Why Does Everyone on Gumtree/ Marketplace Insist on Being Paid in Cash?

Seems like almost all sellers only want to be paid in cash for items not transfer even though its instant so they can see the money in their account before handing the item over. It's quite frustrating because I don't carry cash so you have to go out of your way to find an ATM which can double the total trip time. This is even for $20 items, do they really think someone is going to go all that way to try and scam them out of $20?

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  • +167

    do they really think someone is going to go all that way to try and scam them out of $20?

    Yes, and most likely its because they've been scammed out of 20 bucks that they always ask for cash.

    • -103

      Seems like everyone apart from me has been scammed then, I always accept transfer and haven't been scammed.

      • +144

        It's a precaution against chargebacks, fraud and reversed transactions. Cash in hand for face to face sales is always the sensible option.

        • +10

          Exactly… chargebacks are rife on eBay now. Every week there's another few sellers on the selling forums who have fallen victim to chargebacks.

      • +1


      • cash is king, rookie!

        (tho for lower priced items <$50 i might let it slide sometimes)

      • +3

        You'll eventually be scammed, dw.

    • +8

      Username checks out !

    • I've been scammed too. Gumtree users are cheap ass holes that will try every trick.

    • Or they "Pay" with paypal, and tell a courier is picking up the item, and you should pay the courier in advance, as they are going to pay you back anyway.

  • +51

    Scammers will scam any amount they can and Gumtree is scam central. IMO, and obviously others, it's a cash only platform.

    • -49

      If you are worried about that you can see the money in your account before handing over the item though?

      • +31

        Bank sometimes put a hold on first time transfer on PayID and it would take up to 24 hours to release it.

        Would you be happy to do PayID and then come back when the payment is cleared? Likely not as you will think your money will be gone once you go away. Same goes for the seller as they would think you can simply cancel PayID transfer after getting your item. This is possible as the money hasn't been transferred as yet.

      • +9

        Bank transfers can be reversed.

        Pretty much all electronic forms of payment are open to abuse.

        It's why cash, despite the wishes of government and banks, will be around for a very long time.

      • +1

        As well as that a lot of buyers don't want to transfer before handing over the goods (transfer money, turn up to provided address, no one there), because scamming works both ways.

        Cash is the best for both parties to make sure they get what they pay for/what they are owed.

      • that is not sufficient protection. If the transaction is reported as fraudulent it can be reversed.

      • +1

        money doesn't always gets cleared instantly even if they are same bank. I have had many occision where say CBA won't clear it until 2 days later (this is a transfer from my friend not gumtree)

        Cash or no deal, simple as that.

        Occisionally I might accept electronic transfer if it is not an expensive item and they are located interstate.

    • +1

      I've bought a few video games off Gumtree that are just codes to be redeemed. Not big money ($20-$50) but enough that if someone wanted to scam me they could pretty easily.

      I've done bank transfers every time and haven't been ripped off yet (touchwood). There's always a chance I get scammed, but I'm not too worried about it.

      Just wanted to offer my experience as a counterpoint.

  • +25

    Because once you have cash in hand literally the only way for them to get it back is to physically rob you..

    I'd rather not deal with checking if a payment is pending/fully cleared. Even then a scammer could initiate a case with their bank saying they got hacked etc etc in the case of large transfers. Some banks potentially still don't have PayID.

    If you are a buyer and seller has said cash only it's up to you to make that effort to cash out, otherwise find a seller who accepts bank transfer.

    Businesses can ask for cash only, and if you don't have cash then that's on you.

    • +1

      Fake cash?

      • what does fake cash look like?

        • +2

          Printer go Bbrrrr!

          • @Kangal: so 3D printing the notes since you can't 2D print it as it would be obvious on paper?

            • @Zachary: You need 3D glasses as well. Otherwise 1D is the traditional method.

              • @Ughhh: I did a social experiment one time where I printed out actual size notes on paper and then conveniently dropped my wallet in a busy mall area and then sat down casually with my eye on the dropped wallet with said fake paper notes and see if anyone would pick them up open the wallet up and take the fake notes out and then drop the wallet back down…. nothing happened until I went for my toilet break……didn't even see who took it when came back…it was gone!

        • +1

          Basically america's economy right now

        • The other options are so much easier than forgery that few people bother these days. Yes, there is the occasional effort and, yes, it does work every often … but you don't have a website called forgerywatch trying to warn you about all the forgeries be distributed … check out www.scamawatch.gov.au though. The losses 1029 were bad enough … "Australians are set to lose a record amount to scams in 2019, with projections from losses reported to Scamwatch and other government agencies so far expected to exceed $532 million by the end of the year, surpassing half a billion dollars for the first time."

