The Fall of OLX Kenya



A while ago, news broke that OLX was shutting down its Kenya and Nigeria operations. This news was received with mixed reactions; there are those who have labelled the platform as a con-man den and thus were happy that it was finally shutting down and then there are those who used that platform to earn a living and were not so pleased with the news.

However, OLX explained that they were not shutting down the platform, but were making changes to how they run the said platform and this change involved closing down the Kenyan office and running things from South Africa.

It’s been a couple of days since this news broke and it seems like the platform is already making changes (15 Feb, 2018):

First on the kill-list, Verified car sales are out. Maybe due to the lack of an actual office in Kenya, there’s no one to verify the car sales:


This came too late i actually knew this was bound to happen some day wen i was on the lookout for an ipad air 2 which i ended up not buying wen this guy insisted i send him kshs 30k b4 delivering but i was against that idea so we reached an agreement of me spending him half the 30k he wanted then pay the remaining 30k on delivery since the ipad was 45k my friend this guy John Mwangi went MIA with my 15k and upto date the safcorn line is off since then i have never even visited the site olx itself its a lesson i will always have stuck in my head but decided to keep it low to avoid confrontation with dad since he was the one paying for the ipad


hahah :laughing::laughing::laughing: uliibiwa na ukakanyagia story… but OLX ni wezi tupu.


Classifieds is tricky business since you are not dealing with the site owners but third parties. I believe OLX has said over and over that you cannot send money, ensure that you transact in person most preferrably, and maybe involve a second person to back you up when sale is happening.

They need an Escrow service where commercial transactions won’t be in person, but with the closing of country offices this seems like just wishful thinking.


That was then actually its been a year and half if not two and it left me wiser today i can share coz am over it


@Pascal Pole sana. 15k is a lot of money to lose. Masoko was to have a P2P platform. Any update on that?


I’ve sold most of my phones on Olx. Luckily I’ve been very careful when it comes to this conmen. For me I believe they should also resort in introducing rate stars for sellers in the platform


There was a time they were calling sellers to give ideas on how to improve the platform. I told them that. They should introduce a rating and comment system. Also, they should introduce a way of vetting and verifying vendors.

So they decided to introduce OLX champ but only for cars. I’m sure if something is nice you’ll pay an extra amount to own it. So they ought to have opened OLX champ for other products too.

I have sold a few of my devices and I always made sure that I post the original packaging and receipt of the devices. You get all manner of calls and I know how to separate cons from genuine buyers.

Mtu anakuambia kuja kona flani ukikataa and tell them to meet in a safe place hata chai utanunua wanakataa. I remember selling a Galaxy tablet and that guy was like “Sijawahi pata mtu genuine OLX hivi. What you’ve posted ndiyo umeleta.”

Problem with OLX losing its mojo is due to the number of conmen and brokers that operate there. I remember checking out a nice LG TV. They had posted real photos from their shop.

Kuenda kufika kwa shop wakanionesha some Chinku TV branded LG. I told them but images posted and we even spoke on the phone you assured me ni hiyo. Wakaanza kujifanya ni huyu jamaa hapa (one of their guy) ndiyo alikua ame post wrong photos tulimkataza but haskii. Lakini nunua tu pia hii ni t.v :thinking::thinking::thinking:

I told the salesperson, you have lied na nimekuja hapa because you assured me chenye nimeona ndiyo nitapata. Na hivyo ndivyo nilijitoa.

I just check OLX skuizi before going window shopping and setting up my budget.


