Calling all Gumtree(ers!) - I'd like your thoughts on something...

48
Posted 3rd Feb
Hi all. It's my turn to ask a question as I'm fed up now and wondering what I'm missing here. I always thought I'm fairly wise to the odd scam here and there but this is really getting on my nerves now. Maybe you've had similar experiences and think nothing of it or perhaps you know better?

To explain: I've recently been putting a few bits and bobs on Gumtree as local 'collection only' items. Nothing of major value - £20 here, £30 there. Anyway, all I keep getting is; well; I guess you'd call them timewasters but it seems MORE than that. These 'individuals' ask questions that have already been answered in the listings (I'm very thorough!) and also leave names, telephone numbers etc. - and lately arranged collection too - only to never show up!

What I'm failing to understand is - what are they gaining here? I know we've all had the usual scam tactics - pretending to have paid by Paypal (fake or hacked a/c), asking to send it somewhere when you've put collect only or offering to pay extra if you'll courier it etc. Also, the not-so-scammy "can you hold it for me till the next rainbow falls on a pot of gold" and other silly/annoying requests. This however is perplexing. Is it just for kicks?

I never use a phone number as a contact - only Email. My Email is never spammed so it can't be harvesting. In the case before last night, the buyer seemed very genuine - asking things about the product, albeit rather annoyingly asking if I'd take less even though my listing stated in bold text "NO OFFERS" and then gave me his name and phone number and arranged a time the next morning (quite early) to collect. Over two hours after the arrangement - no buyer and no message to say why. I did try twice to ask what happened but no reply.

Last night, almost exactly the same. Weird string of Emails (when one would suffice) asking did I still have the item? Yes, as the AD stated "If you can see the AD - it's still available." The next asked me if I would be interested in £xx? Well, yes - THAT WAS THE ASKING PRICE!?! Next asked me when they could collect - baring in mind this is before I'd even replied to the other messages! Got back to them saying they could collect whenever they wanted and to message me with a time/date and I'll confirm and supply details. Haven't heard another word...

TL:DR - Why do silly-billies ask for your Gumtree items and go to the trouble to arrange collection - then never show?
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Because they have nothing else better to do with their lives
I think it's a scam in the sense of wearing the seller down with time wasters.
Than turn up make a ow offer and hope as seller is so worn takes the first proper offer
48 Comments
Because they have nothing else better to do with their lives
Yep, that's pretty much the state of affairs now. We even had the same on Freecycle, plenty of messages saying are items still available, how much did we want (Yes, on a FREEcycle page), and could we hold on to them until the end of the day/week/month. Still no-one showing up. We even had some saying could we deliver!!!

We've given up now, if the charity shops can't use it then it's going in the bin.
Arto03/02/2020 15:33

Because they have nothing else better to do with their lives



Hi Arto. I'd be inclined to agree with you but I thought maybe there's something more sinister that I'm missing? I guess the 'buyer' in the first story I told got my first name and full address but that's all. Thinking about it, they don't even get your Email address as it kinda goes 'through' Gumtree to the buyer, I think? I started to wonder if that was where the problem lie - messages not getting to the buyer but they all get them PRIOR to just vanishing???

It just seems like a lot of effort for little gain - even if they get their "jollies" out of pranking a seller.
slimy3103/02/2020 15:45

Yep, that's pretty much the state of affairs now. We even had the same on …Yep, that's pretty much the state of affairs now. We even had the same on Freecycle, plenty of messages saying are items still available, how much did we want (Yes, on a FREEcycle page), and could we hold on to them until the end of the day/week/month. Still no-one showing up. We even had some saying could we deliver!!!We've given up now, if the charity shops can't use it then it's going in the bin.



Do you think it's the curse of "digital" striking? I always go on about how people are now so used to contacting others via technological means that they forget a real 'living' person is at the other end? They don't know you - you don't know them - so what does it matter? It does matter though...

