How to be a safe seller
While the vast majority of buyers are here for all the right reasons, unfortunately, there are some scammers out there who target re-sale marketplaces like ours. Even the big marketplaces like Gumtree and Autotrader haven’t been able to completely stop scammers from using their websites. The good news is, although they're pesky and an inconvenience, they're usually pretty easy to spot.
The best way to protect yourself against a scammer is to educate yourself about the common signs of a fake enquiry so if you're approached, you'll be able to spot the signs and importantly, stop the scam.
Signs a potential buyer may be a scammer:
- Scammers tend to approach people who are selling higher priced items, for example wedding dresses rather than smaller, lower priced items.
- They also tend to approach those who've recently listed their dress for sale, so it may be your first contact with a 'buyer'. Don't get excited and carried away - always go with your gut instinct and stop to think about how you'd enquire about buying your dream wedding dress. For example, is it likely a man would be enquiring about buying a wedding dress and needing it immediately? It's also unlikely that someone's buying a wedding dress on behalf of a client or relative without arranging for them to come and try the dress on. Take a moment to think about the enquiry, does it seem right?
- Scammers often say they're blind so are unable to come and try the dress on or are disabled so are unable to visit to try it on. They often mention a client, shipping fees, delivery to another country and that “once they're satisfied” they'll arrange payment via cheque or PayPal.
- A scammer may also try to pay by cheque, reassuring you that you can send the item once the cheque has cleared.
- Scammers may also mention that they've arranged a courier to pick up your dress or will ask you to send your dress via courier to another country.
- Be aware of enquiries and emails that contain poor English or grammar, as this can be a sign of a scammer.
- Scammers often ask for you to send pictures and ask what price the dress is when this information is already available in your listing. Asking questions which are clearly indicated in your listing is a warning sign that it may not be a genuine enquiry.
- The scam element is that they come up with a reason for paying you more than the listing price. They'll then ask you to send back the difference via transfer, such as Western Union, once you've received the payment. They then send an email supposedly from PayPal, saying that the buyer has deposited the funds into your PayPal account and that you should now proceed to send the payment via Western Union Money Transfer. Please be aware this is a fake email from PayPal. We suggest you report it to PayPal at firstname.lastname@example.org. Remember to always check that money has gone into your PayPal account BEFORE sending the item onto the buyer, don't just believe you've received the funds via email notification without checking your account.
- Recent scammers we're aware of have all gone by a gmail.com or hotmail.com address with a first name and last name followed by a series of numbers. For example email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org.
We do everything we can to make our website as safe and secure as possible.
We have a registration process in place in order to deter those who are not genuine buyers from making an enquiry and unlike other marketplaces, we don't give out your email address to buyers, as the first enquiry is always through our website. We flag up in the enquiry email when enquiries have been sent from a computer/country outside of the UK and have a spam catcher and hidden spam checker in place. Unfortunately, huge companies like eBay haven’t even managed to stop scammers, so please be aware.
We only become aware that someone isn't a genuine buyer when it's brought to our attention. If you think someone isn't genuine, please contact us at email@example.com and we'll delete and block their account.
We also post the details of the scammer on the homepage of our website and Twitter, so if you're ever unsure, it's sometimes worthwhile ‘googling’ the email address or mobile number they've given as it may appear on other marketplaces or online fraud websites.
We can assure you that the majority of our buyers are genuine, simply looking to pick up a preloved bargain for their wedding. If you take care, you shouldn't have a problem.
- Always go with your gut instinct.
- If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
- Poor grammar and spelling are common signs of a scammer.
- Alarm bells should ring if someone offers higher than the asking price.
- Scammers often get in touch about high value items such as wedding dresses, rather than small value items.
- The majority of our buyers are women - ask yourself, why would a man be in touch about buying a wedding dress?
- Wedding items are very personal and as such there's often a lot of lovely dialogue and interaction between the buyer and the seller.
- Asking questions which are clearly indicated in your listing is a warning sign that it may not be a genuine enquiry.
- Why would someone pay you hundreds of pounds to post a dress and then ask you to refund them via a different method?
- It's likely that if someone is buying a wedding dress, they'd like to see it or try it on. If you're happy for the dress to be tried on, you should always encourage this as you should be able to guage if the enquiry is genuine.
- We always recommend using PayPal in order to protect both parties. Always check that money has been received in your PayPal account before sending or delivering items and check that the delivery address matches the PayPal address.