Buying safely - top tips for buyers & Sellers

The vast majority of DoneDeal users are trustworthy and genuine.

Nevertheless, it is very important to have the same common sense and take the same precautions online as you would offline.

The following guidelines will help you stay safe whether your buying or selling 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 alone if you are meeting in a public place.
  • Give somebody else the details of whom you're meeting, and where and when you are meeting them.
  • Keep your mobile phone with you.

Advice for Buyers: 

  • If you are going to the seller's house, be respectful of their privacy.
  • If you're going to see an item for sale at a seller's home, be aware that they may be afraid you're "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.
  • Items purchased from private sellers on DoneDeal are purchased "as seen", so it is important that before purchasing you are happy with the working order of the item.
  • Read our buyers guides second hand goods, dogs, cats, a horse or cars.

Advice for Sellers: 

  • if the buyer has to come into your house, keep valuable goods out of view.
  • Remember that the buyer may have concerns about meeting a stranger alone, especially if they are bringing cash.
  • Never trust an unknown person who contacts you and claims to put you in touch with interested buyers for an advance fee.



  • 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 services.
  • DoneDeal does not endorse any escrow company i.e. companies that will transfer money on behalf of a buyer. We recommend that DoneDealers meet with a buyer or seller in person.
  • If you decide to pay via PayPal make sure you select that you are paying for goods and services - not to friends and family. This is one of many eligibility criteria for the Paypal Protection for Buyers. Ineligible items include motor vehicles, motorcycles, caravans, aircraft, boats and some industrial machinery.


  • Do not hand over goods until having received full payment.
  • Cash is the easiest payment method, but unsuitable for large amounts.
  • Use a bank draft for large amounts. Always verify the bank draft with the issuing bank before handing over the goods. Either call the bank, or go in to one of their branches.
  • Never accept foreign cheques as payment.
  • If you're receiving a large amount of cash, ask someone you know in retail or hospitality trade to check the notes.

Please note that these guides do not constitute legal advice and any information provided in the guides should not be construed as legal advice or legal interpretation. We do not accept any liability for any loss caused by your reliance on this guide.