Tips on buying safely

Be aware of scams

  • Be aware of our warning signs of top scams and if in doubt about a seller either contact us for advice or simply don’t proceed and find another seller on Freeads.
  • Use your common sense, if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Registered companies. If you are purchasing goods or services from registered companies (e.g. Insurance companies) please make sure you check the registered status (e.g. FSA) before handing over any monies.

Always use Freeads Inbox

  • Use the 'Reply to ad' button for your safety and privacy. Don't reply to ads with email addresses in the ad or pictures, some scammers have put the contact details in the wrong place to try and avoid being blocked from Freeads. Always use Freeads anonymised email.

Meeting the seller face to face

  • Do not give sellers your personal details until you are sure that they are who they say they are and a genuine seller.
  • For your personal safety and only if you cannot meet the seller at their home or business address, always meet in a ‘lighted’ public place and always take someone with you, or at least tell a friend where you’re going.

Item delivery

  • Freeads recommends using AnyVan to get your item delivered from anyway in the country.

Paying for an item

  • Meet face to face to see the item and exchange money. Make sure you are completely happy with the item before handing over any money. 
  • Never carry large sums of money with you. If you’re looking to buy something expensive, we recommend that you meet with the seller to view the item first. If you are happy to proceed with the purchase, either go to the bank with the seller or arrange to meet somewhere safe to pay.
  • Freeads recommends payment using our "buy now" functionality. This is available if a seller has allowed this option and posted the item to you. This means you will be covered by PayPal Buyer Protection. If the seller has not added this, they can do it after you have agreed to buy the item. Never send money by bank transfer or PayPal's "friends and family" service as freeads will be unable to mediate in any disputes paid by a third party service. Please ensure the items you are purchasing fall outside of PayPal's restricted items policies, or you may not be covered for buyer protection.

Why is paying using 'Buy now' (PayPal) on Freeads the safest way to make a purchase

  • You're protected
    Paypal protects both buyers and sellers so if anything goes wrong or your item doesn't arrive, PayPal are the experts in resolving these issues. Remember, you can’t get this protection with a friends/family transfer or if you make a direct bank transfer.
  • We're here to help
    We hope it doesn't, but if anything goes wrong we can help. Unfortunately there is very little we can do if you have made a transaction outside of Freeads.
  • Help grow our community
    By buying safely on Freeads you are helping our community of buyers and sellers to grow.
  • What happens if something goes wrong after I bought through Freeads?
    Get in touch with the seller. Normally there is a genuine misunderstanding and the seller will be eager to help you to resolve the situation.
    If you can't get a satisfactory resolution, email us at and tell us what happened.
  • What happens if something goes wrong after I bought outside of Freeads?
    When something goes wrong after a transaction happens outside of Freeads, there is only so much we can do to help.
    If we don't have a record of your transaction, we can't follow this up and we can't provide personal contact information about other users.
    You will need to contact the other user and try to resolve it yourself.
  • Watch out for potential scams or risky transactions
    We try to keep Freeads a safe place to buy and sell and most of the time things go perfectly smoothly.
    We regularly review our users and their ads and will take action if the user's ads or behaviour is not in line with our rules.
    Here are some easy ways to help protect yourself:
  1. Never send money in the post or do a bank transfer to another user.
  2. Never do a "friends and family" PayPal transfer. If something goes wrong, PayPal can't help you either as the transaction is not covered under PayPal's buyer and seller protection policy.
  3. Always send items through tracked / recorded delivery, and keep your proof of postage.
  4. Always insist on paying inside Freeads.

General tips:

  • When buying tickets for events, 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. Some event tickets e.g. Glastonbury Festival may also feature a photograph of the original buyer, which can mean that anyone other than the original buyer may be refused entry to the event. Our advice is to always independently check the re-sale terms of the event before buying.
  • When buying airline tickets, we suggest you take down the seller's name and ticket number. Check that the ticket exists and quickly ensure you are able to transfer the tickets you’re your name.
  • When buying bicycles, we suggest you take down the seller's name and telephone number. Check for any proof of purchase or check the bike frame number. If the bike is being advertised at a significantly lower than market price, please check that the bike isn't stolen
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