        • Monopoly money. If caught, use a get out of jail card

      • +2

        If you can't tell it's real or fake and the person you end up giving it too doesn't either does it matter in the end?
        Maybe we have been using fake cash without realising

      • Ten years in jail. Nobody will risk using fake money to scam.

  • +1

    Sellers don't have ATM's.

    • -2

      Bank transfer/pay id and PayPal

      • +3

        Back in 2017, I was after a music player.
        A seller pretended to be genuine, but asked for a bank transfer and I did.
        Then no response after that and absconded forever.
        I lost 180AUD.

        Never Gumtree again.

        • +1

          That's why you pay when you are with them

          • @spaceflight: I transferred money between two of my own accounts with different banks using payID. Apparently the system went down at my bank and it was 2 days before the money appeared.

            As a seller, i might be inclined to accept payid transfer, but i'm not handing it over till it lands in my account. Everytime i tell the buyer that i've not giving them the goods until i see it in my account, and any delay they'll have to wait. They just pay cash.

            Only time i've ever taken a bank transfer for gumtree. The guy responded to my ad, didnt question price. Then when he rocked up, he wanted to play hardball. I hate that, its one thing if you want to barter with me on teh app, but dont waste my time showing up. Anyway, he did the I only brought so much cash thing, and i'm like then go to the bank i'm not selling for that price. Eventually, we sold for the cash and like 100 by transfer he did infront of me. It was small enough that I was willing to risk it.

        • In a case like that I would do PayPal but that can still let you down but much safer than bank. I've been scammed $50 of gumtree myself doing bank transfer.

  • +21

    Because scammers.
    Anyone can take a screenshot of a fake transaction or edit html code to make it look like it's done.
    Better to be proactive rather than reactive and learn from everyone else's mistakes - just search the Ozbargain threads.

    Just look at the block where one of the buyers doctored a transfer to make it look legit.
    Anyone can do it.

    • -17

      I use PayID, you can see the transfer to your account on your own phone before handing the item over.

      • +12

        Nothings fraud proof.
        See here

        • +1

          If I'm reading it correctly, the person in that post had not yet seen the money arrive in their account, and were just trusting the receipt they were sent. Because the money was still in transit, the buyer was able to reverse the transaction.

          In all the comments on this post and the one you linked, I haven't seen one that indicates it's possible for someone to reverse a bank transaction after it has landed in your account. Have you?

          • -1

            @moph: Yeah i don't think reversing a bank transaction is possible once it's complete.. best thing banks can do is ask receiver to return cash but it's up to them. Bank won't touch money after
            Similar with payid.

            I get not handing off goods before money hits your account, but once it's there I'm confident it's safe

            • @wozz: Yeah, so why’s our mate Alex above getting downvoted to oblivion?

            • +1

              @wozz: @wozz

              Never say never


              If you have made a mistaken internet payment, you need to contact your bank or credit union immediately. Your bank or credit union will then contact the unintended recipient’s bank to try and get the money back. If the money is still in the other person’s bank account and it is a genuine mistake , then the process for recovering the money depends on how quickly you have reported the mistake to your bank. If you report the mistake:• Within 10 business days: the funds will be returned to you.

              Basically - they just need to convince the originating bank its a mistake.
              They will then need to convince beneficiary bank.

            • +1

              @wozz: I've had a bank transfer reversed after 3 months. No questions, just an email saying there was a mistake.

          • @moph: They could have been sent a fake receipt

            • @spaceflight: i think his point is that you can see it in your own account on your phone immediately. And also in theory transfer it somewhere else.

              I dont like it because i've had delays with payid transfers. So if someone transferred me the money and it didnt show up immediately. What do we do?

  • +9

    Why would you not accept cash?

    It requires zero effort.

    • If you're lucky you'll even get some bonus powder.

      • +1

        The powder is what gives it it's value ; )

        edit: Though not the USD. They've now 7B in circulation, of which, 3B has only been printed in the last 12 months. They only had 4B before. So obviously new cash won't be as valuable. And we will see the repercussions of this in the coming years, as this inflation leads to a Global Crash that is as bad/worse than the 2008 (reminds me of the dotcom bubble). The recovery/correction is going to take a few years/decade, sigh.

        • +1

          Australia created $200bn pretty quickly and RBA is still printing money to buy bonds as part of QE.

          Has your loaf of bread changed in price drastically?

