Intro: Can You Safely Buy & Sell Your Stuff with an Online Garage Sale Website?

As a group, Americans love to buy things—with an endless array of storefronts, e-commerce sites, and shopping apps, it’s hard to deny that we’re a consumer-driven nation.

In fact, the average American household contains 300,000 items. With these kinds of numbers, it isn’t shocking to learn that a quarter of Americans admit to having too much clutter around the home.

With extra items clogging space in drawers and spare shelves, buy and sell websites and apps are emerging to help you sell your stuff and even buy secondhand items.

One of the most prominent buy and sell websites is letgo, the fastest growing marketplace to buy and sell used items in your area.

If you’re one of the millions of people who are suffering from too much unused stuff scattered around your house, selling on this popular online garage sale website could be a great way to earn extra cash while you declutter.

If you’re in the market for discounted used items, like a couch, television stand, dresser, sunglasses, shoes, or even clothes, there are plenty of options on letgo to fit any bargain hunter’s budget.

The deals might be great, but what about your safety when using buy and sell websites? While the letgo platform has a lot of benefits, users also open themselves up to the possibility of a letgo scam.

Before using the letgo buy & sell platform, it’s important to answer the following questions:

  • Is letgo legit? Is letgo safe to use?
  • Are there any letgo scams that you should worry about?
  • What are the signs of scams on letgo?
  • How can you avoid falling victim to a letgo scam?

letgo Scams

Photo courtesy of: letgo

Along with safety, it’s important to consider basic questions about the service itself, including:

  • What is letgo?
  • How does letgo work for those buying and selling on letgo?
  • How does letgo make money?
  • Are there any letgo fees?

Our review will tackle each of these questions head-on to determine whether letgo is a safe, reliable, and efficient way for you to buy or sell your stuff online.

At the end of this review, you will have all the information you need to make smart decisions when buying and selling online, including identifying the signs of letgo scams and knowing how to avoid a letgo scam.

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letgo Sell & Buy Review | What is letgo?

letgo is one of many emerging buy and sell websites—and apps—that allow users to browse and post items for sale within their local neighborhood.

You can think of letgo as a virtual garage sale—rather than driving around from one house to the next, users can easily browse through online listings to see what other people are selling locally.

Since its founding in 2015, this fast-moving startup continues to be extremely successful. letgo is available in over 25 countries and has received a total of $375 million in funding from investors.

letgo’s success has not gone unnoticed—one year after launch, letgo had amassed over 30 million downloads and 13.2 million active users across the globe.

This rapid growth has led some to wonder whether letgo will become the next massive social media disruptor, like Snapchat, Airbnb, or Uber.

As co-founder Alex Oxenford explains in a BusinessWire interview,

Every day, our team works hard to make letgo the fast, hassle-free, mobile-tailored marketplace that consumers have long wanted, so it’s extremely rewarding to see it catch on so quickly across the U.S. and elsewhere. We continue to add new features and technology to letgo – like artificial intelligence and image recognition – to radically improve how we buy and sell from others locally.

buy and sell websites

Photo courtesy of: TechCrunch

letgo Sell & Buy Review | How Does letgo Work? Are There Any letgo Fees?

If you’re looking to sell your stuff or find bargain stuff for sale, letgo is one of the easiest buy and sell websites to navigate.

letgo is available both as an app and an online garage sale website, though selling on letgo is primarily dominated by the letgo app. While you can browse and purchase items through the website, you need the letgo app to sell used stuff online.  

Selling on letgo is simple—take a photo of the item that you want to sell, and photo recognition software will immediately identify your item. Decide how much you want to sell your item for—or set the price as negotiable—and add a short description.

Buying used items on letgo is just as easy—filter your search by location and choose from a range of categories, including Cars, Tech, Home, Leisure, Motors, Fashion, Child, Entertainment, or Other.

Buyers and sellers can interact with each other through an in-app messaging system, which allows a safe way to discuss prices, meeting points, and item details without revealing personal information.

How does letgo work once buyers and sellers agree on a price?

Buying and selling on letgo is meant to be kept local—rather than exchange credit card and shipping information, buyers and sellers need to agree on a meeting spot to complete the sale.

Are There Any letgo Fees?

Currently, there are no letgo fees to buy or sell used stuff online.

In fact, the ability to download and use the letgo app completely free of charge is one of the reasons why letgo continues to be one of the most popular buy and sell websites.

As letgo continues to gain traction, there may be letgo fees in the future to support the growth of the startup—but for now, you can use letgo to list and purchase as many items as you want without paying any type of letgo fees.

