Third of buyers ‘experienced scam on second-hand marketplaces in last two years’

A third of buyers have experienced a scam on popular second-hand marketplaces in the last two years, a survey suggests.

Which? warned that fraud is “soaring” on second-hand marketplaces after finding that 32% of buyers and 22% of sellers had experienced a scam when using them.

Typically, buyers who had experienced a scam reported receiving incorrect goods (15%) or no goods at all (15%), while 11% had received an empty package and 10% had received counterfeit goods.

Purchase scams were the most common form of authorised push payment fraud, accounting for 66% of all cases reported to banks, according to the latest UK Finance data.

Some 76,946 cases were reported and £40.9 million lost to these scams in the first half of 2023.

Consumers are advised to be cautious when shopping on second-hand platforms, and to check the seller’s reviews and profile.

Which? director of policy and advocacy Rocio Concha said: “Second-hand marketplaces can be a great way to save money and shop in a more sustainable way so it’s worrying that a third of buyers have experienced a scam in the last two years.

“When buying and selling second-hand goods online, it’s important that people properly check the seller’s reviews and profile – especially if they are on the hunt for expensive goods.

“However, the responsibility should not fall wholly on consumers to protect themselves from scammers. Second-hand marketplaces need to ensure there are proper checks in place to prevent scammers from advertising in the first place and that any scam profiles are quickly removed.”

Deltapoll surveyed 1,318 adults about 2,027 purchasing experiences on online marketplaces, and a further 1,402 adults about 2,171 experiences with selling on online marketplaces in January.