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Avoid scams when buying online through OfferUp, Facebook Marketplace, eBay and more
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Secrets to finding good stuff on OfferUp and Facebook Marketplace

There’s a lot of risk and reward on cheap online marketplaces. Although you can find great deals, you’ll also find con artists looking to trick you with lousy goods. In this tip, we’ll help you avoid scams when buying online.

If you’re trying to score a great deal on Facebook Marketplace, you’ll have to be especially careful. As the world’s second-largest marketplace, it attracts many scammers. Tap or click here to avoid five trending scams on Facebook Marketplace.

Of course, there are also a ton of hidden treasures you can find on local online marketplaces. We’ll help you tiptoe around all the tricks so you can snatch the best deals possible. With these online shopping tips and tricks, you’ll find all sorts of hidden gems on digital marketplaces.

1. Buying furniture? Search for high-end furniture brands

If you’re renovating your home, you might want to upgrade your furniture. This means you might start typing search terms like:

  • Best online marketplaces to buy luxury furniture.
  • Where to buy designer furniture online.
  • What are the best online furniture stores, according to interior designers?
  • Best online furniture stores 2022 or 2023.

Looking up these terms means you’ll find many results — including a lot of junk. Tons of people are trying to unload their low-quality furniture onto the market.

That means you should only bother looking for good furniture brands online. For instance, look for Wayfair furniture, which Brides.com picks as the best affordable furniture brand.

Of course, you can also look for luxury or designer furniture brands online. You want to focus on good brands, so you’re getting quality couches, chairs or tables. You might luck out and find that someone is trying to sell high-quality furniture. If you’re extra lucky, you might be able to haggle the price down.

2. If you’re meeting in person, do it in public and check the items

For your safety, never meet up with an internet stranger in private. You never know what type of person you’re meeting. You could be in danger if you meet with a seller who has an anger problem.

🧘 Take your time and breathe

🛑 Don’t rush. Take a minute or so to look over the item you’re buying for damage. Also, look at the tag to verify the brand.

🤥 It may sound unnecessary, but many sellers will flat-out lie. They’ll try to pass off a low-quality product as something made by a better company.

🏷️ So take your time to check the label and verify that you’re buying the item you actually want.

😡 The seller might lash out if they’re caught in a lie. Meeting in public means there will be people around to help you if things go sideways.

However, this might be tricky if you purchase a big appliance or heavy furniture. After all, that Facebook Marketplace seller may be unable to lug a huge couch into a public park.

If you must go to a stranger’s house, don’t go alone. Bring a friend or two along to have trusted people nearby if you need backup. Just in case, you should also bring some of these self-defense tools.

3. Checking reviews is a great way to avoid scams when buying online

This way, you can ensure you’re only interacting with trusted sellers. Of course, this depends on the online marketplace you’re using. Not all of them enable reviews.

This is a good option at your fingertips if you’re using eBay or Etsy. Instead of impulse buying, look over previous customers’ reviews. See if they’re pleased with the product — or if they say they’ve been misled.

Chances are, if someone else was tricked, you could be too. Avoid untrustworthy sellers with bad reviews. Go for sellers with high ratings and happy customers.

While you’re at it, look at the review photos if there are any. Many buyers will upload pictures of the products they purchased. This helps you figure out whether you will get a high-quality product.

4. Look up items from your favorite online stores on eBay or other marketplaces

This clever tactic takes advantage of a seller’s labeling shortcomings. Often, sellers might not include the brand name of an item; instead, they’ll list where they got the item when they resell.

Think of an online store you trust with the items you’re looking for. Let’s say you’re looking for luxury women’s shoes. If you’re shopping for great deals on Etsy, type “size nine shoes ThredUp” into the search bar.

You may find some items from a designer brand like Kate Spade — but without the expensive Kate Spade level. This applies to any type of good or online store you can think of, so get creative!

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