Gumtree's Service Ad Removal Scam Cons Local Businesses
Most of the time when you hear the words 'Gumtree' and 'Scam' in the same sentence, it's related to the thousands of scammers on the website that are using various different ways to scam trustworthy buyers, but this post focuses on how Gumtree itself is scamming it's customers who pay a lot of money for service ads and sponsored listings.
Most of us will remember the days when services ads were free over on Gumtree, then back in 2015 they suddenly started charging £4.99 each, which when going from free to a fiver caused an absolute uproar. Anyway, we plodded on, Gumtree got very quiet indeed and unfortunately the fee did not deter the usual Gumtree scammers but it was still a good place to post local ads. Just recently in May 2018 they hiked the price yet again, so ads were now £7.99 each and went from lasting 90 days to just 60, but for some reason were disappearing after 30.
So anyway throughout all of this we have been posting paid service ads for our SEO package clients, until today! Most of the ads running in my account were years old, I simply bumped them every month, but today I had to create an add for a new client, a local roofing company - The ad was pretty similar to the hundreds of others I had run on Gumtree over the years, a logo, description, services offered and contact details...no biggie!
Once I had the Paypal confirmation it had been paid, I immediately went on the ad because I was going to add some extra images that I thought would help, it was then I noticed it wouldn't load, so I went to my account and went to manage ads and it said it had been removed. Odd!
I then went on live chat to try and find out why, this is when it hit me that something was seriously off with Gumtree, I genuinely thought they had been hacked. Luckily I had ticked the box to have the transcript sent to me...
And that was that, in 5 seconds she had told me she couldn't see anything wrong, it was tough sh*t, she would not respond to any more emails and closed the chat. I literally couldn't believe my eyes!!
So next I try Twitter...
Looks promising, so to the DM I go.....
And simple as that they again gave an automated reply and refused any more contact.
Now I am starting to think how on EARTH do a huge company like Gumtree get away with taking customers money and deleting their ads within seconds and not offering a refund.
The ad was clearly removed due to an automated vetting system because no human could vet an ad that quickly, and even if they had, it wouldn't have been removed as there was nothing wrong with it.
The next thing you know, I get multiple emails from Gumtree telling me my ads were being removed with the following reasons "We believe that this ad is offering something that we do not accept on Gumtree." ads that have been running for over 2 years, all of a sudden aren't accepted.
I always pay for digital goods via Paypal as they are very good at giving refunds when these companies try to scam you out of money.
So I tried to log in to my account and, you guessed it, deleted.
Even if my ad was doing something against their T&Cs, how can they handle customers in this way? Refusing to tell them why? refusing to engage in any kind of response? If they can take your money, they owe you at least a decent explanation of what you did wrong, so that should you wish to re-post your ad, you will be able to avoid doing it. It's all good and well sending out an automated like for T&Cs that is pages and pages long, because no one has time to filter through all that jargon, simply to place an online advert.
Now surely since they are taking payments for their services they are legally obliged to give reasons for removing an ad, and if they don't with to give reasons, then simply refund them. I am struggling to get my head around how they have been allowed to continue on like this with no kind of repercussions.
I have reported them to trading standards and suggest you do too if you have been affected by this issue, I have also requested a refund for all my ads that were running via Paypal I have no doubt in my mind that greedy Gumtree will try to contest the refund, but hopefully Paypal have the sense to see that what they are doing in legally and morally wrong.
The bottom line is that Gumtree removes sponsored listings and paid service ads for absolutely no reason, with no refund and refuses to tell customers why, and all the while continuing to allow people to list said ads. It's utterly wrong and they need to be stopped.
There's literally hundreds of similar stories over on Gumtrees Trustpilot page, their rating is 0.9 out of 5 and there's scores of 1 star reviews with similar stories.
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