Is Carousell Safe and Legit? Policies and Helpful Tips


Carousell is a leading e-commerce platform in the Philippines and Southeast Asia where one can buy and sell brand new and used products. Within the platform one can observe through reviews and comments about thousands of transactions taking place within the marketplace. A lot of sellers and buyers alike are satisfied with the platform as the comments show. However if one scans through through Carousell reviews on Trustpilot.com, you can see a lot of unsatisfied customers. So, is Carousell a safe or legit platform?

The e-Commerce landscape in the Philippines is full of scammers and fraudsters. Credit: Jon Moore

Carousell is not an end-to-end ecommerce platform like Amazon, Shopee or Lazada wherein payments are held by the platform until the item is shipped and is found to be in good condition. Buyers and sellers in Carousell are mostly left for themselves to screen individuals to do transactions with.

The site has lots of traffic that one can easily find buyers or sellers but with the lack of controls from Carousell admin one should know how scammers operate and how to avoid them, plus some general tips on how to transact safely in the platform. To know these, read on.

Scam & Fraud Concerns in Carousell

One of the most common concerns is that it has become a haven for online scammers. It even got a bad rating of 90% in Trustpilot.com. Most users have experienced that the feedback system for buyers are not effective enough for sellers to be wary about shady individuals. There have been buyers that give fake identities but there is also a fair share of sellers that scams the buyers. Another main concern from customers is unresponsive customer service.

Most of the users that get scammed cannot get the help they need immediately and because of this they just give up and simply “charge it to experience.” Some have also left and deleted the app on their phone altogether.

Typical Seller Scams in E-Commerce Platforms

  • The item sold is not exactly what was described in the listing page. The item may be broken, has dents or scratches. Or the photos on the listing page do not show these defects nor the product description.
  • Seller does not ship the item after the customer pays for it. These fly-by-night bogus sellers usually post items that have an incredibly low price. These attract buyers who are hunting for bargains. After the customer pays for the item, the seller suddenly becomes unresponsive and is unreachable.
  • The price posted on the listing is not the actual price, and seller says he “made a mistake.” When the buyer sends the payment, the seller says that he made pricing mistakes and asks the buyer to send more money. In the end, the buyer who originally thought he made a steal pays for more.

Typical Buyer Scams in E-Commerce Platforms

  • Buyer insists on having the item shipped to their address before sending the payment, but the buyer will not send the payment in the end
  • The buyer will send fake proofs of payment such as fake bank deposit receipts, fake transaction screenshots. The seller will then send the item, thinking that an actual payment was made.
  • After receiving the item, the buyer sends a complaint that the item is damaged, not what its supposed to be or any other reason to have their payment refunded and the item returned to the seller. Once the refund has been made, the buyer will be unresponsive or unreachable or send a lesser valued item.

How Not To Get Scammed In Carousell

Check Buyer or Seller Profile and Feedback

Buyer and seller feedback is important as these provide some guarantee that you are about to transact with a trustworthy individual. Make sure to read buyer or seller reviews and also look for warnings such as reviews that are too positive as some sellers hire fake reviewers. Also take note how long the buyer or seller has been with the platform. Sellers at least 2 years in the platform is generally a good sign as Carousell admins remove or ban scammers.

If Buying, Check Prices of Similar Items With Other Sellers

If the price is too good to be true, it is a scam. In several platforms you can see pedigreed dogs and cats given away for free, and these individuals ask for money for shipping, processing, etc. In the end you will not get a pet, and you will end up several pesos or dollars poorer.

Know The Condition of The Item

Check product photos and the description for the exact condition of the item. Ask the seller if there are any visible or hidden defects, like scratches, bumps, a button not working, etc. This can also be a good haggling point with the seller.

If Selling, Be Transparent About The Product

Likewise, post product photos that reflect the condition of the product your are selling. Also state them clearly in the product description. If a customer inquires about the product, immediately tell them about the condition. You don’t want to waste effort and shipping money for returns.

Do Meet Ups As Much As Possible

Meeting up with a buyer or seller while time consuming allows you to have a peace of mind, this way the buyer can easily have feedback on the item and payments are instantly made.

What Happens If You Get Scammed On Carousell?

For both buyers and sellers, the first thing to do when the transaction has issues or is a scam is to report to customer service. They can be contacted through email and live chat. If you’re a buyer, it is recommended to provide proof of transaction such as screenshots, photos, or videos. If you can prove that you have been scammed, they will block or disable the seller so it won’t happen to other buyers anymore.

As for sellers, you will also need to have proof of your transactions and report it first to the customer support team. They can advise you to not ship the item if they deem it a fake buyer or a payment has not been made. It is also recommended to take photos of your items before shipping them to sellers so they won’t hold you accountable if an item is lost or damaged during shipping.

In Conclusion

There is no denying that Carousell is the go-to platform for those who need extra income through selling as well as an easy app for buyers wanting to buy items at bargain. Its app is easy to download, register and navigate through; It is available on mobile phones as well as on desktop or laptop computers.

However, the many experiences of its users regarding fraudulent transactions should be acknowledged. It has been evident that they lack a robust customer protection policy and systems that enable users to be confident when using the app. While we wait for their their customer service to vastly improve to handle customer complaints, everyone should be wary and follow the tips above to enjoy buying or selling in the platform.

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