You may have seen the commercials for the LetGo app. The commercials shows a person with a loving connection to their Coleman grill or their guitar amp who is finally convinced by a friend to put it up for sale, and within seconds a buyer is there to take it off their hands. What’s not to like?
In reality, LetGo is a lot like Craigslist. It’s a place local people buy and sell secondhand items for a good price. So far, reviews of LetGo have been mostly positive because these sales are truly private transactions between the buyer and seller, LetGo tends to stay out of disputes, leaving any refund policy up to the person making the sale.
Recently however, we have received several phone calls from LetGo sellers saying that they had been contacted by buyers that seemed somewhat suspicious.
The “buyer” says they saw the seller’s item for sale and wants it, sight unseen, and is willing to pay more than the asking price. The “buyer” also wants to communicate through email, not the LetGo app. The buyer then wants the seller’s address so they could send a certified check. The “buyer” says they will make the check out for more than the sales price because they will be using a “mover” to pick the item up. They instruct the seller to wire the excess amount to the “mover” once the check has been deposited. They also generously offer to pay an additional amount, usually $40-$50, for the seller’s added troubles.
Sounds like a pretty good deal, doesn’t it? Getting more than the asking price, the security of a certified check and money for added troubles! What’s not to like?
Unfortunately, it’s a total scam! A couple of things usually happen:
1. The check is made out for much more than the agreed-upon amount, usually between $1,200 and $2,000 more. The “buyer” contacts the seller, saying they made a mistake, and instructs the seller to please refund the difference by wire transfer ASAP.
2. Or the seller deposits the check and then wires the “mover” the money as instructed. The problem is the check is fake! The seller cashes the check, and everything seems fine for a few days, but ultimately the check will bounce. The money the seller refunded the buyer or wired to the mover is long gone!
Here are LetGo tips for a smooth, safe transaction:
• Meet in person, and use cash to complete a transaction. Meet in a public place, such as the coffee shop, supermarket or mall. Don’t go alone.
• Be wary of people who are unable or refuse to meet face-to-face or want to communicate only by email. Don’t send any payment or refund to someone you haven’t met in person. Never wire money (sending via Western Union).
• Beware of users who make unusual request or suggestions, like the buyer insisting on sending a check for more than the asking price.
• Never give out your personal financial information to make or accept a purchase.
If you are looking for a good deal, don’t be afraid to use LetGo. But it’s always important to protect yourself and your money when buying and selling your old moped, poker table or curling iron. Treat these deals just like you would any other, by refusing to be pressured into buying anything you’re uncomfortable with, inspecting the item and taking a friend with you for support and input.
If all seems well, go ahead, LetGo, and get yourself a good deal!
Cheryl Parson is president of the Better Business bureau serving West Central Ohio. The BBB may be found on the Internet at www.lima.bbb.org.