Is it safe to buy hi-fi equipment on Gumtree?

Generally no, unless you are able to have equipment inspected and you understand that PayPal offers no buyer protection on Gumtree.

You need to be careful when buying anything like this on Gumtree, a local classifieds selling platform here in Australia. Did you know sellers can circumvent the buyer protection that normally exists when you use PayPal

Gumtree Warning

I wanted to purchase something recently and the seller, a guy called Suso who then quickly changed his name to jackypl, said he accepted PayPal. The item I was looking at cost around $4.5K AUD and when you buy something expensive sight unseen, you need all the protection you can get.

So, I asked if I could pay with PayPal. The seller took a long time to reply (warning #1) and then said I could, but that it would cost more (warning #2), despite the listing claiming that PaPayPal was accepted, at the asking price. Anyway, I agreed and asked for the invoice to be sent. I was about to pay the PayPal invoice when I read the fine print:

“NOTE: Buyer protection is not available on this transaction.”PayPal payment window

Buyer Protection

That’s right, you pay to use PayPal and then discover that the main reason for using it isn’t available. What’s the point if there’s no buyer protection? You just pay more, for no reason.

I followed up with Gumtree who told me they didn’t offer buyer protection, and PayPal, who told me they did AND they didn’t (warning #3). One of the PayPal agents told me they did, as long as the seller invoices you a proper goods and services invoice rather than using the family and friends option. The other agent told me they didn’t offer buyer protection on any Gumtree transactions.

The seller stopped responding when I asked about this (warning #4). To me, this behaviour indicated he had something to hide and I decided the guy and his gear were too dodgy. It seems like he may have used a payment option that negated buyer protection. 

I bailed on this transaction and bought a better model directly from Japan. My advice is to avoid PayPal on Gumtree, and probably to avoid Suso / jackpyl.

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