Common etiquette seems to have gone. I would NEVER in my wildest dreams tell someone I am doing something/going to be somewhere and then not do it/be there without letting them know why? I pride myself on my reliability but it seems it's a dying custom...
Phsycronix03/02/2020 15:47

Hi Arto. I'd be inclined to agree with you but I thought maybe there's …Hi Arto. I'd be inclined to agree with you but I thought maybe there's something more sinister that I'm missing? I guess the 'buyer' in the first story I told got my first name and full address but that's all. Thinking about it, they don't even get your Email address as it kinda goes 'through' Gumtree to the buyer, I think? I started to wonder if that was where the problem lie - messages not getting to the buyer but they all get them PRIOR to just vanishing???It just seems like a lot of effort for little gain - even if they get their "jollies" out of pranking a seller.


When people ask questions that have already been answered I’ve found out that most of the time it’s because they don’t read any of the description. I don’t know why people say they want it and never turn up tbh as it annoys me having to wait in for them
When I deal online. I only ever arrange collection times that suit me. When I agree a deal. I check when they can come round. Only them will I give out additional details.

Not been stood up yet but every jinx has its day.
Sorry to hear but it's just society now, in London people book 4 restaurants for the same evening and then just go to one when they decide which and leave the other 3 out of the way... I don't get it.... Its very weird
I think it's a scam in the sense of wearing the seller down with time wasters.
Than turn up make a ow offer and hope as seller is so worn takes the first proper offer
adamderak03/02/2020 16:53

I think it's a scam in the sense of wearing the seller down with time …I think it's a scam in the sense of wearing the seller down with time wasters.Than turn up make a ow offer and hope as seller is so worn takes the first proper offer


Stand your ground & say NO! Folks who do that will get a taste of their own medicine.
I've been hit lately by the same person messaging multiple times under very questionable names. Basically trying to get the price down and to see if I say the same things as in the advert. So I'm clear in my advert, warranty info, more than 5 pictures etc. Questions come in ''any warranty'', ''exact dates of warranty expiry'', ''will you take less, how much'' plus whatever else that is already clearly described in my advert...... like on a rotation between email/app message and text. So message 1 may offer £190. Message 2 ask a question about warranty, then offer £195. Then message 1 who offered £190 asks about warranty. Then message 2 offers £220 final offer. On an item listed for £300 and sells for £400 new.....

Having sold online for 15+ years on various sites, currently there seems to be this impression by a certain section of society/Gumtree users that if something is being sold, then the seller must be somehow hard-up for money and will accept any offer. Odd attitude to have as it just wastes time for everyone.
Edited by: "Smeaton1724" 3rd Feb
It happens all the time to me too on gumtree but never on eBay .. I think it’s the anonymity gumtree offers .. people ask questions & arrange to buy on a whim & then later simply change their mind & don’t have the decency to let you know.
Edited by: "JumpMan1980" 3rd Feb
Douglas_Birks03/02/2020 16:46

Sorry to hear but it's just society now, in London people book 4 …Sorry to hear but it's just society now, in London people book 4 restaurants for the same evening and then just go to one when they decide which and leave the other 3 out of the way... I don't get it.... Its very weird



Wow DB, that's a dreadful practice! So disrespectful but as you say, it's how many behave now. Very sad.
adamderak03/02/2020 16:53

I think it's a scam in the sense of wearing the seller down with time …I think it's a scam in the sense of wearing the seller down with time wasters.Than turn up make a ow offer and hope as seller is so worn takes the first proper offer



Cheers for the comment. I hadn't thought of it like that. You may well be on to something there. I did have a guy about a couple of months ago constantly nag me - not to offer a lowball offer but to offer me more to post something to him. Yep, that old chestnut! This one was quite good though as he sent me his 'final' attempt which was; get this; to offer me via Paypal as a 'gesture of goodwill' £10 more to post and another £10 which I can refund to him once he receives the item. He said "he" trusts me! Hehe. I can quite imagine if it's someone else's account he's paying me from, he's quite happy to trust me...
Perhaps they’re trying to find a buyer and sell it on for a higher price whilst they’re messaging you?
If they can’t, then they disappear.
Edited by: "Toptrumpet" 3rd Feb
Phsycronix03/02/2020 17:48

Cheers for the comment. I hadn't thought of it like that. You may well be …Cheers for the comment. I hadn't thought of it like that. You may well be on to something there. I did have a guy about a couple of months ago constantly nag me - not to offer a lowball offer but to offer me more to post something to him. Yep, that old chestnut! This one was quite good though as he sent me his 'final' attempt which was; get this; to offer me via Paypal as a 'gesture of goodwill' £10 more to post and another £10 which I can refund to him once he receives the item. He said "he" trusts me! Hehe. I can quite imagine if it's someone else's account he's paying me from, he's quite happy to trust me...


