A must read for when you spotted a second-hand bargain online

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You see a bargain on a second-hand website, you transfer the requested amount in good faith and then no longer hear anything from the so-called seller.

We have been hearing these stories for some time now. Some of you have been the victim of scams on second-hand or bargain websites. Second-hand children's clothing, furniture and so on are becoming more and more successful for budgetary or environmental reasons. There are a wide variety of these sites and they are very convenient for buying items cheaply and easily, but it cannot hurt to take some precautions. Here are some tips to ensure that you will be the happy new owner of an item rather than a duped shopper.

Compare before you start

Suppose that you are looking for a new camera. You want one that works just like a professional camera, but you are taken aback by the price of such a new camera. You therefore look for a solution on a website where individuals sell to each other. Miraculously, you find the camera of your dreams: it is as good as new and 50% cheaper than comparable second-hand cameras.

Always bear in mind one rule: compare products of the same type and make a price average. If the product you found is much cheaper than similar items, you should ask yourself a few questions. Take a close look at the photos. Examine the characteristics. Check whether the description mentions any technical defects.

If you are still satisfied with what you see, proceed with the next step.

Contact the seller

Your first contact with the seller is extremely important. First, you should give priority to a seller who is relatively close to you geographically. Avoid sellers from abroad if possible. Your pick-up trip or delivery costs will be lower and there will be a greater chance of meeting the seller.

Second, look up the seller's details (phone number, place of residence, other sales on the website and so on) to check the profile's authenticity and reliability. Do not be satisfied with an e-mail and also call the seller. If you still have doubts afterwards, there is a simple trick you can use. Enter the seller's contact details in a search engine. If the scammer is known, he or she will be mentioned on other websites or forums.

You are certain. The seller is reliable. Then there is still the issue of payment.

Pay attention to the payment and delivery

Try to reach an agreement with the seller on the payment and delivery in advance. If the seller asks for an advance payment, you are entitled to see the product.

A bank transfer can serve as proof. If you agreed payment in cash, always do so directly. Never send cash by post. Online payment is also possible, but there too caution is advised. Verify that the address is correct when the seller sends you a link to execute the payment.

It is best to ensure that the delivery itself takes place in a public place. If this is not possible, shipment by registered post is also a convenient solution.

If you are still the victim of a scam despite all these precautions, go to the police immediately and inform the website as well.

"!!! The most important lesson to remember is:

If it looks too good to be true, it usually is."

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