Confessions of a Dubizzle and Facebook seller – part 1

Has reclaiming the money you've spent in the UAE ever been easier?
The Ikea catalogue 2014 - UAE. Ikea items are popular among second-hand buyers in the UAE. Courtesy Ikea
The Ikea catalogue 2014 - UAE. Ikea items are popular among second-hand buyers in the UAE. Courtesy Ikea

It took a mere five minutes for my mobile phone to start buzzing. Is the LG television still available? Well, yes, of course, the advert has only just gone live, and yes, I am willing to wait for you to drive all the way from Al Ain to Abu Dhabi to have a look at it.

Seven hundred dirhams later, plus a further Dh30 for a yet-to-be opened iron my four-year-old daughter won at Abu Dhabi Electronics Shopper 2014, it felt like the easiest cash I had ever made - especially as the buyer didn’t even want help lifting the 42-inch set to his car parked out on the road.

There were no plans to sell the TV, having only bought it a year previously, but then I looked on Dubizzle, the free classifieds website where you can find anything from a Dh10 million Dubai villa to a collection of Buffy the Vampire Slayer magazines being given away for free. The listed prices for electronic goods were particularly high, albeit some were set at ludicrous amounts which explained why they remained unsold months after being uploaded to the website.

I used eBay in the United Kingdom to sell a variety of belongings prior to arriving in the UAE, but was always frustrated when part of the money from a sale was then gobbled up in transaction fees, plus there was the hassle of wrapping and postage, and the myriad of challenges involved in running a PayPal account - another source which was quite happy to take a further chunk of the money I had made.

Dubizzle, meanwhile, is a seller’s dream - no fees, no trips to the Post Office where you end up paying an excruciating amount for a First Class stamp, and you get cash in hand.

So the TV posting was followed by a variety of baby items, and then we turned to the Ikea furniture we bought on arrival in the country but took a swift distaste to. Admittedly, there isn’t a wide choice when it comes to furniture in the UAE, yet it seems everyone wants a piece of the second-hand Ikea action and are willing to pay about 75 per cent of the original in-store price.

An Ikea dining table and chairs made a swift exit after an American chap responded. He politely offered Dh800 “otherwise my wife will be mad”. I told him no, the price is Dh950 and that was that. Sold.

I spread my selling net further and joined the UAE Swap and Shop on Facebook which has more than 6,000 members. The Fisher Price Rainforest Jumperoo (baby bouncer) shipped in from sold instantly for Dh400. We paid about Dh500 for it - including shipping. How high will people go?

From all this selling two things have become apparent: firstly, that despite the UAE’s tax-free status and relatively high earnings for expats, people are willing to buy second-hand items for just a fractional saving. And secondly, I’m getting a buzz from recouping so easily some of the thousands of dirhams I’ve spent here.

Published: May 7, 2014 04:00 AM


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