          Even in 2008/9 when KRudd sent $750 cheques out did everyday item prices go up and queues to get into stores to purchase everyday essentials?

          Most of the QE money is going into assets like houses, shares and small amounts into crypto.

          What people are not understanding is most of this QE money isn't going to make it into the real economy. Idea is rising asset prices (property and shares) would make people more inclined to spend.

          Everyone been crying about inflation since 2008/9 with the massive US TARP to bail out the banks.

          There isn't much new money it is just thinking it will then inflating it themselves. Latest being the FOMO property panic buying to 2021.

  • +2

    I guess you have all the answers about how it should work, so only do business with those who will accept transfer and you can be happy.

  • +6

    I agree. Honestly over $20 I wouldn't even be bothered. I have used Gumtree and Facebook Marketplace for a couple years now and have never been scammed or tried to scam others.

    Sometimes if they want to pick something up and I'm not going to be home at that time I would just leave the item out on the porch beforehand and ask them to leave cash in the mailbox. Never had any issues at all. Obviously this is for smaller amounts (less than $50), the point is people I've come across were all generally very nice.

  • +6

    I notice when selling that everyone says they have the money in cash. Not sure why this is always mentioned, like I’m not gonna give you a loan to buy my shit.

    • +13

      The alternative is people who say they will buy at your price, but then muck around for days getting the payment together (payday is Thursday, I had unexpected expenses etc.).
      Cash now means I won’t muck you about.

    • +1

      yeah its just a pressure tactic to get you to sell. I'm a serious buyer i'm ready now.

  • +6

    I just meet somewhere near my house with ATM near by so buyer can withdraw money on pick up.
    Cash is king for Gumtree, don't want to waste time to get scammed.

  • +17

    i've read enough sob stories on ozbargain to know that gumtree is cash only

  • +1

    I prefer cash when selling. Payid etc can be a pain by not working instantly etc.

    Also trying to do my bit to keep the cash economy going.

  • +5

    Why Does Everyone on Gumtree/ Marketplace Insist on Being Paid in Cash?

    1 scammers
    2 ato

    It's quite frustrating because I don't carry cash so you have to go out of your way to find an ATM which can double the total trip time.

    get yourself a;
    cash box https://www.bunnings.com.au/syneco-200mm-assorted-colours-ca...
    cash drawer https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/312088499406
    or safe https://www.bunnings.com.au/sandleford-150-x-200-x-170mm-ato...
    and if possible secure it by bolting it to your slab or floor or wall or chaining it to something

    then go to atm and get out a lump sum of cash - amount depending on; how often you go secondhanding, how much you spend, and how often you go past an atm when out and about.

    now you can gumtree till your hearts content / cash stash is empty
    and you only have to find an atm once in a while
    and if you remember when you walk past an atm at the shops etc its never empty

    • +1

      If one has been traveling a lot before COVID, there is a chance one would have a good sum of foreign change so its a good idea to get a safe anyway.

      • its like the worst way to travel. Dont carry lots of cash, safety. Dont convert lots of cash if you do, nothing worse than converting it twice. Ugh avoid the exchange places at almost all cost.

        I was in europe a couple years ago. And i had to bring foreign currency as I was working overseas in a different country that didnt have electronic banking like us and no debit visas for transaction accounts. When I landed I changed about $600 at an exchange place and it came to like Eur350 or something. A week later i needed more, searched online, found the best exchange place i could, and got like eur450 for that $600. No the exchange rate hadnt moved really at all, it was just a much more competitive rate.

        Same when coming back to Australia, i found a place in the cbd here that has a rate significantly better than anywhere else iv'e checked. Even then, i only do it for the little bit i have left over.

    • The ATO isn't going to come after you because you sold your old junk on gumtree lol

  • +5

    Not me. I'm okay with gold bar or diamonds

    • +4

      You'll probably end up with cubic zirconium.

  • +7

    I just make them wait until the Bitcoin transfer is complete, though that just starts another argument as the price has changed so much by then.

    • LoL the crypto crowd is going to come after you

  • +6

    What a silly question ? lol

  • Just like Russian roulette, using the past to predict the future…

    Good on you that, you haven’t had issues (yet).

  • +12

    Can we ban people that don't use cash for gumtree sales and people without car insurance?

  • +4

    Cash is king 😷

  • +13

    Cash is king

    Edit - Dammit, beaten by 54 seconds

  • +8

    I like the ones who agree to to a price and then turn up with $20 less. "I'll have to go down to the ATM to get more," and most people, including me in the past, just say whatever, I'll take what you've got. If I ever do it i the future, I'll say, OK, see you when you get back.

