Gumtree's Top Tips

At Gumtree we want to make sure all our users have a safe, successful and enjoyable experience. Whether you’re buying, selling, looking for a job or trying to find a new flatmate make sure you follow our top tips and safety guidelines for using the site.

Staying safe while using Gumtree

  1. When buying or selling, you should always meet in-person to see the item and exchange money. Gumtree encourages face-to-face, local trading.
    For personal ease and safety take someone with you, or have someone with you if a buyer is coming to your home or workplace. If this is not possible, arrange to meet in a public place. If you’re answering a home service ad, ask the poster to produce identity and proof of qualification before inviting them into your home.
  2. Always inspect the item before agreeing to a sale. Inspect all items carefully to ensure they match the description in the ad, and any issues are known before you finalise the sale.
  3. Never send or wire money to anyone you don’t know. This includes mailing cheques or using payment services like Bidpay, Western Union or Money Gram to pay. We believe that these forms of funds transfer are favoured by fraudsters.
  4. Gumtree doesn’t offer any sort of buyer protection / payment programs. Please ignore any emails you receive that refer to buyer protection/payment systems, even if they may have the Gumtree logo. If you receive any emails promoting these services, please report it to us.
  5. Gumtree doesn’t offer any sort of live chat support. If you receive any emails containing a live chat link, please report it to us.
  6. Always use common sense. If it looks too good to be true it probably is!

Finding a job

  1. Find out as much as you can about the company from independent resources before taking up a position. If you are an employer, follow up on references and check their authenticity.
  2. Meet your prospective employers/employees face to face.
  3. NEVER provide your bank account details when applying for a job (this should only happen once you have accepted an offer and started with the company). If any prospective employer ask for your bank details, please report it to us
  4. Unfortunately some scammers do target job seekers so please be aware of the common scams out there. All the usual common sense rules apply – if it looks too good to be true it probably is!
  5. Gumtree doesn’t offer any sort of buyer protection / payment programs.  Please ignore any emails you receive that refer to buyer protection/payment systems, even if they may have the Gumtree logo. If you receive any emails promoting these services, please report it to us.
  6. Gumtree doesn’t offer any sort of live chat support. If you receive any emails containing a live chat link, please report it to us.
  7. Always use common sense. If it looks too good to be true it probably is!

Buying a secondhand car

  1. Know your budget: Dedicate time to researching what’s out there and the average price of your desired model. Prices that seem too good to be true most likely are.
  2. Ask questions: When first contacting the seller, don’t be afraid to ask a lot of questions:
    • How long have you had the car and what is the reason for selling?
    • What condition is the car in?
    • Has the car been in a crash of any kind or sustained any damage?
    • Who was the car bought from? Ideally the seller or the previous owner bought the car new.
    • Will the car meet a Road Worthy Certificate (RWC)? If not, walk away.
  3. Meet the seller: Take a friend and meet the seller at their home address, and ensure it is the same as the one listed on the registration certificate. Inspect the car in full daylight to easily identify possible defects under the bonnet, any rusting under the car or dents in the exterior.
  4. Test drive cold: Arrange to test drive when the engine is completely cold, which will give you a good idea of how the car starts. Test drive the car in all gears and on a range of road surfaces to identify any potential issues.
  5. Check the history: Get the car’s Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) and check the history of the vehicle with your state database.
  6. Independent inspection: It’s worth the investment to have the car inspected independently. If there is any hesitation from the seller it is likely they are hiding something. Gumtree lists a range of service providers you can choose from in your local area.
  7. Negotiate: Negotiate the price based on your research into the average market price and the faults you found with the car that may require further spending. There is usually leeway for bargaining.
  8. Check paperwork: Before making a deposit on the car make sure you have all the necessary paperwork; this includes registration papers, logbooks, service history and relevant receipts.

Choosing a quality business service

  1. Conduct your own independent research. A simple Google search of the business name can help you find any feedback about the business. You can also call your state department of fair trading to see if there are any complaints against the business.
  2. Double check validity of ABN and relevant licences. Go to Australian Taxation Office to verify an ABN.
  3. Contact several businesses and receive quotes from each. Remember businesses are competing for your business and you should pick the one that you feel comfortable with.
  4. Gumtree doesn’t offer any sort of buyer protection / payment programs.