I have used and keep using OLX in the last few years as both a buyer and a seller.My experience on OLX as a buyer has been relatively Okay,As a seller its been a learning experience but generally Ok.First lesson,as a seller treat every buyer respectfully…always be the one to call the shots,the meeting venue,the pricing e.t.c…second,i suggest you as a seller always take payment via mpesa deposit,if the buyer refuses it dont sell your item…MPESA deposit eliminates the fake cash issue and provides you with a form of proof of the transaction since you delegate the cash checking to the mpesa agent.If you are meeting the buyer,propose meeting at Nation Centre,I&M preferably within the CBD area,if you can i suggest you get into a coffee shop and be ready to buy a drink or two and offer to do the same to the buyer if you can.This helps in reducing the chances of theft/mugging by the buyer and shows your seriousness as a seller.Lastly advice the buyer that they are buying the product as is esp if you dont have the ability to test the product during the meeting.Remember,As a seller, the buyer always has a choice till the end of the transaction.I also advice being very open and honest about the product with the buyer and offering a bit of consultation after the whole process is done.As a buyer,go with gut feeling,na usiende kununua kitu from outside the CBD if you dont know the place,be vigilant…if your gut feeling tells you something about the seller or the product,its probably right…dont buy,just walk away.You have every right to…As a buyer offer a number of payment options but try avoid cash payment if the value of the item is more than 5k,instead ask if you can MPESA the amount to the seller on the spot.


OLX business model is broken,they first of all need to monetize the sellers,they can do a form of subscription for individuals,businesses e.t.c.they can do verification via phone number and social media and a proper ratings system.I recommend individual sellers can be charged one time daily fees of up to Ksh100,a Monthly subscription of Ksh 1,000 and focus on the sellers,they can also introduce escrowing and verification for buyers…Basically they need to move from the current business model into a more freemium model and try to convert users of the platform into actual account holders so that anyone who is a buyer can easily be a seller and vice versa…


Or do what is doing. You have to pay some amount for you to list a product. They can set this cost relative to the cost of what the device is being advertised for. I suggest a fee of 0.0025% per item that is listed on the website with a minimum charge of 50bob.

That will help keep spammers off the website. For bulk sellers a monthly subscription can be introduced.


They should also introduce a system to know if a person makes a sale or not before pulling the ad. The escrow system would help a lot with that.

As far as charges are concerned, sellers should be charged based on sales, not merely owning an account. My reasoning is that doing business online should be much cheaper than in a physical shop. It therefore doesn’t make much sense to pay for the virtual store even when your sales in said store don’t justify the requested subscription fee.

As far as security is concerned, OLX is doing a so so job educating people about how to carry out their sales/purchases. However, they should do more to reduce the number of conmen and people selling fake items. This tarnishes their reputation.

My experience with the platform has been quite good because I have sold and bought many items and few of my transactions went wrong. Usually it’s because of a mistake on my part. My advice on purchases and sales on the site in addition to what has been already said; always stake out any unfamiliar place your business may take you and never go alone. Also, don’t deliver any items if the buyer is unwilling to come to you. This will increase your overheads when buyers change their minds after you have already incurred transport costs (this has happened to me a few times).


There was a time we agreed to meet with a buyer. Mimi huyooo na burungo nimeenda nayo tao until the moment nilisema nimefika location waiting for him juu alisema ako around nikifika nimstue akuje. The guy akaenda mteja. Na hiyo number ilizimanga ikizimanga hivyo. I guess the guy was a thug/con or something else and given my hard stance on handling the sale akaamua kuni punish.

A monthly subscription should be introduced for bulk sellers. Let’s say you sale 1000+ items per month on the platform. Paying fees for each sale you make can be higher when you factor the number of sales. So monthly subscription should help lower the fees incurred in sales.

Also, my idea of extending OLX champ to all products alongside Escrow can really help.


OLX app gets an update and i’m loving the new interface


Same with the mobile site


The entire site has been changed.

The change is for all countries, not just Kenya.



They changed a few details as well. Looks like you can’t get a seller’s details now without login in as well. You can’t also view how many times an ad has been viewed.

btw I’ve been thinking if there could be a trade section on the forum. Restrict it to members only to cut down spam and also encourage stickiness. Thoughts?


This is possible, we already have a marketplace category. Just changing permissions and we are good to go.