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Some tough lessons in the marketplace

Technology has supported the invention of many things, including Facebook marketplace.

If you need or want something, chances are there is someone, somewhere who has it for sale.

There are some specific groups in Wairarapa on Marketplace that sell and buy items among the community.

Wairarapa buy and sell group is one example. It provides you the option to bestow upon someone else the piles of stuff that you no longer want. Declutter and abide by the teachings of Marie Kondo, or do the exact opposite and fill your house with more junk.

While many people make good use of the site, its regulations are thin, and the chances of being scammed are frequent.

You might think a journalist shouldn’t be scammed; after all, they write about it. You would be sorely mistaken.

A while ago, I was after a new piece of equipment for my computer, so I went to a seller I had used before and asked if he had the product I needed.

He replied in the affirmative and sent a photo showing me what was available. I had bought from him before; his house was set up like a mini shop with all the parts organised on shelves.

With this in mind, I thought I would try him again; he sent me a new address and told me to pay in advance.

At the time, swimming in the blue lagoon of Gullible, I made the mistake of sending through the money, because I trusted him. I didn’t think much of it, but later, I would bemoan the loss of my hard-earned money and realise how stupid i had been.

I went to the address listed, which was not a house but a park; 21 is the house, and 19 is nothing.

I found his old address and talked to a former flatmate who still lived there. The news wasn’t good. I was told “he now takes drugs and has arrest warrants out, so you can say goodbye to your money.”

Feeling sorry, I trundled down to the police station to report the incident. I was met with a very impatient and rude officer who told me he had dealt with five complaints about the site that day, and nothing was going to be done.

I learned a valuable lesson about not trusting people too much and making sure I see something before buying it. We all like to talk about not getting scammed and how we need to watch out, but it can happen to the best of us.

So, I have decided to present an unofficial list of steps to ensure you don’t get to be a joke at a dinner party like me. In hindsight, the obvious one is to only pay when you see the item in person and verify it is legitimate.

It is also good to check out their Facebook profile to see if you can learn more about who they are.

For sellers, I would advise caution with regard to listing your address, and if you don’t want someone to know where you live, arrange to meet at a park or communal space.

And finally, even more unofficial, if you get scammed and need some closure, become a journalist so you can write an editorial about it.


  1. Most people are oblivious 😐 🙄 we have been forced to use the internet by banks and the past government 🙄 🤔. There’s scams and most people don’t understand what can happen 🤔. Old saying 🤔 sounds to good beware if you don’t know what your doing don’t do it. I still go to the bank 🏦 ANZ no internet banking for me and ask if your unsure.

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