While there are many legitimate offers on sites such as Craigslist and Kijiji, it’s important to be careful and do your due diligence as a buyer.

These are our top 6 things to watch out for:

  1. There are a lot of spelling and grammatical errors. While not everyone excels at the written word, if it’s really bad it could be a scammer from overseas.
  2. The seller is using generic product photos. You want to see real photos of the product so you know its condition (and know that the item actually exists)!
  3. You are asked to wire the payment. This is a common indication of a scam.
  4. You are pressured into making a quick decision. Always take your time to make an informed decision.
  5. Be cautious if there is a change of plans last minute.
  6. If an offer seems too good to be true, it probably is!

If you feel confident moving forward with the transaction, here are our top 6 tips to stay savvy:

  1. Don’t ever give out your personal or financial information.
  2. Don’t pay (including an e-transfer) before you see the product. Once you’ve paid you may not be able to get your money back.
  3. Ask questions – do all the components come with the product?
  4. Research the seller. You can often find out more about their track record on the third-party sales website (such as Craigslist).
  5. Open the box to inspect the item and test the product before you buy it.
  6. Meet in a public location and bring a friend. This will help avoid scams and help ensure that you are safe.

Above all, always trust your gut.

About Consumer Protection BC

While we have no oversight over private sales or scams, we do regulate specific sectors and certain consumer transactions in British Columbia. If your concern is captured under the laws we enforce, we will use the tools at our disposal to assist you. If we can’t help you directly, we will be happy to provide you with as much information as possible. Depending on your concern, another organization may be the ones to speak to; other times, court or legal assistance may be the best option. Explore our website at www.consumerprotectionbc.ca.


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