Recent reports of fraud perpetrated on people purporting to buy from online classifieds sites in Ghana has highlighted the need for people to be cautious when buying items posted on these sites.
As Ghana’s largest online marketplace,Tonaton.com is leading the education to get people to understand what online classifieds are and how people should do business on them.
“Online marketplaces are just like any other market place you can find in Ghana and just like people get duped at Circle, Tema Station and other markets in Ghana, same can happen on online market places” says Joel Lamptey, Marketing Manager at Tonaton.com
The way forward then is to be careful and check out all the angles before making the decision to purchase a product or service that has been listed on any online site.
In this two- part series Tonaton.com educates would be buyers on how to safely Buy and Sell online.
How Do I Safely Use Online Classifieds Sites to Buy Something?
Purchasing items through an internet classified site is a great way to find the items you’re looking for at a terrific price, but there are risks you take when you do. Your first line of defense is to use reputable services and follow closely any advice the site gives about buying safely.
How to respond to an ad
- If the ad seems too good to be true, it probably is. There is a fine line between a great deal, and getting scammed or stuck with stolen goods. If the site allows you to see seller reviews, check these out and avoid anyone with a questionable sales history. If the ad is posted by a Member all the better. You can always cross check by calling the company’s hotline.
Communicating with a prospective seller
- Understand that virtually every out-of-area seller can be a fraud – ignore the ad.
- If anything feels “off,” stop contact.
- When you’re comfortable that the seller seems legitimate, ask the seller to give you his or her phone number.
- Make it clear that you will only pay in cash for the item. Any other payment method request highly likely to be fraudulent. You do not want to pay with a check that will provide the seller with your name, address, phone number, bank, bank routing number, and bank account.
- Look at transportable items in safe, public places
- Agree to meet during daylight hours in a public place and bring a friend to accompany you. Turn down any suggestion that the seller can meet at your house, in an unfamiliar place, that you come to their house – no matter how big and tough you are.
- Do not hand over the cash until you have checked out the item you are buying. Don’t give partial payment up front or use anything other than cash for the transaction. If the method of payment changes from your agreement, walk away from the deal.
- If the potential seller wants time to consider other offers, and you return later follow the same procedures. Don’t get careless the second time around.
- If the item being sold has significant value, meet inside a bank where you can withdraw the money and accept the item before leaving – this way you aren’t walking around with a large sum of cash. It is hard to be safer than in a bank where there is plenty of security monitoring.
Only go to the seller’s home to view non-transportable items
- Arrange to meet during daylight hours and have a friend be there with you.
- Do not go into the seller’s home alone; keep your friend at your side.
- Don’t hand over the cash until you have checked out the item. If the method of payment changes from your previous agreement, decline the deal.
- If the potential seller wants time to consider other offers and you return later, follow the same procedures. Don’t get careless the second time around.
With these safety precautions in place, your chances of having only positive buying experiences is very high.