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Buyer protection

The vast majority of all classified transactions are genuine, especially with Loot/Bargain Pages where many of the transactions take place face-to-face. However, occasionally our customers might be targeted by scams. These scams can be avoided if you know what to look out for:

 

 

Safety tips

Meeting the buyer

Most private advertisers sell their goods from home. For personal ease and safety, always ensure that there is a friend with you before you allow someone into your home.

 

Meeting the seller

We would always recommend meeting sellers at their home address where the item for sale is situated. This is particularly useful when buying a larger more expensive item e.g. a car. Also take the opportunity if applicable to see the item working.

 

Valuable items

When selling valuable items - such as a car - you should ask for a personal cheque to be cleared before you part with your goods, and offer a receipt as proof of purchase.

 

Accepting money

For items that are worth only a few pounds, it's easier and more convenient to pay in cash. To be safe, when you go to visit the person selling the item you are interested in, don’t take more money than you are planning on spending.

 Loot/Bargain Pages recommends that buyers NEVER send goods before receiving money.

I've sent the advertiser my money but he has not sent the goods.

Unfortunately, we are unable to interfere in the private transactions between a buyer and a seller. .

 

The advertiser wants me to send cash up front - what should I do?

Don't do it.  Loot/Bargain Pages recommends that buyers NEVER send cash or cheques through the post, or place money directly into a seller's bank account, in advance of receiving goods.

 

Buyer beware!

Once you have bought an item from a private seller, you have no legal comeback if it turns out to be faulty. Therefore, check the goods thoroughly before handing over the money. If the seller still has the receipts, or a warranty, so much the better.

 

Keep records

If travel is involved in the transaction, always remember to write down the contact details of the people you are visiting, or the people who are visiting you. If, for whatever reason, you are unable to make the appointment, notify them in advance. If you are travelling to view or deliver an item contact the other party first to check they will be available.

 

Manafucturer safety: pushchair

Some pushchair manufacturers provide free hinge covers as an added safety feature on models purchased before 2009. Please see manufacturers' websites for details.

 

How to spot scam ads & scam responses

Please be aware of a car fraud scam using payment service providers whereby the seller claims to be out of the country and needs to sell her/his car quickly. Never send any money to third parties including banks or other financial organisations no matter how genuine they look and do not pay anything until you have the car and its corresponding documents.

Look out for:

  • Adverts that contain very poor grammar / spelling errors
  • Anyone requesting money in advance of you receiving the goods or viewing/ moving in to a property.
  • Anyone who says they are in a different town/ area of the country than the postcode entered on the advert.
  • Anyone offering expensive items for free, or at a discounted rate, on the condition that you pay large sums of money to cover travel, postage or courier costs.
  • Anyone offering to buy you item for a higher cost than you advertising it at to include shipping to them.
  • Anyone asking you to remove your item.
  • Anyone offering something that seems too good to be true ie brand new iphone 4S £350
  • Anyone who wants payment via Moneygram or Western Union.
  • Anyone who only corresponds by e mail and is unavailable by phone

Remember: if you spot a scam advert or become a victim of a scam, please report it.

If you think you have spotted a scam advert on our website, you can alert our Customer Services by using the Report Ad button displayed on every advert page. Please be aware that the investigation process may take over 24 hours. To report a scam that has resulted in you being targeted or losing money, please follow the Report a Scam procedure outlined below.

 

Known Scams targeting sellers

Overpayment Scam

Be wary of:

  • Anyone ‘accidentally’ paying more than the item is worth, either by cheque or bankers draft.

If you are contacted by someone who offers to buy an item from you, and then you receive a cheque or banker’s draft for more than the item is worth, you may be being targeted by an Overpayment scam. Victims are requested to cash the more expensive cheque or bankers draft and then send the bought item along with the extra money to the buyer. The original cheque duly bounces and victims lose the item and their money. If you receive a cheque/bankers draft with an overpayment please do not cash it, instead hand it in to the police immediately.

 

Western Union or Moneygram scams

Be wary of:

  • Anyone asking to complete the transaction using either Western Union or Moneygram.

These payment systems are not designed to be used by strangers, rather they are for exchanging money between people who know each other. The most common example of scams using either of these payment methods involve the scammer asking the victim to prove they have the necessary funds to complete the transaction by paying money to a friend or relative using one of these services and then showing them the receipt (as proof that the funds are available). All the scammer needs is the tracking number from the receipt to pose as the victim’s friend or relative and claim the money.

 

How to Report a Scam

If you believe you are being targeted by a scam then please email Loot Customer Service or Bargain Pages Customer Service. You should also contact both the Police and Consumer Direct.  Loot/Bargain Pages are unable to contact police on your behalf, however, so you will need to contact them directly.

 

Contacting the Police

Before you go to the police, you should make 100% sure that this is an incidence of fraud by ensuring that you are not simply dealing with a seller or buyer who is either slow at sending an item / money or poor at keeping in contact. We always encourage our customers to try to resolve the issue with the seller or buyer directly before involving the police.

 

It is a crime or a civil dispute?

Upon reporting your case to the police, they will decide if it should be investigated as a crime of if the incident is a civil dispute which should be settled in the county (small claims) court. In order for you to recover your losses through the small claims court you will need the name and address of the other party. A police officer will be able to guide you through this process. More information can be found here.

 

Making a police report

To report a crime to the police you can either go to your local police station, call the local police operator on a non-emergency number or some forces have an online crime reporting system. To find more information on your local police force and how to contact them, please refer to DirectGov

What evidence do I need?

Loot/Bargain Pages cannot release personal details of advertisers to the general public due to the Data Protection Act. The Police will provide us with the necessary documentation to release this information directly to them.

 

Reporting a Scam

The Consumer Direct website has an online scam reporting tool, which provides Consumer Direct with useful information that they use to warn others. They also report any large scale scams to the Trading Standards and the Office of Fair Trading, who can take action if the scam is causing widespread harm.

 

What information will I need?

When reporting a scam to Consumer Direct you will be asked for the following information:

  • The name and address of the trader / individual who was responsible for the scam.
  • The date / details of the scam
  • Details of any payments made
  • Your details.

Loot/Bargain Pages cannot release personal details of advertisers to the general public due to the Data Protection Act. Consumer Direct will provide us with the necessary documentation to release this information directly to them.

 

Can Consumer Direct help me with advice?

Yes, Consumer Direct also provides clear and practical advice help people deal with scams. They can be contacted on 08454 04 05 06.

 

Illegal ads

How do I report an advert which may be illegal or abusive?

All adverts on loot.com and bargainpages.co.uk have a Report This Advert link which allows you to highlight adverts which may be abusive or illegal. The link can be found on the right hand side, above the advert copy. The information you provide will help our customer services team decide the legality of the advert.

 

Can you remove an advert for an illegal item?

As and when we can establish the illegality of an advert appearing on either loot.com, bargainpages.co.uk or within the Loot or Bargain Pages publications, we will remove the advert and put steps in place to ensure that it doesn't appear again.

 

Stolen goods

I think these goods may be stolen.

If you have reason to believe that items purchased through Loot or Bargain Pages were stolen, please contact your local Police.

 

An item stolen from me has appeared in Loot or Bargain Pages.

If you have reason to believe that items stolen from you have appeared in Loot or Bargain Pages, please contact your local Police. You'll find contact details for your area in the local phone book or online and the Police will be able to advise you on the correct course of action to employ. You can also call Customer Services on 0871 222 5000 or Loot Customer Service or Bargain Pages Customer Service.

Be assured that your confidentiality would be guaranteed by law under the Data Protection Act (1988).