These days, you must be more careful than ever when it comes to buying any appliance purchase through Facebook Marketplace. Facebook Marketplace has plenty of opportunities to sell your old appliance, but there are many risks you need to watch out for when you put your items up for sale. And to be fair, there are plenty of scams on eBay to watch out for too, that’s for another day.
Facebook has nearly 3 billion active users and is one of the most popular social media platforms today. It makes sense to consider putting your appliances up for sale on there, but here’s our direct experience trying this channel out and seeing all the different Facebook Marketplace scams for appliances. We want to keep you from getting scammed online.
1. Bait and Switch with Appliance Photos in Listings
This is a tactic many people try pulling when they list their stuff online. They will steal photos from other websites of appliances and try to pass them off as their own. When you do see what appliances they have in person, it’s a miracle if they even had any in the first place. One way you can make sure that the listing is legit is to take the images from the seller and do a reverse image search in Google to see if the photos they took are original.
If you find the appliance on another site that’s not their own, that’s a major red flag to stay away!
2. Nothing but Stock Photos and Not the Appliances Themselves
This one is also kinda easy to spot. One way to rat these people out is to ask them if they can send real photos of what they have on offer. If they refuse to do so or make up a ridiculous excuse, stay away and report the buyer and then Facebook will (hopefully) suspend their account and Marketplace privileges. Another give away is when the description and title of the appliance on sale has been copied and tells you nothing about the actual condition or anything of value you might wanna know.
Be careful and make sure to go with Facebook listings where you can meet the buyer in person.
3. Fake Profiles from the Scammers
(Image source: SimpsonsWiki, https://news.simpsonswiki.com/2022/09/season-34-news-promotional-images-for-lisa-the-boy-scout-have-been-released/)
Here’s another doozy. If you see something out of the ordinary with the profile of the seller like a lot of suspicious pictures or an account that was just made yesterday or a week before, red flags should go off in your head. Of course, there are real people who don’t use Facebook for much else but selling on Marketplace and want to keep things relatively private but do your due diligence and ask the right questions to weed out the fakes and the con artists from the legit people who want to give you good deals.
4. Promises You Pay Nothing or the Appliance is Free
We often see this happen with car listings, but it applies to appliances too. Some schmucks will list what they have and claim that it’s completely free. Sounds too good to be true right? And another giveaway with these sorts of scams is that the pictures that they use also come from other websites. You’re starting to see a pattern here? Any buyer worth their salt would be honest and tell you exactly what you’ll be paying to get your appliance shipped and mailed to you.
5. The Seller Tries to Get You to Send Money Outside of Facebook Marketplace
Remember that Facebook does not offer purchase protection if you pay the seller outside of their platform. However, they do have a comprehensive explanation on what purchase protection covers. Here’s an example of what they had to say:
“Purchase Protection is free, and automatically covers eligible orders. Purchase Protection means that you can request a refund if:
You didn’t receive your order.
The product arrived damaged or different than described on the listing (example: the condition isn’t accurate).
The seller didn’t follow their stated refund policy.
The purchase was unauthorized.
The seller has been removed from Facebook.
In reviewing your claim, Facebook may review order details, including tracking information and listing description, messages sent between you and the seller, and supporting documents.”
Take extra precautions if you’re not directly buying from the seller on Marketplace and if they ask you to wire the money on Paypal or sketchy platforms that Facebook wouldn’t approve of. You won’t be able to get your money back once the swindle has taken place, so watch out!
We recommend you use a credit card in those situations in case something goes wrong, so you can dispute the fraudulent charges with your bank and have them reversed.
6. No Show on Deliveries
Maybe the seller does have an appliance or two and that is what is described. You pay the money, give them your address and such, and then weeks later, you get nothing in the mail. This happens more often than you think and is an attempt to phish for your information and potentially lead to identity theft. Report the seller immediately and have them shut down, no questions asked!
7. Fake Spammy Website
Some of these scammers are a bit cleverer than others. There are those who go out of their way to make a fake website and even make up a location for their address. If you see a lot of spammy content on their site and lots of suspicious backlinks (you can check with a marketing tool like Ahrefs or SEMRush if you have any doubts), stay as far away from the seller as possible.
It’s also really bad when you check their site and see dozens of people leaving spam comments. Check to see if the address is even real and that it’s a legit business you’re talking to. Make sure they are listed on real websites and have a physical location you can visit.
8. No HTTPs on the Seller’s Website
While we’re about websites, also make sure that you’re on a HTTPs URL. That means the website has a proper certificate and is secure. If you see an HTTP link, that could be another sign that the website isn’t legit and is a phishing attempt to steal your information.
9. The Prices are Way Too Good to Be True
This is an incident that happened not too long ago, but you had someone try to sell “new” Samsung washer/dryers for just $400. Notice how the listing isn’t even written that well either from a grammatical standpoint. The run on sentences and desperate attempt to get a buyer gives it all away. Check out this thread on Reddit to see exactly what happened:
According to the users, this Samsung washer and dryer together were originally valued at $2000. This is why you must check and verify the online prices of these products and ask for the serial number and other information that can help you find the true price of what you’re paying for.
10. Fake Payments from Buyers
This is one for the sellers on Facebook Marketplace, but the scams work very similarly when it’s a fraudulent buyer. They will try to do all kinds of things to “pay” you and then do a chargeback out of nowhere or go as far as sending you a fake check so you can cash it in and have your bank shut down your account while they get away scot free. It’s happened to one of us personally and we haven’t forgotten, so we want to keep you safe as well. Unfortunately, this is also a common occurrence on other auction sites. Watch out for fake addresses and names from the buyers and be sure to check their Facebook profile to see if they are legitimate.
We’ve had this happen before when we’d try to sell on Marketplace with getting all these fake people to send messages on our listings. It got to the point where we realized the quality of the buyers just wasn’t worth the time to put used appliances up for sale up there. Nowadays, we mainly promote our business online and use other platforms to reach customers instead.
Facebook Marketplace is a tool just like any other out there. But because of how easy it is for someone to make fake listings or even pretend to want to buy your products, we personally think it’s more trouble than its worth unless you’re highly experienced with the platform. If you want to get legitimate deals on used appliances in your local area, come to a store like ours where you can see all the appliances for yourself and interact with people who want to give you the best deals in person.
Thank you for taking the time to read our blog today! Contact us if you want to learn more about our business and what we do to help our customers in Metro Atlanta.