    • +3

      I personally just tell them goodbye and leave. Very annoying if you've arranged to meet them elsewhere than your home.

    • +7

      I've seen before someone driving down 3 hrs away in a car full of family members only to attempt to haggle a pre-accepted online price and walk away from the said deal.

    • +8

      Or turn up with a $50 note for a $10 item. Bring the right change!!

      • +4

        Or at least say if you need change.

        I should keep bags of silver coin around, just for this occasion. $40 change… in coin.

      • +2

        I got a $100 dollar note for the $5 the buyer was short of. He said lost all coins for change and only had 100 bucks notes.

        Obviously seeking a $5 discount … my foot!

        Piled him up with lots and lots and lots of $2 coins I had at hand. An offer he couldn't resist ;-)

    • +3

      Haha, that happened no me. I was like sure, there's an atm near woolies. Not that I care about the $20 but it's the principle.

      He managed to find it in the car, it must have dropped out of his pocket. That was so lucky! :)

    • +2

      lol. I've had a few people do that… for a $30 item.

      I look them in the eye, "end of the block, turn left. The ATM is about half a block down that road. Bout 10 mins walk. See you soon."

    • I had exactly that happen for a CPU/Motherboard combo. agreed on price and meet up spot. Agreed price was $230, he said he must have forgotten the rest at home and would I take the $200 he had on him. Simply said "that's fine, I have a second buyer waiting in case this falls through, see ya later", he quickly remembered he might have extra in the car. I am always reasonable and friendly and willing to haggle on price BEFORE price is settled and agreed, after that I will walk away on principle alone even if I know I can't get better.

  • +2

    Marketplace/Gumtree is the only time I use cash these days that I can think of, although usually it is receiving from selling. Although someone transferred me cash the other day as they really wanted the item and couldn't pick it up for a few days.

  • +4

    Cash only, and at the place of my choosing.

    I'm not running a business, and certainly not selling things for profit so accept my terms or don't waste my time.

  • +1

    Yes, I only do cash, particularly for cheap items. I cbf logging into to check the transaction prior to organising pick up and don’t really want to be giving out my full name to strangers. If it’s less than $20 I’ll often just ask the person to leave the cash under the door mat, then I don’t even have to interact with them. Also by only taking cash, I then have cash on hand when needed.

  • -1

    People like to party with dirty fiat.


    Studies have piled up in recent years describing exactly how filthy—specifically how bacteria-laden—our dollars and cents can be. Fecal bacteria and other pathogens may have hitched a ride from someone’s hands, nose or apron onto our cash.

    • "Fecal bacteria and other pathogens"

      Sad how their standards have slipped over the decades. "Fecal bacteria" may possibly be pathogens, although E. Coli is fairly ubiquitous anyway, being the one that makes a lot of your vitamins and gives tourists " Bali belly" when aclimatising to a new variant - and gives Balinese the local equivalent when they travel to a different environment - however probably not in any greater extent than they'd be on the item you are purchasing…

  • +2

    I once transacted 2 expensive suits as the money appeared in my account and I felt safe to do so. They used some 1 hour loophole where they can transfer the money back to themselves and then I never heard from them again. Police couldn't/wouldn't do anything about it, they just said to use it as a $600 lesson

    • That is interesting. So the money was briefly in your account then withdrawn?

      Did they use a cheque or something?

      • +3

        Correct. I think its since been fixed (I cant find anything about it on online forums) but at the time (around 2015) Commonwealth Bank to Commonwealth Bank transactions could be undone within a few minutes. So this woman had long enough to transfer me, transact the suits, see me off and then go inside her home and undo the transaction.

        I didnt realise until I got back home (she made me drive about 2 hours to her, and insisted I take tolls and she paid me an extra $50 for the hassle).

        I was young and naive.

        • +1

          Thanks for the update. Ouch:(

  • +1

    Always Cash for Gumtree & Facebook marketplace is the 'gold standard'.

  • From seller point of view, there are lots of stories of them being scammed where people raise cases with Paypal. I think there is some popular scam along the lines with car sales. I forgot how it works.

  • +3

    Cause you need to assume everyone is a scammer on these selling platforms. What a silly question.

  • +2

    Cash only
    Cash is integral to our society and if we stop using it, our government will take it away from us (as they've already tried). When that happens, democracy is essentially over

    Use cash!

    • -4

      Cash will be replaced by a CBDC.

      There is no need to settle transactions in cash when it can be done digitally.

      • Without cash - and the ability to make transactions that are not recorded by the authorities and/or financial institutions - there is no real democracy