I had similar scam over a mobile phone.
He sent fake PayPal invoice.i rang PayPal & it was confirmed it was a fake email
I played along and got the address he wanted me to post it.
Gave all details to the police. Response was asthmatic " you haven't lost anything so we won't even record it as a crime"
Also on gumtree you see some cars that are ridiculously cheap.
I think they go to people selling similar cars and than say " oh look there is another one just like yours selling only for this much"
JumpMan198003/02/2020 17:36

It happens all the time to me too on gumtree but never on eBay .. I think …It happens all the time to me too on gumtree but never on eBay .. I think it’s the anonymity gumtree offers .. people ask questions & arrange to buy on a whim & then later simply change their mind & don’t have the decency to let you know.



This is the thing I don't get. It's happened several times now and these people leave you their name and telephone number. Could be fake; I know; and I never bother to ring them in case that's the tip of the gag? Not sure what I'd say either as someone else pointed out to me - you don't want to be rude to a stranger who now knows where you live! It just bugs me that I can't ask them why they did it?

I get the "changed their mind" brigade - I guess you don't want the embarrassment of saying so but really, I wouldn't mind a message just saying "Sorry to mess you about but I no longer need your item." I would reply with a thanks for letting me know and that would be it. What I don't get is arranging collection and then just not turning up? I messaged the last one asking politely if they were still coming? Then again an hour later with a slightly more terse message saying "Am I to assume you no longer require the item?" and if they could let me know it would be appreciated. Nothing.
Toptrumpet03/02/2020 17:54

Perhaps they’re trying to find a buyer and sell it on for a higher price w …Perhaps they’re trying to find a buyer and sell it on for a higher price whilst their messaging you? If they can’t, then they disappear.



Hehe. Like it, Toptrumpet. Bit of Gumtree "dropshipping" eh? I bet it's not unheard of. Some would probably pass your address details to the next 'buyer' and say "You can collect the item here."
Phsycronix03/02/2020 17:59

Hehe. Like it, Toptrumpet. Bit of Gumtree "dropshipping" eh? I bet it's …Hehe. Like it, Toptrumpet. Bit of Gumtree "dropshipping" eh? I bet it's not unheard of. Some would probably pass your address details to the next 'buyer' and say "You can collect the item here."


Oh, they’re all out there!
I had something similar last week....
My 2 Bed flat is for sale, the agent rang and said Mr W has just rang and is in the area and wants to view your fiat in an hour. I had a mad tidy up and he turned up on time. Spent 45 minutes looking round, FaceTimed his mum and walked around the complex and asked lots of questions. The following day, the agent rang and said Mr W is really interested and wants a second viewing again in an hour with his Nan. Again he turns up on time with the Nan and his brother. Spends another 45 minutes looking round and videoing everything and I can hear drawers and wardrobes being opened. 2 days later I ring the agent to find out any news, they tried ringing Mr W but the line is now dead?? Nothing is missing, it’s all just very strange.
Working with the public this is just normal. People make enquiries asking for info that's already given, make appointments and don't bother to show up, even had a woman ready to sign a lease for a house who never showed up and we can't get in touch with her to return her deposit... The mind boggles
Toptrumpet03/02/2020 18:15

I had something similar last week....My 2 Bed flat is for sale, the agent …I had something similar last week....My 2 Bed flat is for sale, the agent rang and said Mr W has just rang and is in the area and wants to view your fiat in an hour. I had a mad tidy up and he turned up on time. Spent 45 minutes looking round, FaceTimed his mum and walked around the complex and asked lots of questions. The following day, the agent rang and said Mr W is really interested and wants a second viewing again in an hour with his Nan. Again he turns up on time with the Nan and his brother. Spends another 45 minutes looking round and videoing everything and I can hear drawers and wardrobes being opened. 2 days later I ring the agent to find out any news, they tried ringing Mr W but the line is now dead?? Nothing is missing, it’s all just very strange.



