Thursday, November 18, 2010

Craigslist Pet Peeves

As you have probably noticed, I'm into resale. Garage sales, consignment shops, craigslist - if it isn't perishable, I look there first. Lately, I've been spending some time on craigslist (kids don't mind used toys for Christmas!) and a list of pet peeves has been forming in my head. I have bought and sold many items using this website for the past 6 years, and in my humble opinion, there are some unwritten rules that get broken quite frequently and drive some people (me) crazy.

(Disclaimer: If any of you have broken any of these rules, well that's ok, because I love you. You know how things are more irritating in mass quantities of anonymous online contact?)

Unwritten rules for the seller:

1. Once you post something for sale, check and respond to your email at least daily. If you are not an email user, include a phone number. If someone emails you to inquire about an item and it is sold, please respond and let them know. Or better yet...

2. Once the item sells, delete the ad. Soon. There is SO much stuff posted on craigslist, and a large percentage of it is no longer available. The searching process would be so much easier if ads were deleted. Also, don't update your ad to say "SOLD." Just delete it.

3. Be reasonable about the price. Unless the item is a hot ticket, most used items are worth about 25-40% of what you paid new. Even if it was barely used. If you have to track it down, drive all over creation, and pay cash, you aren't going to pay 90% of the new cost.

4. Include a picture. Or don't, but just understand that you are more likely to sell the item if you do. Lately I've been searching for a treadmill, and if there are 50 treadmills listed, why would I inquire about the one that only says, "Used treadmill in excellent condition. $300"? I've used this to my advantage, though, too. When we were looking for a playset, we couldn't get to them quickly enough before they were gone. So we called a guy who didn't put a picture up, knowing that he wasn't getting as many inquiries, and he was close enough that we were willing to drive over and look at it. I'm certain that's why we got that one before it was gone.

5. Don't bother with items under $5. This is just a personal opinion, but I am not willing to drive 20 minutes away to buy a DVD for $2. That's a good price, but I would waste more time and gas money than it was worth. Personally I think you should put those items in a garage sale, donate them, sell them to consignment, or (shhh...) pitch them. But who knows. People still post them, so maybe they are selling.

6. Brand matters. We once posted a Pottery Barn area rug - we had paid $100 at the PB outlet and we asked $40. I had 10 emails by the next morning and people were calling me begging me to let them buy it even though they weren't first to respond. I bet I could've sold it for $100.

7. If you are using craigslist to make a profit by purchasing strollers at 75% off at Target and then selling them for only 50% off on craigslist, please remove the Target clearance tag so that the buyer doesn't feel like they've been taken to the cleaners. No reason.

Unwritten rules for the buyer:

1. In your initial email-of-interest, please say something more than "Is the item still available?". Make an offer, let them know when you can come and see it, or ask questions that you have. Let's speed up the process, shall we?

2. If you say you will come to look at or purchase an item, please show up within a reasonable amount of time or call to say that you will not. There's nothing more frustrating than thinking you are going to sell an item and arranging a meeting to stand there and wait for nothing.

3. Bring cash. It's pretty widely understood that craigslist is a cash-only venture. By asking if you can pay with a check, you are putting the seller in an awkward position to say no.

4. Make an offer. You might be surprised how low someone is willing to sell something for if it's been sitting in their basement and they haven't gotten any bites yet. They can always refuse and you can always say, "let me know if you change your mind." There have been a couple of times that I have wished that I would have accepted early offers when I didn't get any others, and if someone else would've given another low offer, I would take it.

Okay, I feel better! Happy resale hunting!

1 comment:

Pam said...

Great stuff Emily! I've had some seriously funny experiences (and some annoying ones) on Craigslist. I sold a $40 brand-new, really nice pool for $10 last summer and someone asked me if I'd throw in an electric pump as well. Err, no I won't. The cheek!