Facebook Marketplace or any other buy and sell platform can be host to a gold mine of used Electric Scooters at great prices. Unfortunately in between the stellar deals, there is the occasional scam artist looking to make a quick buck or selling a knockoff electric scooter.
Scam artists come in all shapes and sizes on social media and other platforms, but Facebook Marketplace has to be the greatest host of them all. Facebook, while being a great app, has been flooded with fake accounts and fishy profiles for a few years now, all of which offer great products and ridiculously cheap prices.
Electric scooters have become the prime target for scammers of late, and as a result, many Canadians are getting swindled out of their hard-earned money for an electric scooter that either doesn’t exist or doesn’t live up to expectations.
More often than not, when you ‘buy’ an e-scooter from a scammer on Facebook you send them an e-transfer and never hear from them again, other times you actually get to meet the person running the scam and you end up paying them for a faulty electric scooter. Either way, it's a frustrating experience that no one should have to deal with.
Here's a quick checklist on how to avoid a marketplace scammer:
- Avoid offers that are too good to be true
- Be mindful of fake images & descriptions
- Make sure the seller is real by clicking their profile
- Examine the product before paying
- Always get proof of where the seller bought the scooter
If you’re looking to buy an e-scooter on Facebook Marketplace or elsewhere on social media check out these tips on how to spot a scammer!
If it’s too good to be true… then it probably is!
E-scooters aren’t necessarily cheap, even the used ones still cost a pretty penny, so when you come across an offer that looks too good to be true, it's likely a scam. Now don’t think that every lowball is a scam, there are some people out there who genuinely don’t know how much to sell a used scooter for, but if someone is offering an e-scooter at a ⅓ of its retail price or lower, it's not legit.
When you stumble across a listing that appears to be a great deal the first thing you want to do is look up the product, look it up on Google and Marketplace, that way you can see what the brand new retail price is and what other people on Marketplace have it listed at. If the price on the listing is suspiciously low then it's a scam, if the price looks reasonable to other listings then it's less likely to be a scam.
Take a closer look at the images & description
Another indication as to whether or not a listing is a scam is the images and description that the seller uses. Unless the seller is a professional photographer they should have real images of the electric scooter, not ones that look like they were made in photoshop. The same can be said about the description, if it's super short with little to no details then this suggests that the seller doesn’t know anything about the electric scooter they are supposedly selling.
Of course, businesses also use Facebook Marketplace to list their items, and businesses will use professional photos of their products as well as descriptions that appear to be copied and pasted from their website, which they are! This isn’t a scam, small businesses use Facebook Marketplace to their advantage all the time and the best way to determine if a listing is a scam or for a business is to see if they have a link in the description. If a listing has a link that leads to an actual website then it’s not a scam at all!
Check out their personal profile
The devil is in the details, a lot of fake or fishy profiles on Facebook or other marketplace channels can be spotted pretty easily, between using fake images, to having no friends or posts on their wall these accounts don’t fit in with other Facebook users.
Usually, the best way to spot a fake is to see if all their photos match, ie. is the person in their profile photo the same as the person in their other photos, and do the other photos have likes and comments? If the answer is no to both of those questions then the account is likely fake and the listing is likely a scam.
On top of their personal profile, you can also check out their seller rating. Any person who sells an item on Facebook Marketplace or one of the other platforms gets assigned a seller rating which is determined based on reviews from previous sales they’ve made. If their seller rating is low then you can likely expect a scam or frustrating experience.
Ask to examine the Electric Scooter before purchasing
Scam artists on marketplace platforms usually don’t even live in the city they’re selling in, thus they aren’t able to show you any imaginary product that they might be selling. Electric scooters are one of those things that you always want to examine before purchasing, especially when purchasing them secondhand.
If you’re chatting with the seller, be sure to arrange an in-person meeting with them to see the e-scooter, most scammers will make up a story about why they can’t meet or how they’ll ship it to you through Canada Post, if this is the case then it’s a scam. If the person is willing to show you the e-scooter in person it may still be a scam but it will be easier to identify when you see the e-scooter.
Before examining the electric scooter be sure to look up all of its specifications and even a demo video on YouTube, this way you know exactly what the scooter should look like and if it's a cheap knockoff or not.
Ask for a receipt or where they got it from
If you’re buying a used electric scooter from a person they had to have gotten it from somewhere, either online or at a local store. A best practice is to always ask for a receipt or at least a website for the store they bought it from.
If the person is unable to provide a receipt or store name from which they purchased the scooter and doesn’t have a good reason as to why they don’t have this information then the e-scooter is likely a knockoff of a real brand.
Our recommendation for using marketplace applications
If you want to buy a used e-scooter on Facebook Marketplace or one of the other marketplace apps then your best bet is to research the product they have listed and ask the seller specific questions, if things seem fishy then don’t go ahead with the purchase.
Aside from marketplace apps, used scooters are also sold by small businesses which are typically more reliable and come with a warranty in case of a malfunction.
T-Dot Wheels is a licensed electric scooter retailer that services all of Canada, to see what Certified Pre-Owned scooters we have in stock check out our CPO page here: https://tdotwheels.com/pages/certified-pre-owned-escooters