Skip to content

Majority of Ontarians wary of shopping through online marketplaces

As the cost of living continues to rise, popularity with peer-to-peer marketplaces like Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, and Kijiji has risen too. But a new survey revealed 74% of Ontarians say they are uncomfortable when it comes to meeting up in-person to complete transactions or exchange goods.

In today's digital age, the allure of online peer-to-peer (P2P) marketplaces has skyrocketed, offering a convenient platform for Ontarians to buy and sell goods.

However, a recent survey sheds light on a growing unease among residents, highlighting significant concerns regarding transaction safety.

According to the Ontario Benchmark Report on Trust in Peer-to-Peer Marketplace Transactions, issued by goConfirm in collaboration with Angus Reid, a staggering 74% of Ontarians express discomfort with in-person meetups to complete transactions and exchange goods through popular platforms like Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, and Kijiji.

The report underscores a prevalent sentiment of apprehension fuelled by the proliferation of news reports detailing scams and frauds within local online marketplaces. As a result, 60% of Ontarians admit feeling uneasy about organizing face-to-face meetings to exchange purchased goods, citing heightened awareness of potential risks.

Women, in particular, appear more apprehensive, with 79% expressing discomfort compared to 67% of men. This gender discrepancy suggests a nuanced perspective on safety concerns within the P2P marketplace landscape.

Notably, the survey reveals a strong demand for enhanced security measures, with 78% of respondents identifying identity verification as a key solution to alleviate concerns. Amidst rising living costs driving an upsurge in second-hand economy participation, the need for trust and safety in marketplace interactions becomes increasingly paramount.

The report indicates that 31% of Ontarians have turned to P2P marketplaces as a response to escalating expenses, emphasizing the pivotal role these platforms play in navigating financial constraints.

While efforts to bolster transaction safety, such as the establishment of designated "buy and sell exchange zones" across Ontario, have been implemented, the survey underscores a pressing need for further intervention. 

As Ontario residents navigate the evolving landscape of online P2P shopping, prioritizing consumer safety remains paramount. Here are some tips to ensure a safe and smooth transaction:

  •  Consult the profile of the buyer/seller to see if they have an established profile. Use caution when dealing with newly created accounts.
  •  Check the buyer/seller's reviews or ratings to see if there are red flags.
  •  If the price of the item seems too good to be true, it probably is. Don't proceed with the sale.
  •  Meet during daylight hours if you're planning to meet in person. Any last-minute changes to the location should also be considered a red flag. We recommend you walk away from the exchange rather than go to a second location.
  •  Avoid vacant parking lots or properties when you meet with the other party.