Ngendo didn’t know if she should panic. The guy with the top gear jacket was supposed to have turned up 2 hours ago. Now when she called his number his phone was off. “Please let him come. Something must have happened!” she thought. I hour later, after trying several times to contact the guy she had bought the jacket from, she admitted she had been conned.
It all started when Ngendo was looking to buy a present for her boyfriend. She had been trying without success to get merchandise from the Top Gear show. One of her friends suggested that Ngendo should shop online. Since her boyfriend loved top gear she went to her computer and typed in ‘’sale of top gear jackets.” Several sites came up.
Ngendo picked out a Facebook page that sold clothes that was based in Kenya. There were pictures of the jacket and a description of the jacket. The price was also not too high. It would only cost her 7,000 shillings. She called the number. A gentleman Anthony answered and told her that they would deliver it to her. She would have to pay at least half the price plus cost of delivery which was an additional 100 shillings.
Ngendo asked if she could go to the store itself to pick it up. The man quickly answered that it was an online store so they did not have a physical store. The man gave her the account to send the money to and told her that he needed the payment in 24 hours. “I go for my stock in the UK so I will be traveling there so if you don’t buy now I will not be around for 3 weeks.” She thought this business must be very successful and without thinking she sent the money by credit card. She then called Anthony and told him where they should meet. He said that because he had to make many deliveries she would get her jacket in two days. They agreed where to meet.
Ngendo was excited. Her boyfriend would be ecstatic when he saw the jacket. She couldn’t wait to see the surprise on his face. She sat at the coffee shop drinking coffee waiting to meet Anthony. He seemed to be running late. She tried his number. He answered and said he was on the way he was just caught up somewhere. 2 hours later his phone was off.
When she went to the office she looked for the Facebook page. It no longer existed. It’s like it had disappeared into thin air. Ngendo had to admit to herself that she had been conned. She vowed that she would never ever buy anything online again.
It is exciting to be able to buy things online. Being able to use Mpesa or cards to buy goods or services online is driving internet sales up. But buyers also need to be careful because fraud on the internet is a growing concern. To not get conned like Ngendo one has to be vigilant and make sure one does not pay for something one has not seen in person. How do you ensure that you don’t get conned either as the buyer or seller? OLX gives you tips on buying online.
OLX is a free online classifieds site that connects Buyers with Sellers and the safety and protection of their users is very important to them. As OLX is a market place, they always advice their users to observe the principles of buying and selling which apply across both online and offline market places.
OLX urge their users to practice good judgment and keep the following tips in mind:
Tips for Buyers:
- Buy locally so you can inspect the item, meet the seller, and pay at the time of pickup or delivery. Remember to use a safe and public location to meet.
- The best way to transact is to exchange the item and payment at the same time. Don’t send money before you see the item and you are satisfied that it meets your requirements
- Ask for clear information on condition of the good and the price before you meet the seller.
- Use only those payment methods that you trust and are familiar with.
- Get a verifiable telephone number of the seller.
- In case of electronic goods, cars, and bikes you should test the functioning of the product before purchase.
- When you buying a car or land, whether on OLX or any other market place, you need to confirm ownership at the relevant authorities.
- Do your research on comparative prices for the product.
- Do not share your financial information for example bank details, pin, e.t.c
- Always use the “Email Seller” to get in touch with the seller. This will help us notify you immediately if we are made aware of any fraudulent activities by the seller.
Tips for Sellers:
- It’s preferable to take the full payment at the time of the delivery. Remember to use a safe location to meet.
- It’s not advisable to accept cheques.
- Verify the buyer credentials if there is a request for a bulk order.
- Get a verifiable telephone number from the buyer.
- Ensure that your product meets the features you list in your ad post to avoid misunderstandings with buyer.
- Do not share your financial information except the one required for payment.
What should I do if I suspect someone to be fraudulent buyer or seller?
Please contact OLX at [email protected] if you suspect someone to be acting fraudulently on OLX.
OLX also urges users to notify the Police immediately if they have been a victim of fraud.
OLX does not mediate between the seller and the buyer. If any individual or website claiming to be from OLX offers to help with your transaction as an agent or broker then do not take up the offer.
OLX want all OLX users to feel safe on their site. Click here for more information on how you can use OLX Safely.