That IS a joke, yeah? If not -

You say nothing is missing? Nothing you noticed YET! That is crazy weird. On the "Weird-ometer" it's definitely above my grumble...
Phsycronix03/02/2020 18:21

That IS a joke, yeah? If not - You say nothing is missing? …That IS a joke, yeah? If not - You say nothing is missing? Nothing you noticed YET! That is crazy weird. On the "Weird-ometer" it's definitely above my grumble...


They even videoed the inside of the bin store
Edited by: "Toptrumpet" 3rd Feb
Toptrumpet03/02/2020 18:22

They even videoed the inside of the bin store



You're sure (stupid, of course you're not sure!) they weren't scoping your place out for a "visit" whilst you're out? Checking to see what security you might (or might not) have? I hate suggesting it but THAT would have me seriously paranoid...
I know where you’re coming from. It’s a 2nd floor flat with security doors and video entry system. I don’t work, so someone is usually in. Although I have some nice bits and pieces I have nothing of value and there are far more expensive places around here that would be easier to burgle for richer pickings.
I thought it might be undercover investigators working for HMRC, but that’s me being paranoid.
I have had an ebay seller ghost me after agreeing to a collection time & place. Goes both ways.
bozo00703/02/2020 18:37

I have had an ebay seller ghost me after agreeing to a collection time & …I have had an ebay seller ghost me after agreeing to a collection time & place. Goes both ways.



So, if you agreed a time/place then you must have gone to collect. Did they just not come to the door?
Phsycronix03/02/2020 18:40

So, if you agreed a time/place then you must have gone to collect. Did …So, if you agreed a time/place then you must have gone to collect. Did they just not come to the door?


Public place, not at home.
bozo00703/02/2020 19:16

Public place, not at home.



Rotters! I'd use more appropriate words for them but then I'd get wrong!
Edited by: "Phsycronix" 3rd Feb
The only thing I wonder about is if they are trying to get you to confirm a time they can’t collect , so if they ask to collect at 3pm on Friday and you say you won’t be back until 6pm , it gives a fairly clear indication that the house will be empty, and free to break into . If they try enough people , someone is likely to say they can’t do a certain time . But then I have a very suspicious mind
tinkerbellian03/02/2020 19:47

The only thing I wonder about is if they are trying to get you to confirm …The only thing I wonder about is if they are trying to get you to confirm a time they can’t collect , so if they ask to collect at 3pm on Friday and you say you won’t be back until 6pm , it gives a fairly clear indication that the house will be empty, and free to break into . If they try enough people , someone is likely to say they can’t do a certain time . But then I have a very suspicious mind



Suspicion aside, it's a very valid theory tink. I don't think you can rule anything out when "people" are involved.
39829836-5y4zD.jpgThis is why you get asked if available even though (like me ) state if it's on here it's available. Same with Facebook, it's prefilled. I tend to ignore them as when I reply yes they don't get back to me.
I've had quite a few people (who often sound very genuine and enthusiastic) just not bother to get in touch when I've been waiting in on them. It's only really annoying if I've devoted time to staying in. A text takes a few seconds?

I've also had messages asking stupid questions, already answered in the listing. The usual scammers, and even someone asking me something which didn't even make sense about designer sunglasses I was selling - almost suggesting I'd got them in some fraudulent fashion - yet I have no idea who he was. I don't report people, but I reported him.

I had a watch winder for sale and a guy tried a low-ball offer. Then hit me with a barrage of messages, nearly every day for a week. I told him I'm not budging and he said "let me know when you change your mind". Cheek!
Edited by: "louiselouise" 3rd Feb
I had a Mauviel pan for sale (brand new, very expensive full-price) and this guy, very personable, gives me his life story at my front door. Telling me he's trying to set up his own vegan restaurant, that he's an accomplished Thai cook, a single dad and all of that, trying to make a life for himself in the city. We got on really well and I thought, "this guy's genuine, I'll give him a break" when he said he didn't have the full amount and could he come up later in the week with the other £30?

At first he sent a message a day later saying, "You are so nice, I'd love to cook something special for you...what's your favourite meal?" (erm, bit over-familiar mate, I fobbed him off with a vague answer and reminded him to let me know when he's free to drop off the extra quids).

A few days later sent a message at 12.30am (with, unbeknownst to him, my boyfriend sitting next to me) saying "hi, you around? okay to come up with your money?"

It was so late boyf said "What's all this about?", "I'LL answer the door" and I thought there was a potential barney brewing (boyf is a bit hot-headed as it is), so put him off.

