• Gumtree is one of the largest and most popular online classifieds platforms in the UK, boasting a wide reach and a large user base. This increases the likelihood of finding buyers or sellers for a variety of items and services.
  • The platform allows users to post basic ads for free, making it an accessible option for individuals and small businesses looking to advertise without incurring costs.
  • Gumtree emphasizes local buying and selling, which can be convenient for users. This focus on local transactions reduces the need for shipping, allows for easier face-to-face interactions, and can help users find items and services in their immediate vicinity.

Potential Concerns

  • Gumtree’s open platform can attract scammers who post fake listings or attempt to deceive buyers and sellers. Users need to be vigilant and verify the legitimacy of ads to avoid falling victim to fraud.
  • Unlike some other online marketplaces, Gumtree does not offer an internal payment system or comprehensive buyer protection. This means users have to handle payments themselves and take extra precautions to ensure secure transactions.
  • Arranging face-to-face meetings with strangers for transactions can pose personal safety risks. It’s important to meet in public places and follow safety guidelines to reduce the risk of harm.

What is Gumtree?

Gumtree is a UK-based online classifieds platform where users can buy and sell items, find jobs, housing, and services, and engage in local community activities. It was founded by Michael Pennington and Simon Crookall in November 1999 in London​. The platform allow its user to post classifieds for free and generates revenue through listing fees for premium ad placements, banner ads, and referral fees from partnerships.

Is Gumtree Safe – The Details


Gumtree operates under UK laws, including the Consumer Rights Act 2015, General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and e-commerce regulations, ensuring data protection, fair trading, and consumer rights​.

Protection and Insurances

As a user of Gumtree, you have several protections:

Safety Guidelines: Gumtree provides safety advice and guidelines to help you avoid scams and conduct secure transactions. This includes meeting in safe, public places and avoiding advance payments​.

Support and Reporting: Users can report suspicious ads and activities. Gumtree’s support team investigates and takes necessary actions against fraudulent listings and accounts​.

However, Gumtree is largely a do-it-yourself platform, requiring users to be vigilant and take their own security measures to avoid scams. Unlike some other classifieds such as Shpock, Gumtree does not have an internal payment system, so users must handle payments themselves​.


Using Gumtree comes with several risks that users should be aware of to protect themselves. Here are some potential risks and recommended precautions:

Scams and Fraud:

Fake Listings: Scammers may post fake listings to trick buyers into paying for non-existent items. Verify the legitimacy of the listing by checking the seller’s profile and reviews.

Advance Payments: Avoid making payments before receiving the item.

Lack of Buyer Protection:

Unlike platforms with internal payment systems, Gumtree does not offer buyer protection through its own system. This means users must rely on external methods like PayPal.

Meeting Strangers:

Personal safety is a concern when meeting buyers or sellers. Always meet in public places and, if possible, bring a friend along. Avoid meeting in secluded locations or at your home.

Quality and Condition of Items:

There is a risk of receiving items that do not match the description.

Disputes and Resolution:

Resolving disputes can be challenging as Gumtree does not mediate between buyers and sellers.

Security and Personal Data

Gumtree complies with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which is a regulation in EU law on data protection and privacy. This compliance ensures that Gumtree handles users’ personal data responsibly and securely.

When using the platform to buy or sell products user should follow the below rules to for their own safety:

Meeting in Public Places: Always meet buyers or sellers in safe, public locations. If you prefer to do this at home, make sure to have someone with you and not have any valuable items on display.

Avoiding Advance Payments: Do not pay for items in advance or provide personal financial information.

Verifying Identities: Ensure you verify the identity of the buyer or seller before completing transactions.

When agreeing to post an item sold on Gumtree, it’s essential to take steps to ensure both parties are protected. Here are some recommendations:

Use Tracked Posting: Always send items with a tracking number to allow both parties to monitor the shipment and provide proof of postage and delivery.

Insurance for High-Value Items: For high-value items, consider purchasing additional insurance. This ensures that you are covered in case of loss or damage during transit.

Document the Packing Process: Take pictures or videos of the item being packed and sealed. This can serve as evidence of the item’s condition before posting.

Keep Receipts and Tracking Information: Retain all receipts and tracking details provided by the postal service. This information is crucial in case any issues arise during the delivery process.


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Summary – Is Gumtree legit?

Gumtree is a legitimate and well-established online classifieds platform. It was founded in 1999 by Michael Pennington and Simon Crookall in London and has since become one of the leading marketplaces for buying and selling items, finding jobs, housing, and services in the UK and internationally.