Finding accommodation

  1. Always view properties in person. Gumtree is a local community site and we encourage face-to-face, local trading. People willing to rent a property without seeing it/or the prospective tenant first, even if they claim it’s because they are currently overseas, are unlikely to be legitimate.
  2. For personal ease and safety, always ensure you take someone with you, or if you are inviting someone into your home, have someone with you and ask to see personal identification first.

And as always:

  1. Never send or wire money to anyone you don’t know. This includes mailing cheques or using payment services like Bidpay, Western Union or Money Gram to pay. We believe that these forms of funds transfer are favoured by fraudsters.
  2. Gumtree doesn’t offer any sort of buyer protection / payment programs.  Please ignore any emails you receive that refer to buyer protection/payment systems, even if they may have the Gumtree logo. If you receive any emails promoting these services, please report it to us.
  3. Gumtree doesn’t offer any sort of live chat support. If you receive any emails containing a live chat link, please report it to us.
  4. Always use common sense. If it looks too good to be true it probably is! 

Buying tickets

  1.  When buying tickets for events, you should always meet in-person to see the item and exchange money. Gumtree encourages face-to-face, local trading. For personal ease and safety take someone with you, or have someone with you if a buyer is coming to your home or workplace. If this is not possible, arrange to meet in a public place. If you’re answering a home service ad, ask the poster to produce identity and proof of qualification before inviting them into your home
  2. Please be aware that some tickets may have terms printed on them that limit the ability of the original buyer to sell them to someone else. Please check out resale policies, terms and conditions with the official event organiser before buying a ticket on Gumtree.
  3. Please ensure the legitimacy of tickets before handing over money and again refer to resale policies, terms and conditions with the official event organiser.
  4. Double check that the ticket hasn’t been cancelled by the event organiser before handing over money.
  5. Be cautious with sellers offering printed tickets as fraudulent sellers can print several copies and sell to more than one buyer and only the buyer who arrives at the event first will be authorised to enter. Again refer to resale policies and terms and conditions with the official event organiser as some events will also require you to produce photo ID to confirm you are the original buyer.
  6. Never send or wire money to sellers or buyers. This includes mailing cheques or using payment services like Bidpay, Western Union or Money Gram to pay for items found on Gumtree. We believe that these forms of funds transfer are favoured by fraudsters.
  7. To understand Gumtree’s policies on selling tickets, check out our policies located here.

Finding a pet

  1. Meet the poster of the ad and see the place where the animal is being housed before agreeing to anything. Since Gumtree is local to your community, this should be easy to arrange. Also, If you’re buying a young animal, like a puppy, kitten or baby rabbit etc, make sure you meet the mother (and father too, if he’s around) to check they’re  happy and healthy and that the breeder is providing  all their animals with a high standard of housing and care. Never buy a pet from someone who is unwilling to let you see how and where the animal is living!
    It is important to ensure the animal is from a legitimate breeding/housing site. Irresponsible breeders (e.g. puppy farmers) may use a fake house as a shopfront so prospective buyers don’t see the poor conditions the animals are kept in. If you have any concerns about an animal advertised on Gumtree please report it to us. You should also report this to your local RSPCA Inspectorate.
  2. If you are paying for a pet, never mail a cheque or use payment services like Bidpay, Western Union or Money Gram. It is our belief that these forms of funds transfer are favoured by fraudsters. Be particularly wary of any seller who demands a deposit prior to seeing the pet. Meet the seller and animal in person, and pay cash.
  3. Visit your local RSPCA or other reputable animal rescue organisation for tips on identifying responsible practices. See these RSPCA documents for detailed information:
  4. There are two types of registration for breeders:
    Pedigree or purebred dog breeders are often referred to as ‘registered breeders’ when they are members of a breed club or association that operates a stud book or register. The term may also be used to refer to someone who is registered with their local council as a breeder (also called a ‘recognised’ breeder).
    Requirements for dog breeders vary from state to state. We recommend you call the relevant local council to confirm if breeders have to be registered with them and whether there is a code of practice or guidelines that the breeder should be following. If the answer is yes, you can ask the breeder for their registration details and what guidelines they follow.
    If the breeder is ‘registered’ as a member of a non-government association, e.g. State Canine council, they should also provide their membership details.
    Note that being a ‘registered’ breeder does not necessarily mean a breeder meets good animal welfare standards. The only way to be sure is to visit the place where the animal was bred to check out the living conditions and to meet the mother dog (and father if he’s there) to check they’re happy and healthy.
  5. Check that the breeder/seller is responsible. This is important because there are a number of serious animal welfare issues that can be associated with breeding in Australia including puppy farms.
    A puppy farm (also known as a puppy factory or puppy mill) is an intensive dog breeding facility that is operated under inadequate conditions that fail to meet the dogs’ behavioural, social and/or physiological needs. Puppy farms are usually large-scale commercial operations, but inadequate conditions may also exist in small volume breeding establishments which may or may not be run for profit.
    Puppies and breeding animals on puppy farms live in appalling conditions. Dogs are often kept in overcrowded and filthy environments. Breeding animals may be confined permanently in small cages, continually bred from and never allowed out for a walk, to go to the toilet in a separate space, play or express normal behaviours.
    Be aware of other welfare problems that can be associated with breeding including inherited diseases, inbreeding and exaggerated physical features. See the RSPCA Interactive Puppy and Dog Buyer’s Guide and the RSPCA Smart Kitten Buyer’s Guide for more information.
  6. Buyers of cats and dogs should expect to be provided with documentation confirming microchipping, vaccination status and vet check.  It’s important that the breeder/seller is permanently recorded on the microchip register so they can be identified and traced from each individual cat or dog
  7. If in doubt contact your local RSPCA
  8. For tips and advice when considering adopting or buying a pet, please see our Guide to Responsible Pet Ownership.

