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How to find an online bargain in South Africa: Make deliberate spelling mistakes and search for ‘unwanted gifts’

Business Insider SA
 Jan 07, 2020, 07:44 AM
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  • Many people try to get rid of unwanted items (especially gifts) in January - often at half the retail price.
  • Deliberately making spelling mistakes when you search for an item online could help you unearth a bargain, says Gumtree's Clair Cobbledick.
  • But you need to make sure that you compare prices.
  • For more, go to

The start of a new year can be a harsh financial wake-up call for many families who splurged in December. But January is a great time to look for bargains, says Claire Cobbledick, Director-GM of Gumtree South Africa. 

“It’s our busiest time of year, with hundreds of thousands of South Africans selling unwanted Christmas gifts, clearing out their garages before the school term starts or boosting their income to compensate for over-indulging during the festive season," she says.

She says many items are being sold for 50-60% of the retail value. You just have to know where (and how) to look:

Search for the phrase “unwanted gifts” 

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According to Cobbledick, searching for unwanted gifts on classifieds sites delivers hundreds of results for brand-new, packaged items. "Perfume, jewelry, televisions, kitchenalia and even a car have popped up in the search results." 

Filter for negotiable sellers 

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You can also opt to only look at ads for sellers who are negotiable on price. “This means they are willing to bargain back and forth. Searching for older ads also means you are likely to meet someone who is very keen to sell quickly, because they haven’t been able to get rid of the item for a few weeks.” 

Bundle items 

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Often times classified users sell as a sideline and have several items of interest. Negotiate a discount by buying more than one item. 

Do price comparisons 

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Before making a purchase, make sure to compare the price of the item with similar ones online – both retail and secondhand. "Often times you might find something in a different province but with a discount courier, it’s still a great deal." 

Deliberately misspell what you are looking for 

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If a seller lists an item with incorrect spelling, it makes it harder for someone to find, and it can remain unsold for a while. "A prime example is Bentwood chairs, which are often misspelt as Brentwood chairs. By using the common misspelling you can easily find a bargain."

Compiled by Bombi Mavundza

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