So OLX is now Jiji, and it retains its approach of being sort of the middle man, a place where buyers and sellers can meet. The platform remains largely unregulated with little checks to verify/authenticate the legitimacy of products posted on the site. Despite all these risks, it remains a rather solid platform to shop for used, refurbished and even new products.
I recently came face-to-face with the nightmare that is getting scammed on the platform and thought I would show you the pitfalls. Jiji also provides some level of precaution to its users but that is very basic and can be thought to be its way of avoiding legal liability should you get scammed.
Here are some tips when on Jiji
Do NOT send money beforehand
Under no circumstance should you send money to a seller remotely? There are many people that are making a killing by preying on unsuspecting customers. The internet is awash with horror stories like these so don’t do it.
If a deal is too good, it isn’t real
Samsung Galaxy S9 is last year’s flagship. True the galaxy S10 family and the Galaxy Note 10 family are also available and those will take the top spot in terms of price so the Galaxy S9 should see a significant price drop, that is correct, right? But here is a seller on Jiji selling a brand new Galaxy S9 for just Ksh. 16,000. Do yourself a favor, steer clear.
Look at the date of registration for the Seller
Jiji knows there are scammers on its platform and it works hard to shut these down. If you see a seller has had his account for less than a week, he’s a scammer that’s just created that account to lure you. You might also note that such users often have a bunch of similar ads, all created in the last day or two. It’s a scam.
Try and have the seller meet you somewhere in public where you are comfortable
A shady seller will want to have you come to some dark part of town, his home turf where he can scam you and weasel his way out, leaving you stranded. If your seller is insisting you meet him somewhere you aren’t comfortable, hang up, block him if you have to and browse for other similar ads.
Message them extensively
Another trick I learned, ask the seller as many questions as possible. A genuine seller will be happy to furnish you with info about the product. A scammer will be in a hurry to seal the deal. Also, messaging them will give you a sense of who is legit and who isn’t as with Jiji aggressively cracking down on scammers, within a few days you will end up with a bunch of Blocked users you used to message with.
Buy goods from your town/city
Always try to buy locally so you can inspect the item, meet the seller, and pay at the time of pick up or delivery. Also, set up your meeting in a safe and secure environment. If need be, take a friend with you.
Keep a paper trail
Only use those payment methods that you trust and are familiar with: The best way to transact is to exchange the item and payment at the same time. Don’t send money before you see the item and you are satisfied that it meets your requirements. I also like to use M-PESA because in case of anything, at least there is a paper trail. Scammers will always want to avoid this.
At the end of the day, your own security is paramount so if you aren’t sure about the deal you are about to make, back out as soon as you can. There are countless tales online of scammers so it might be worth combing through, familiarize yourself with some of these tricks so you know how they might come at you.