To avoid online scams it’s important to think before you buy. Use your common sense and follow our advice below. If you are in doubt about a seller or item, either contact us for advice or don't proceed. It's always better to be safe than sorry...
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We recommend following these steps when buying online:
View the goods before you buy
It makes sense to stay relatively local. Try to meet up with the seller so that you can see the item in question and exchange money in person. Video calls are a good alterative for face to face visits and allow you to view the items whilst social distancing.
Make sure you are completely happy with the item before handing over any money, as ‘returns’ are not always possible when buying new or used items from marketplace sites.
It’s not recommended to pay for an item ‘blind’ because there may be scope for goods not being what you expected or a risk of not receiving the item at all. Purchasing low-value items online is very convenient, so if you do buy direct, please use a secure payment method.
Safety when meeting the seller
Think of your own personal safety when arranging to meet a seller. It’s best to meet in well lit public places and take someone with you, or at least tell a friend where you’re going.
Don’t flash the cash
Don’t carry large sums of money with you when meeting sellers face to face. If you’re looking to buy something worth over £50, we recommend that you meet with the seller to view the item first. If you are happy to proceed with the purchase, either go to the bank with the seller to make the payment or arrange to meet somewhere safe with the money.
Buying tickets for events
Buying tickets for events can be complicated so don’t jump in feet first. Always check the resale terms of the event before buying. The technology behind big event ticketing is getting increasingly sophisticated, with some tickets have unique ID codes or photographs so that only the original buyer can use them. It’s very common for tickets to have terms printed on them that limit the ability of the original buyer to re-sell them to someone else.
It’s very important whey buying second-hand bicycles to check for proof of purchase or the bike frame number. When buying bicycles, we suggest you take note of the seller's name, telephone number, address and any other contact information you have. Be wary of very low priced "bargain" bikes – they could be stolen.
If you are purchasing goods or services from registered companies (e.g. health clubs, brokers or insurance companies) please make sure you check the registered status before handing over any payment.