Gumtree: One Woman’s Trash is Another Man’s Treasure

I don’t normally do “sponsored” posts. I have no interest in writing about forex exchange companies, grocery coupons, or casinos in Brunei, and these are the kinds of sponsored post offers that I normally receive.

But a couple of weeks ago Gumtree.co.za contacted me and asked if we could work together. For those of you who don’t know, Gumtree is an online classifieds website similar to Craig’s List. I had never heard of Gumtree before I moved to Joburg. But it’s huge here — as huge as Craig’s List is in America. Gumtree is also big in the U.K. (where it was founded) and a few other countries.

Before typing my normal polite decline, I stopped and thought. I had never used Gumtree before and it so happened that I had something I needed to sell. Why not try to sell it on Gumtree and then review the experience? Hence, this blog post.

I needed to sell, of all things, a set of tires (tyres, to the South Africans and Brits among you). Five enormous, steel-belted radials that belonged to my late boyfriend Jon. I had been putting off selling them forever for a variety of reasons, but mainly because I have zero interest in tires and I can’t imagine why anyone else would.

But my landlord was dropping polite hints that the tires needed to go. (They were stored on his side of the property.) I half-heartedly asked a few friends and they weren’t interested. I asked at the tire shop down the road and received a blank stare.

“Well who buys tires, then?” I asked the lady at the tire shop.

“Put them on Gumtree,” she said.

Two days later, I received this offer from Gumtree. I had run out of excuses.

Lucky hauled the tires out of storage and rinsed off the cobwebs. I dutifully photographed the tires — not the most exciting visual subject matter. But at least I knew that I would have the best-photographed tires on Gumtree.

Tires tall

Five beautiful ti(y)res.

Tires closeup

Closeup showing the tread.

I then signed up for Gumtree (it took about 30 seconds), and posted my ad, which I modeled more or less after the other tire ads on the site (there were many). I clicked “post ad” and waited.

Gumtree screenshot

I didn’t initially intend to include the Melville Cat in my ad. But he seemed dead-set on photobombing my shot and I saw no reason to dissuade him.

I received two responses within an hour. At that point I became a little nervous. This is the only downside to Gumtree: You have to correspond with complete strangers and (in this case at least) allow them into your home, running the risk of being robbed or scammed.

The first email I received came with one of those scary red warnings saying, “This message may not have been sent from [email protected]” I carefully copy-pasted the address into a new window and emailed the guy back. Before I even finished corresponding with that guy, I got a message from a man named John, whose email didn’t come with a warning message. I immediately sensed that John was legit. I arranged for him to come see the tires the next day. I made sure Lucky would be there so I wouldn’t be alone, and John promised to bring his family along as proof that he wasn’t an axe-murderer.

John came, looked at the tires, and we negotiated a final price.

Within 36 hours, my tires were sold and everyone was happy.

John and tires

John’s new tires. There was some controversy over the fact that one of the five tires had to travel in the back seat with John’s two kids. All was well in the end though.

Money

My new cash.

Done. Gumtree is awesome.

As stated above, Gumtree sponsored this post. But all of the views and experiences described here are 100% truthful and my own.

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14 Comments

  • Reply wannabepoet April 30, 2014 at 3:52 pm

    I love Gumtree. I use it often, and have never had a bad experience. As long as people are smart, and don’t do silly things like transfer money over before receiving the goods etc then it normally works out just fine 🙂

    • Reply 2summers April 30, 2014 at 5:50 pm

      I agree. It’s a great service.

  • Reply Kathryn McCullough April 30, 2014 at 4:06 pm

    Sounds like an awesome experience. I had never heard of Gumtree. Glad the tires went to another man of the same name–except for spelling!

    Hugs from Ecuador,
    Kathy

    • Reply 2summers April 30, 2014 at 5:49 pm

      I hadn’t even thought of that. 🙂

  • Reply Regina Martins April 30, 2014 at 9:05 pm

    I’ve been reluctant to use gumtree; I think I will try it after reading your post, thank you.

    • Reply 2summers May 1, 2014 at 7:17 am

      Awesome Regina, that’s great to hear. I felt the same way and probably wouldn’t have done it had I not received this specific motivation. I’m so glad I did.

  • Reply SherylR April 30, 2014 at 11:38 pm

    I love the way you work. Well done. Further confirmation that you are truly now South African. Tyres nogal!

    • Reply 2summers May 1, 2014 at 7:16 am

      Haha, thanks Sheryl. This turned out to be a really fun (and easy) work assignment.

  • Reply John May 1, 2014 at 12:10 pm

    Awesome pic .. pretty handsome beast that .. ha ha .. I’m the buyer .. John. But yep… nice dealing with Heather and I am very happy with the tyres. But, please be aware there are loads of scamsters out there and you have to be careful. Smaller item sales should be done in a safe public area with a lot of people around and if the sale has to be entertained at home, be like Heather and make sure there is someone there with you. It is a great service and a bargain will always be found but pleeeeease be aware and careful.

    • Reply 2summers May 1, 2014 at 5:17 pm

      Agreed, John. Thanks for chiming in. It was a pleasure dealing with you.

  • Reply amelie88 May 2, 2014 at 5:48 am

    Haha we also had our own Craigslist adventure recently when we were trying to sell a desk and we had the same reservations about a stranger coming into our home. We got a couple of scam e-mails but we finally got one from a legit sounding person. When the woman came over, it turned out she was a graduate of my mom’s and sister’s alma mater and they all started chattering away reminiscing about college. We’ve tried selling our piano but so far no dice… but that is way harder to move than a desk and a chair! It is an awesome way to get rid of stuff you don’t want. Glad your experience went pretty smoothly!

  • Reply Sunshinebright May 3, 2014 at 6:04 pm

    So glad your experience turned out so well, Heather. Since I’m in South Florida, I used Craig’s list. Sold many items, including a Hyundai, a 2-seater glider loveseat that was on my patio, a Cardioglide exerciser, some jewelry, some tools, golf clubs, golf balls, and several other items. I had many others listed, but no takers for those. I did have one item that brought loads of scammer junk mail, so after that, in my descriptions, I added a request to include their phone number due to scamming on Craig’s list. Some people came to my house out of necessity due to the size of the item; others, I met at local big stores where there was loads of people. It’s always interesting to meet the buyers and talk about why they were purchasing the various items.

  • Reply Firefly - Jonker May 5, 2014 at 11:20 am

    Now this is an awesome way to do a sponsored post. Doesn’t feel like an advert.

    • Reply 2summers May 5, 2014 at 11:45 am

      Thanks so much, Jonker. Exactly what I was aiming for.

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