Safe Shopping Guide

Millions of people look to buy or sell using classified ads in South Africa every month. It’s a great way to make a deal with a buyer or a seller directly, avoiding the fees often charged by middlemen. Most people are honest, and are only looking to make a fair trade but, as in any area of commerce and particularly when buyer and seller are connecting directly online, there is a risk of misunderstandings or encountering someone unscrupulous. For that reason, it’s important to take reasonable precautions.

Here are our guidelines for helping ensure a safe and positive experience when buying through classified advertisements.

Use common sense

It's important to use common sense when evaluating a deal. Many good deals abound on Ananzi Ads but as a rule of thumb, if an offer seems too good to be true, then it probably is! If you get a feeling that something is not right, be extra careful. Investigate further, and never allow yourself to be pushed or rushed into taking any action.

Meet the seller and view the goods

It’s not always possible, but if you can, meet the seller and see the goods and any relevant documentation before making payment. This is critical when considering buying certain pets and animals (see below).

Pay in person, or on receipt

Avoid paying in advance for goods, their reservation, or shipment. Pay strictly on receipt of goods. Be particularly wary of sellers who suddenly announce they need to ship the goods from a different location to the one originally advertised, and ask you to pay them or a transportation company in advance.

If you must pay in advance of receipt of goods, use only a reputable and trustworthy third party payment provider offering either payment protection arrangements or escrow arrangements (whereby the payment provider will hold your payment on the seller’s behalf until you have confirmed satisfactory receipt of goods). Ensure any payment provider is authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority.

Check the seller’s returns policy in case you are not happy with the goods once received. Be aware you could be liable for customs duty on goods sent from overseas.

Use safe and secure payment methods

Avoid using URLs or clicking on links in emails sent to you by the seller, such as links claiming to be third party payment providers, without first checking that the link goes to a genuine and reputable provider. A common tactic is to send a link that appears to be for a reputable site, but in fact harvests your login credentials, bank details or other personal information for improper use (so-called 'phishing').

Guard your personal information carefully

Your personal information - your name, address, telephone numbers, National Insurance number, date of birth, bank or bank card details, passport details, login credentials - are valuable and can easily be misused.

Although the buyer and seller need to know who they are doing business with, and the seller may need to post the goods to the buyer, avoid giving more information than necessary, and never give out your bank or card details, National Insurance number, or date of birth, when buying.

Buying pets and animals

Ananzi Ads supports the legal, safe and healthy trade of animals and pets advertised online. However because of the nature of the trade, there are extra precautions you must take when considering doing this for your own protection, as well as that of the animal and the wider public.

Never buy an animal from unknown sources – it’s critical that you know where it comes from and where it was born, so that you can satisfy yourself it has been either bred in South Africa or not illegally imported.

We encourage you to research the precautions you need to take very thoroughly.

A good starting point is this guide:

Personal safety

When viewing goods or meeting a seller, if you have any concerns consider taking someone with you for your personal safety and a second opinion or at least let someone know where you are going. When possible, meet in a public place, in daylight, and avoid carrying large amounts of cash on your person.


Since ads on Ananzi Ads are gathered automatically, we cannot guarantee their accuracy or the accuracy of content linked to on external websites. Ananzi Ads does not imply any association with, nor endorsement by or of, the publishers of external websites, or their users.