After that he disappeared off the face of the earth (he had no idea he could've been walking into trouble).
Toptrumpet03/02/2020 18:15

I had something similar last week....My 2 Bed flat is for sale, the agent …I had something similar last week....My 2 Bed flat is for sale, the agent rang and said Mr W has just rang and is in the area and wants to view your fiat in an hour. I had a mad tidy up and he turned up on time. Spent 45 minutes looking round, FaceTimed his mum and walked around the complex and asked lots of questions. The following day, the agent rang and said Mr W is really interested and wants a second viewing again in an hour with his Nan. Again he turns up on time with the Nan and his brother. Spends another 45 minutes looking round and videoing everything and I can hear drawers and wardrobes being opened. 2 days later I ring the agent to find out any news, they tried ringing Mr W but the line is now dead?? Nothing is missing, it’s all just very strange.


My guess would be someone planning an AirB&B scam. It's probably getting too risky to use stock photos with Google Image Search, around,
fablanta04/02/2020 02:29

My guess would be someone planning an AirB&B scam. It's probably getting …My guess would be someone planning an AirB&B scam. It's probably getting too risky to use stock photos with Google Image Search, around,


Exactly my thoughts @Toptrumpet, they'll use your property to scam (perhaps a bait and switch).
As a seller on Facebook/Shpock myself, I have had very similar things happen before. I assumed it was people trying to get the item reserved for them in case they want it (most wouldn't keep an item aside if someone said they were unsure about buying). Maybe that person is unsure about buying the item or wants to try and find a cheaper price from elsewhere but doesn't want to lose out on your item if things fail.

I do think the multiple account theory is very interesting, definitely plausible.
I have to say I never had this problem. Neither with freecycle nor gumtree/Shpock. I suppose it depends on what the item is...
Toptrumpet03/02/2020 18:15

I had something similar last week....My 2 Bed flat is for sale, the agent …I had something similar last week....My 2 Bed flat is for sale, the agent rang and said Mr W has just rang and is in the area and wants to view your fiat in an hour. I had a mad tidy up and he turned up on time. Spent 45 minutes looking round, FaceTimed his mum and walked around the complex and asked lots of questions. The following day, the agent rang and said Mr W is really interested and wants a second viewing again in an hour with his Nan. Again he turns up on time with the Nan and his brother. Spends another 45 minutes looking round and videoing everything and I can hear drawers and wardrobes being opened. 2 days later I ring the agent to find out any news, they tried ringing Mr W but the line is now dead?? Nothing is missing, it’s all just very strange.


I think you need to change your agent or re-negotiate the fee downwards.
The agent obviously didn't vet the viewers.
caverncity03/02/2020 21:10

[Image] This is why you get asked if available even though (like me ) …[Image] This is why you get asked if available even though (like me ) state if it's on here it's available. Same with Facebook, it's prefilled. I tend to ignore them as when I reply yes they don't get back to me.



I guess; again; it depends on what type of person you are, as I never use those "auto" replies. They seem quite rude and impersonal to me. I like to address the person by name, pass the time of day and then ask my questions etc. just to be polite.

The 'quick' replies make it easier for someone to mess you around as they spend no time typing in a response to an ad. Honestly though, I couldn't bring myself to ignore one as then; again; I feel like I'm being rude! Go figure?

I'll admit, in my last ad I did put at the top "Re-advertised due to timewaster" but on reflection probably did myself no favours as it more than likely painted a "target" on me!
fablanta04/02/2020 02:29

My guess would be someone planning an AirB&B scam. It's probably getting …My guess would be someone planning an AirB&B scam. It's probably getting too risky to use stock photos with Google Image Search, around,


jamie1504/02/2020 07:29

Exactly my thoughts @Toptrumpet, they'll use your property to scam …Exactly my thoughts @Toptrumpet, they'll use your property to scam (perhaps a bait and switch).



Thanks Guys, I hadn’t thought of that scenario. So will keep checking airb’n’b, but not sure how to if they’re using the photos pretending to be a place elsewhere in the country.
The thing is, he could’ve just taken a few photos on the first visit and then disappeared, why involve the FaceTime with the mum and then bring his brother (who could’ve been his twin) and the Nan the following day?
It’s all very strange.....
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