NSW Australian Consumer Law - Gumtree Seller Refuses to Refund Deposit

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21 July 2014
I put down a $200 deposit (by EFT) to hold some car panels for me from a Gumtree seller (we are both in NSW). He then sold them to someone else and when I complained, he said I was rude and refused to pay the money back to my account, and told me I would have to come and pick the money up (3-4 hours drive). He also told me that it was a business, but when I left a negative comment about the business online, he then said it was a private sale, and because of my negative comment I would never get my money back.
I have the entire discussion back and forward by text. I just want my money back. Is there a gumtree refund policy under Australian Consumer Law?


Hi Veejay,

Yes unfortunately, since you didn't pay with paypal you are unable to take advantage of their buyer protection policies. You may be able to talk to your bank to see whether they will do anything on your behalf.

I would report this to the Gumtree Customer Safety Team, who may be able to give you advice on how to proceed. Whist their Terms of Use make it clear that they will not be held responsible for any disputes in transactions between sellers and buyers, sometimes they will take internal action to protect Gumtree customers. Gumtree state that they work closely with the police in order to prevent fraud and crime and will share information with police if necessary and generate a crime reference number on your behalf. It is more than likely that the seller is in breach of the Terms of Use of Gumtree by doing something illegal (withholding your deposit).

If that fails, I would send a letter of demand to the seller pointing out that he breached the contract of sale by selling the goods you had agreed to purchase and which were secured by a deposit and that you will institute legal action and will be contacting the police and fraud teams should he fail to return the money via the means by which he received it. You may also be able to bargain for the return of your deposit if you remove the negative feedback?

Apart from this, there is really nothing you can do short of filing a small claim, however the expense of this would exceed the value of the deposit.

Best of luck!

John R

Well-Known Member
14 April 2014
Hi @VeeJay,
How did you go with getting your refund back?