Whether it’s due to moving home or wanting to minimise possessions, there’s been a few occasions when I’ve ended up with things that I no longer need or use. When this happens, I usually do one of the following:-

  1. donate to the local shop that raises money for charity
  2. give it away on freecycle
  3. get it collected by Trinity Homeless Projects
  4. sell them on Gumtree

I’ve written more about this here.

Selling on Gumtree

Why Gumtree?
I prefer it to eBay for a number of reasons and a few of these are:-

  • there’s no fees
  • it’s simpler because it’s collection only
  • it’s paid for in cash so everything’s done and dusted after collection
  • there’s no bidding facility, so I offer a price and standby it
  • If I’m alone when they’re coming to collect the item, I meet them in a supermarket car park or somewhere similar to ensure I’m safe

Examples of selling on Gumtree that ending in disappointment

I have met a few people who have seen ads on Gumtree, contacted me (the seller), ‘reserved’ it for purchase and then been disappointed when they came to collect! Why did this happen?

  1. One person saw that an oak bookshelf unit was for sale so they contacted me, arranged to come over and collect it, and were shocked by the size of it when they came over! I had shared all the dimensions but they hadn’t read them.
  2. Another person saw that I was selling a LCD TV. I hadn’t put masses of details in the ad but I had included photos from different angles, stated what was included, (i.e. the remote control, manual and cable); and I had shared the model number so they could find out more about the TV. The person came and they were upset because, based on the bird’s eye view photo of it, they thought it was slimmer than it was.

What could I have done differently?

In the first example, I had shared all the information. I couldn’t make them read it!
In the second example, I hadn’t stated all the dimensions or the weight of the TV but of the 15 or so people who contacted me about it, nobody asked for any information about these things. Only one of the people who contacted me asked about HDMI connections. For £50, would you expect a light TV with HDMI ports?

I hadn’t planned to trick anyone. I was in rush to post the ad, which had been on a list of things to do for a few days, so I did it quickly. I guess I expected the buyers to do the rest, whether this meant researching the TV using the model number provided or through asking questions. I must admit, I felt bad when they explained that they thought it was slimmer. However, I am not inclined to ‘making’ people stick to a purchase if they’re not happy. I told them I had no problem with them not buying it, I didn’t want to force them to part with their money and there’d be no hard feelings. I meant it. There were plenty of others who wanted to buy it and I wouldn’t be happy with a ‘forced’ sale on my conscience!

Tips for buying on Gumtree

Some sellers may withhold information on purpose, others may have not see the need for sharing, what they see as, ‘so many details’, they may be lazy, in a rush or something else. Either way, I think it’s a good idea to be calm, research the item being sold and ask as many questions as you need to before you travel to view or collect whatever is being sold. Here’s some questions that may help if you’re ever buying on Gumtree or a site like it.

  1. How long have you had the item for?
  2. Has the item had any faults that I should be aware of?
  3. Where was the item bought?
  4. Ask if you can view the item – take a friend and go and check it out
  5. If you think it’s too expensive don’t expect them to drop the price because you’re there, ask in advance. If you can’t afford the price they’re selling it for, and you think they’ll accept an offer when you’re there, you’ll waste your time and effort and possibly feel angry or embarrassed if they say no and you have to walk away from the sale.

I hope this was helpful.
If you can think of any other tips do get in touch via Twitter, Facebook or through this contact form.

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Categories: Being proactive