After the savage assault of a member of the ICSA when buying a vehicle online recently, we remind people to be careful when buying vehicles and other goods online. Dondeal has a great guide and advice to those buying online that people should take onboard.

The vast majority of Donedeal users are trustworthy and genuine, the site says, but nevertheless, it is very important to have the same common sense and take the same precautions online as you would offline.

The following Donedeal guidelines will help you stay safe when buying goods through classified ads:

  • Deal with people locally, who you can meet in person (this simple rule helps you avoid 99% of the safety or security issues people face).
  • Arrange a time and place you feel comfortable with.
  • Meet in a well-lit, busy, public place (covered by CCTV if you want to be extra cautious).
  • Don’t meet the buyer alone if you are meeting in a public place.
  • Give somebody else the details of whom your’re meeting, and where and when you are meeting them.
  • Keep your mobile phone with you.
  • If you are going to the sellers house be respectful or their privacy.
  • If you’re going to see an item for sale at a seller’s home, be aware that they may be afraid your ‘casing the joint’.
  • Beware if the goods are cheaper than normal.
  • Be wary if a seller is putting pressure on you to make a quick decision.
  • Please beware of forgeries e.g. big brand name goods, tickets and multimedia products that are not originals.
  • Try to get a signed proof of purchase.
  • If the seller has a mobile phone number, also ask for a landline number (e.g. home or workplace phone), so you can make contact if there is a problem with the product.
  • Read our top tips for buying second hand goods, dogs, cats, a horse or cars.

When it comes to payment, Donedeal advises the following:

  • Do not pay in advance for goods.
  • Be careful about how you are carrying cash to pay for goods: or else pay with a bank draft.
  • Ensure you have full access to your purchase before handing over all your money.
  • Use cash or bank drafts when paying for goods.
  • Never pay for goods through Western Union or other similar money transfer service.

Donedeal goes on to say that it does not endorse any escrow company i.e. companies that will transfer money on behalf of a buyer, but recommends that Donedealers meet with a buyer or seller in person.

When it comes to buying a vehicle, Donedeal also advises to check with the Hire Purchase Register that the car is not under a Hire Purchase agreement and to check the car history. It also advises to get a trusted mechanic to do a check up on the vehicle before handing over any money.