Buying and selling protected species

The trade of protected species (native or exotic), and the sale of products made from protected animals or plants, is not allowed on Gumtree. Before buying or selling exotic animals, animal products or plant species, you should:

  1. Check if the animal/plant is protected at Australian list of CITES species
  2. If the plant/animal is on CITES list, look at the Appendix listing to find if any restrictions apply to this species
  3. Visit your state or territory government website to check if any further restrictions apply to this species
  4. Contact the Department of Agriculture – Biosecurity to check their restrictions and regulations
  5. If you want to buy a pet you should read Top Tips for finding a pet on Gumtree
  6. Please read Gumtree’s Animal and Wildlife Product Policy

If you find an ad on Gumtree that you think relates to the sale or purchase of an exotic or protected species you should report it to us by clicking on the ‘Report’ button featured on every ad on Gumtree.  Any ads found to be in breach of the EPBC Act or CITES and reported to us for breaching these regulations will be removed from the site.

Gumtree is a community site and we rely on your feedback to help shape the site and keep it friendly, safe, up to date and relevant for everyone. While the vast majority of Gumtree users have great success buying, selling, renting or connecting with others, from time to time we do receive reports of people attempting to scam or defraud users. We have found that one of the best ways to address this problem is to ensure that all transactions take place locally and in person.

Gumtree works closely with regulators and law enforcement when they investigate the trade of illegal products by providing ad information and/or user details when they are requested.

Further information can be found at:

Buying a mobile phone

  1. There is an Australian service available to check for potentially lost or stolen mobiles and this is run by the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association. The page to check IMEI numbers is located here and the main website is located here.
  2. Perform a mobile phone IMEI check to see if the handset has been reported lost or stolen. IMEI is the International Mobile Equipment Number which is a unique identity number for your mobile phone. It is electronically transmitted every time you use your phone and reveals the identity of your handset. It is usually recorded beneath the battery on the back of the phone.
  3. We also advise you to request proof of ownership of the phone at the time of purchase. This way you don’t end up buying a lost, stolen or blocked mobile.

Ridesharing

If you’re using Gumtree for ridesharing, we encourage our community to follow these safety tips:

  1. Know the identity of the people you’re riding with and meet them face to face and in public before agreeing to rideshare with them
  2. Ask lots of questions and get to know your potential driver or passenger
  3. Be wary of anyone who asks inappropriate questions or gives vague answers
  4. Plan ahead and know the route to your destination
  5. Always get picked up and dropped off in a high traffic area
  6. Tell a friend or family member details of the people you’re travelling with and give them your itinerary
  7. Check in with your friend or family member regularly and don’t deviate from your plan
  8. Make sure your phone is fully charged before the drive and ensure you have one or two contact numbers memorised
  9. Always keep a debit or credit card, your ID and some cash on your person