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  1. #1
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    What's the Deal With Craigslist Buyers?

    I'm selling things on Craigslist.

    I get inquiries such as, "would you take "X" for it?" or, "I'm interested in seeing it.", and various other questions that seem to mean the potential buyer has enough interest to pursue this further.

    I reply promptly, "Yes; I'll take "X." and yet I never hear back from these people.

    It's happened often enough that I suspected my e-mails weren't being received. I tested the ads by replying to my own ads, and they worked fine.

    So why do these people show such interest then-nothing? Are they just bored and fiddling with their phones at Starbucks?

  2. #2
    Boobies!
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    A.D.D.?

    Craigslist only works with people of goodwill--and I think they are scarce on the ground. When I respond to ads, I make sure that they know I'm serious so I don't waste people's time.
    "A man is judged by the company he keeps, and a company is judged by the men it keeps, and the people of Democratic nations are judged by the type and caliber of officers they elect."
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  3. #3
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    There's no cost or obligation when you throw out a low-ball offer. Ebay at least commits the bidder to follow through.
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  4. #4
    tlg
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    Have you never sold on craigslist before? That's the norm.
    There's many reasons as posted above. Also there's people (Nigeria) who are also fishing for personal info ie: email address, phone number, etc. I never give that info out until after a few emails back and forth to get a feel if they're real.

    I just sold an 11yro car on craigslist. I'd say 1 in 20 responses were real. Patience is a virtue.
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  5. #5
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    Craigslist: “A more wretched hive of scum and villainy you will never find.”

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  6. #6
    half-fast
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    That's the way it goes.

    The few things I've bought from CL were ok, and the people were generally ok.

    The few things I've sold on CL ranged from a hassle to an outright fiasco.

  7. #7
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    “Bicycling has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world.” - Susan B. Anthony 1896
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  8. #8
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    I've had those experiences too. It's more than patience, it's the wasting of my time and energy that bothers me - i.e. staying home on a weekend to meet with 6'2" guys who think my wife's size XS bike will fit them.

    The last two things I sold (car wheels and tires) went to the first people who actually showed up at my house and asked, "will you take $X". "Yes I will, thanks for getting them out of here".

  9. #9
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    I've sold couple things on CL. Even when you get a response, it may not be anything useful. I listed an item as "cash & carry" which means cash only and the buyer picks it up at my location. The pathetic reply I've seen was "Would you sell it for $## ($20 less than listed) and bring it to me?" on the same day when another potential buyer was coming over to take a closer look which he bought on the spot.

  10. #10
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    Sold 2 cars, 1 boat, and lately old kitchen stove / refrig on CL. For me it's either CL for cheap, or throw it out. A lot ends up getting tossed.
    Number one, check your spam file, I had many ad responses end up there which were undiscovered for awhile.
    I also read all the responses, then pick the ones that look most serious. Usually if someone offers a phone number, I call it.
    In general, for everyone you give directions to, 1 out of 3 or less actually show up.
    If they show up in an appropriate vehicle, and offer cash, it usually a done deal.
    I always insist on a cash down payment to hold it, if they need to come back later to pick it up. Even if it's only $50.
    Works for me. OTOH, if it's easy to ship, Ebay. I do a lot of bike parts and vintage audio stuff there.

  11. #11
    Seat's not level
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    It's free... and worth every penny
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  12. #12
    Darling of The Lounge
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    I sold my old dining room set on CL with no drama. I used the "Free Stuff" section to give away a serviceable lawn mower that leaked oil and a ceiling fan removed during home renovation.

    It saved me a trip to the local dump.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter P. View Post
    I reply promptly, "Yes; I'll take "X." and yet I never hear back from these people.
    you have to be a little smarter than the process. first, do not reply in any way to spam or a lowball offer that offends. use your ad to filter the market as you desire. be specific. if time to correspond is essential to you, answer all relevant questions you might receive when initially writing the ad. if you have a price floor for the item, put it in the ad. if you get a lower email offer that you might accept, reply, "i might accept that offer if you made it in person."

    craigs works great for me. i've sold dozens of bikes and hundreds of bike parts. and i absolutely love it for that. but i live in a strong cycling community.

    if you live in an uncivilized region of the country, few of these tips may work.
    Yossarian: don't worry. nothing's going to happen to you that won't happen to the rest of us.

  14. #14
    Russian Troll Farmer
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    I used to have a really heavy-duty 36' aluminum ladder that was not only larger than I needed, but a real pain to use, so I posted it on CL for TRADE with a shorter aluminum ladder, figuring that there was likely some contractor in town with a ladder too short. Took 5 months, but I finally got a nice 28' ladder and $50 in my pocket, but the dumb-ass questions I got! I'd bet that only 5% were 'serious' responses.
    "L'enfer, c'est les autres"

  15. #15
    hfc
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    Some of those might be phishing for email addresses or cell phones #’s. Really though, I think a lot of your experience is just typical interaction among a significant portion of the American populace now, meaning short attention span and unable to expend effort to set a goal and follow through.

