How To Ensure Your Safety On Peer-To-Peer Marketplaces

Last week I covered how to stay safe while using the sharing economy, this week I will be covering things to lookout for when using peer-to-peer marketplaces. From customer reviews to background checks, they are very important details a new user should be looking for. A safe platform will need to check off certain boxes before you can ensure it is safe to us. Let’s take a look at 4 things that need to be spotted before signing up and doing business with a new marketplace.

1. Customer Reviews.

The point of a peer-to-peer marketplaces is for peers to be interacting and selling their own products/services. While this can easily be created by fake accounts or users, there still is a significance to customer reviews. Let’s take Airbnb for example, a model many are looking to replicate. We have the hosts and the guests. Each are able to review one another after their stay to ensure transparency and trust. This has made it difficult for users to simply add fake reviews to increase their star ratings. On the other side of things, Yelp has a platform in which a simple email address anybody can post a review. There is no verification if they even dined at the restaurant they are reviewing.

Prior to booking or purchasing on a peer-to-peer marketplace, take the time to look at customer reviews. Whether you are looking to book a house for your next vacation on Airbnb or buy a new computer on Amazon, it is a must. Understanding and knowing who your seller is can ensure you are making a safe purchase. Are they active on the marketplace with reviews but also giving reviews? This can help check one of the boxes to a safe transaction.

2. Testimonials Or Current Clients.

These are similar to customer reviews but more often from their bigger or best clients. A glowing review about how great or simple their marketplace was to use. While these are typically hand picked or tweaked to make them sound better, they may not be too far from the truth. A testimonial can help bring another layer of trust for potential or new users to see. Imagine seeing the CEO of Linkedin leaving a testimonial from a new marketplace? That may help put all doubt of trust to rest.

While some clients like to remain anonymous, an image or list of current clients can help add to the layer of trust between you and potential users. Often times seeing the logo of a big company such as Intel or Hallmark on the home page of a marketplace can add value. With the thought of hey, if these big companies are willing to do business with them they must be happy and I shouldn’t have a problem either. Be careful as some may use other people’s logo without their permission, a simple google search can help clear things up. Ensure in fact that those clients are true before making a purchase on the platform.

3. Money Back-Guarantee.

This may not be difficult to stand behind for certain marketplaces, but is a must when appropriate. The significance for a money back-guarantee isn’t about losing the money but more so standing behind their work or product. A sign of confidence in what they are producing and sharing with their peers. While this can raise major issues as there are people who like to take advantage of the systems. Ensure you have a process in place to work with those who are looking for their money back due to specific reasons. Be careful of those who use the product for a few days and then attempt to return it as they are “unhappy”. This will require your own discretion when the time comes but try to be reasonable with all your customers.

At the end of the day, a money back guarantee policy should be clear and concise. Did you fail to receive their item or did it not match the description of the listing? Those are clear signs that a marketplace should stick by their guarantee. Before making your purchase, look for a money back guarantee on the website. This will help ensure you are dealing with a legit marketplace and avoid you from being scammed.

4. Background Checks.

Not every marketplace currently does this as it can be very costly, but can be the icing on top of the cake. Background checks are not something that can be tweaked or changed to make someone look better. These are directly from a centralized government database that has quite accurate information. While your average person could care less about this feature but for someone that is looking to use a peer-to-peer marketplace, it again adds another layer of trust. What if you were doing business with someone who was charged with an online fraud but did not know as a background check was not done? I would think twice about joining a peer-to-peer marketplace that does not check out each of their users prior to joining.

Do you agree with these points I have shared? Are there other things you look out for before signing up on a marketplace? I’d love to hear what you have experienced with safety on a peer-to-peer marketplace. Leave a comment below or give us a shout on social media!

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