How Does letgo Make Money?

Without letgo fees, how does letgo make money? The short answer is that they don’t—at least not yet.

As a startup, letgo is receiving funding from venture capitalists, raising a grand total of $375 million since 2015.

As a result, their income comes from selling equity stakes in the company to their investors, rather than charging users with letgo fees. As mentioned above, however, that may eventually change with time.

Still, not having to rely on users to provide income is a huge benefit for letgo—it’s an incentive for new sellers and buyers to sign up and makes it easy for one-time users to become habitual users of the letgo app.

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letgo Sell & Buy Review | Is letgo Legit? Is letgo Safe to Use?

Before using buy and sell websites, it’s important to consider whether they are legit, and whether they are safe to use.

Is letgo Legit?

So—is letgo legit? The letgo app has been featured in a wide range of publications, including Business Insider, The New York Times, USA Today, and Forbes, among others.

Additionally, its founding and financial information is readily available on Crunchbase, promoting transparency about the startup.

With over 30 million downloads and 13.2 million active users across the globe, new users looking to buy and sell used stuff online can rest assured that letgo is legit.

Is letgo Safe to Use?

What about safety while trying to buy and sell used stuff online? Is letgo safe to use?

letgo will never publish your exact address—instead, buyers and sellers will only see your approximate location. Users have the ability to refine their location if they want to display a more precise address, but the letgo app will never do so without your permission.

The letgo app and messaging system also has  built-in protection against sharing personal information on the platform. If contact information is displayed on a title or description of an item, letgo will flag that post and automatically hide the information.

Communicating through the in-app messaging system is the safest way to use letgo, and they explicitly say that “If you have encountered a buyer or seller who insists on chatting by email, text message or phone call, we recommend being extremely cautious and finding an alternative buyer/seller.”

When answering the question, “Is letgo safe,” it’s also important to consider face-to-face meetings.

Without a safe method to perform transactions through the letgo app, buyers and sellers must meet in-person to exchange goods and payment.

The safest way to buy or sell your stuff is to meet in public places, like a coffee shop, store, bank, or even the lobby of your local police station. A buyer or a seller should never meet at a private place of residence unless absolutely necessary (as when buying furniture).

If you do have to meet at a home, the best way to ensure safety is to bring a close friend or family member along with you, just in case.

Like many buy and sell websites, letgo is as safe as you make it. Users who do not share personal information, communicate via the app, and meet in public places will find that letgo is a safe place to buy or sell your stuff locally.

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letgo Sell & Buy Review | Should You be Worried about letgo Scams?

letgo scams are not entirely unheard of, as is the unfortunate case with many buy and sell websites. Public forums that allow users to buy or sell used stuff online will always provide a forum for scam artists to work, even when buying and selling on letgo.

For example, a Jacksonville man recently experienced a letgo scam when processing a fake PayPal payment from a buyer.

Two men in South Carolina were arrested for running a letgo scam involving stolen cellphones.

Additionally, a recent ABC Action News report details how a buyer fell victim to a letgo scam when attempting to exchange Amazon gift cards as payment for a used truck.

Those wary about scams on letgo certainly have reason to be cautious—letgo scams are at the top of headlines across the country.

letgo Scams—#reportscam

Consumer review website #reportscam lists 395 complaints about users falling victim to various letgo scams.

Based on their complaints about letgo scams, here are a few common elements that lead to scams on letgo:

  • Sellers agree to process payments via PayPal, receiving false confirmation that results in a letgo scam
  • Sellers accept money order payments, checks, or wire transfers that either never come, or are fraudulent
  • Buyers are redirected to Amazon to process payments, leading to a letgo scam
  • Buyers do not test or inspect the product before finalizing their transaction
  • Sellers offer extremely low prices, or buyers offer payments much higher than advertised

An interesting point to note is that nearly all of these reported scams on letgo begin with buyers or sellers requesting personal information, like an email address, phone number, or address—something clearly against letgo app’s policies.

One report of a letgo scam described meeting a buyer in a parking lot, handing them the item, and watching the buyer drive off without providing payment. There also seems to be a recurring letgo scam involving the fraudulent sale of an RV.

letgo Scams—ScamGuard

ScamGuard, a forum for consumers to post warnings about actual and potential scams, has 13 unresolved complaints about letgo scams.

