To avoid online scams it’s important to think before you buy. Use your common sense and follow our advice below. If in any doubt about a seller either contact us for advice or don't proceed.
We recommend following these steps for a happy and secure experience when buying goods online:
View the goods first if you can
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. Make sure you are completely happy with the item before handing over any money, as ‘returns’ do not always apply in this kind of buying and selling.
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. However, online buying is considered convenient for low-value goods, so if you do buy direct, please use a secure payment method.
Safety when meeting the buyer
Think of your own personal safety when arranging to meet a seller. It’s best to meet in a well lit public place and always 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. 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 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 down the seller's name and telephone number. Watch out for very low priced bikes – they could be stolen so be cautious.
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.