after your money.
Remember these and you’ll have an awesome time buying and selling good online!
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Have more tips to share? Let us know in the comments below!