Many of these letgo scams echo the same characteristics of those detailed on #reportscam. For example, one complaint says:

I was selling a laptop on letgo and I got a buyer who is this gentleman or whoever it is and it started off with selling it for $100 and he had to pay $100 shipping fee. Well I paid the $200 because I seen [sic] that he paid at Western Union. Well all of a sudden I had to pay another hundred dollars. Now after paying another hundred dollars he says I need $600 now. That’s where I said this is a scam. The Western Union email that I received looked legitimate. I am writing this so that nobody else has to lose out on $300. I have never been so disgusted in my life.

Similarly, another report about a letgo scam on a vehicle reads:

…I found what I thought was a great deal on a 2006 Acura TL. The listed price was $1500. I reached out to the seller, they contacted me, we started emailing, they then instructed me on how to purchase the car. I was sent what appeared to be an official document from eBay motors that instructed me to pay through money gram. They then said I had to pay another 1000. for shipping insurance, which I did not do. They gave me a number to call 1-888-999-9154 to verify the eBay shipping insurance amount. A man answered with a heavy Arabic accent answered. Once I inquired about the Acura TL he immediately hung up.

As is the case with many reports of letgo scams, buyers and sellers begin communicating off the platform, exchanging personal information, and accepting alternative forms of payment.

Should You Be Worried about letgo Scams?

Should you be worried about letgo scams? Yes and no—ultimately, you should be just as worried about scams on letgo as you would be about scams on eBay, OfferUp, Craigslist, or any other buy and sell websites that you use.

As long as you can identify the signs of letgo scams, you won’t have much to worry about when looking to buy things or sell your stuff through the platform.

In the next section, we’ll talk about the best ways to avoid a letgo scam so that you can learn how to spot letgo scams before becoming a victim.

scams on letgo

Photo courtesy of: letgo

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letgo Sell & Buy Review | How Can You Avoid Scams on letgo?

Although letgo scams do exist, there are a handful of effective ways to protect yourself from interacting with people running scams on letgo.

While there are some methods that use common sense, others address issues that are simply unavoidable byproducts of buying and selling stuff online.

Below, our letgo review has compiled a list of the best safety tips from the letgo website to ensure you’re safe when trying to buy and sell used stuff online.

Meet in a Public Place

Meeting in a public place is crucial to ensuring your safety, whether you are a buyer or a seller on letgo.

Make sure that there are plenty of people around, and avoid exchanging payment or goods while sitting in a car to avoid an in-person letgo scam.

Bring Someone Else Along

This is particularly important when meeting at home, as with furniture or large, heavy items.

Both buyers and sellers should have someone with them to ensure that the transaction goes smoothly, safely, and that both parties are safe.

Always Accept Cash Payments, In-Person

If a user says that they cannot meet in person, or are dealing in payments other than cash, this is typically a sign of an attempted letgo scam.

Never accept mailed or wired payments, and don’t buy anything without first seeing it and testing it out in person.  

If you do decide to use PayPal, make sure you can recognize common PayPal scams to avoid scams on letgo.

Use Common Sense

Items on buy and sell websites that have unrealistically low or high prices usually indicate a letgo scam. As their website suggests, “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.”

Look for Real Photos

If a listing has photos that look like catalog photos, that could mean that they are part of a letgo scam. Every item listed on letgo should have actual photos taken by the seller.

Never Use Personal Information

This includes obvious information, like your credit card number and your login information, but it also extends to phone numbers and addresses.

Nearly all letgo scams begin with a request for personal information to communicate outside of the platform. Keeping your personal information safe also means communicating solely through the app, and never via phone or email.

If a user does try to send you their personal information, letgo will automatically send you a notification as part of their built-in security, warning you of a potential letgo scam.

Many victims of scams on letgo mention receiving these types of notifications and not paying attention to them.

Do Your Research

letgo allows those who buy and sell used stuff online to leave reviews for each other on public profiles. Before conducting a transaction with someone, a good way to avoid letgo scams is to look at their profile to see if they have any questionable reviews.

If you are purchasing vehicles or cellphones, letgo also suggests using third-party sources to verify that the item has not been stolen.

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Conclusion: Is letgo Safe to Use? Is letgo Legit?

For those looking for places to buy and sell used stuff online, letgo is a great option. The user interface is free, easy to use, and seeks to make the process as simple as possible.

While the website and app are both safe and legit, much of your safety when using buy and sell websites depends on you. Knowing how to identify letgo scams before you become a victim of a letgo scam is crucial to ensuring your financial safety.

The next time you clean out your garage or notice that your closet is overflowing, you might want to consider buying or selling on letgo.

If you follow the safety tips, use a little common sense, and keep an eye out for potential letgo scams, letgo can be a perfectly safe—and profitable—place to buy and sell used stuff online.

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