    I’ve sold a few things via CL and bought many bikes and parts and once face to face human contact is made, the interactions have been mostly really good with really nice people. I’ve even sold a car via CL. I put something in my ads asking for a particular phrase in the subject line which helps filter out bots and the brain dead.

  16. #16
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    Thanks for all the replies.

    For those buyers that I speak to on the phone and meet in person, they all have been pleasant encounters.

    Yeah; I've had low ballers and those that can't read "Price is Firm". I also discredit those that fail to use reasonable grammar and punctuation-a good clue of who I'm dealing with.

    No Time Toulouse: My experience is similar and it's good to know I'm not alone for holding out for so long i.e., patience. The right buyer usually comes along if I just wait.

    hfc: It never occurred to me that phishing would happen as part of craigslisting so I'm glad you pointed that out. And you also confirmed my suspicions that today's society is lacking in certain values. Please explain better to me the bit about "phrases in the subject line". I'm wondering if that will cut down on some of this. I didn't get the impression that respondents were bots or phishers; I mostly concluded they were as your first paragraph.

  17. #17
    hfc
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter P. View Post
    Thanks for all the replies.

    For those buyers that I speak to on the phone and meet in person, they all have been pleasant encounters.

    Please explain better to me the bit about "phrases in the subject line". I'm wondering if that will cut down on some of this. I didn't get the impression that respondents were bots or phishers; I mostly concluded they were as your first paragraph.
    Anything that will make person type something in the subject line rather than what CL automatically puts there. I sold a Ridley Crossbow and asked for “Cyclocross bike” in the subject line. It will filter out bots and also show if a person read your ad with interest.

  18. #18
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    Buy on CL, sell on eBay. IMO

  19. #19
    Russian Troll Farmer
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    And posters, whatever you are selling, please, PLEASE do not use the phrase "I know what I have"; you will either sound like a doosh, or a clueless moron (especially if it's obvious that you don't really know...), plus there are sites online that will mock your ad for this faux pa, as well as others (you should check out Jalopnik for some of these...).
    "L'enfer, c'est les autres"

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter P. View Post
    I'm selling things on Craigslist.

    I get inquiries such as, "would you take "X" for it?" or, "I'm interested in seeing it.", and various other questions that seem to mean the potential buyer has enough interest to pursue this further.

    I reply promptly, "Yes; I'll take "X." and yet I never hear back from these people.

    It's happened often enough that I suspected my e-mails weren't being received. I tested the ads by replying to my own ads, and they worked fine.

    So why do these people show such interest then-nothing? Are they just bored and fiddling with their phones at Starbucks?
    I've had sellers call and say they'll meet me in 30 minutes....they're on their way...and they never show. I've had people try to low-ball the price, negotiate for a trade for crap I dont' want or need, or try to educate me on how much I should be selling stuff for.
    I rarely use craigslist anymore...
    Not banned yet.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by hfc View Post
    Some of those might be phishing for email addresses or cell phones #’s. Really though, I think a lot of your experience is just typical interaction among a significant portion of the American populace now, meaning short attention span and unable to expend effort to set a goal and follow through.

    I’ve sold a few things via CL and bought many bikes and parts and once face to face human contact is made, the interactions have been mostly really good with really nice people. I’ve even sold a car via CL. I put something in my ads asking for a particular phrase in the subject line which helps filter out bots and the brain dead.
    i sold my wife's 98 saturn sedan on CL about 7 years ago. posted it for $600 and the phone didn't ring at all. so, for fun, I raised it to $1200 and it instantly rang off the hook. We sold it for $1100...or $400 less than she paid for it 6 years previously.
    Not banned yet.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by bahueh View Post
    i sold my wife's 98 saturn sedan on CL about 7 years ago. posted it for $600 and the phone didn't ring at all. so, for fun, I raised it to $1200 and it instantly rang off the hook. We sold it for $1100...or $400 less than she paid for it 6 years previously.
    This kind of unconventional thinking is what I believe is going on with my sale.

    I priced my item at what they typically sell for in the used market, and have a willingness to offer 10% more off if the buyer asks if price is negotiable.

    I think two things are going on in buyers' minds: 1. If buyers can't get the item at the MUCH lower price THEY want, they feel as if they have lost or are losing a game. In order to not lose, they stop playing. 2. When they ask if the price is negotiable and I offer an additional 10% which now puts the sale price below what is typical for this item, they scoff because 10% doesn't look like a big number to them.

    I'm considering raising the sale price and offering a larger negotiable price, ultimately ending at my current sale price. I hate tricking people but it sure seems like that's what needs to be done.

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