Craigslist: Great Way to Sell your Crap or Total Pain in the Ass?

 

Craigslist: Frugal Way to Sell Your Crap?A few weeks ago, I wrote about how we did the unthinkable and bought new furniture from the store.  You see, my furniture was completely uncomfortable.  Since we were trying to avoid moving, we decided that buying new furniture might keep us in our current house long enough for us to pay off the mortgage in 35-months.  Don’t get me wrong – my old furniture was really nice.  It was just way too oversized, deep, and completely impractical for those who are not at least 7-feet tall.  Since my furniture was obviously made for giants, we decided to look for new furniture for us little folk.

We found average looking but comfortable furniture at the store and bought it.  Since we don’t need two sets of great room furniture, we decided to sell our old set on Craigslist to offset the cost of our new digs.

I honestly haven’t sold that much on Craigslist before.  I mostly have just bought things….baby clothes, kid clothes, my beautiful office furniture, tables, chairs, and almost anything else that you can think of.  I put together my Craigslist ad asking $400 for my couch, love seat, and two end tables with high hopes I instantly starting getting texts.

“Do you still have the furniture?”

“Yes.”

“Do you still have the couch and love seat?”

“Yes.”

“Do you still have the couch and love seat?”

“Yes.”

After each of these inquiries, nothing but silence followed.  Were they just being nosy?  Since they took the time to text and ask if I still had it, does that mean that they were interested?  Did my reply of “Yes” somehow make them change their mind?  After getting several more repeats of the same question, I started wondering what the hell was going on with people.

That’s when I received my first email inquiry from an interested customer.  What follows is the actual email that I received after confirming that I did indeed still have the furniture:

“Hello, Thanks for the swift response,as the item is still available, I will send a check to cover the cost of my purchase as am completely satisfied with the “ad”.I will need the details of whom & where to mail the Check..It will be delivered by Courier Service…
1.Name to be on the check 2.Home address ( No P.O Box ) 3.Mobile #
Kindly delete the advert on Craig’s List as am totally committed to buying from you and My mover will be coming over for the pick up after you must have received and cashed the check, Also I would have love to call but I’m a deaf, So please send me an email only.
Regards
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

 

So, no.  Obviously I wasn’t going to get involved in whatever he was trying to do here.  I moved on and got another email within a few hours.  Again, I swear I am not making this up.

“Would you trade 13 unopened 700 count boxes of baseball cards for couch set. The cards inside each box worth around $300 that’s ($3900) roughly. Great to save to pass on to children or sell. Or great to give as Christmas gifts…thanks…”Sent from my Verizon Wireless Phone

 

BASEBALL CARDS?!?!??!?!  For realz?  Did anything I said in my Craigslist ad imply that I might be interested in baseball cards?  I guess it was worth a shot, right?  I guess all I could say was no….and I did.

Then, I began receiving a series of very detailed emails from a seemingly serious Craigslist shopper.  He asked for various measurements, additional pictures, and even what my favorite and least favorite things about the couch and love seat were.  We negotiated the price down to $350 and made arrangements for him to come pick it up the next day.  The next day rolled around and he emailed a few more times to confirm my address and a time for pickup.

 

Then nothing.  He didn’t show.  I disappointed because I thought that this anonymous person was really going to show up.  Luckily, someone else soon became interested and actually followed through.  I sold my furniture for $340, and – since my new stuff won’t come for a few weeks - we are sans couch right now.  We moved this little futon in from our kid’s play room and it looks pretty ridiculous in our giant great room.  Luckily, it’s only for a few more weeks.

 

Have you ever sold anything on Craigslist before?  Have you ever bought anything off Craigslist?  What was your experience?  Share your story by commenting below.

 

 

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About Holly

Holly Johnson is a wife, mother of two, and frugal lifestyle enthusiast. She is the co-founder of Club Thrifty and a staff writer at Get Rich Slowly, Frugal Travel Guy, and U.S. News and World Report's "My Money Blog." Holly has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Kiplinger Personal Finance, Fox Business, and Daily Finance.

Comments

  1. I don’t use Craigslist and your experience doesn’t make me want to haha. I know some people who have gotten TONS of stuff for very cheap on Craigslist, as well as a couple others who have found a roommate by posting an ad as well as selling their car. Personally I don’t have much motivation to go on it.
    DC @ Young Adult Money recently posted..Giveaway: iPad Mini + iPad Mini Case + $100My Profile

  2. That doesn’t sound like an experience I’d want to have. I have bought and sold tons of stuff on the Australian version – Gumtree, and similarly on eBay. I have had nothing but positive experiences. For instance, I’m typing this from a computer sitting in an awesome computer desk I got for $20. It would sell in a shop for more than $100.
    James @ Free in Ten Years recently posted..Monthly report: October 2012My Profile

  3. We’ve sold quite a bit on Craigslist actually. I can’t put a dollar figure on it off the top of my head, but it has been a nice little chunk of money over time. The only thing we’ve bought was a recliner a few years ago that my wife wanted. It was basically new and a fraction of the cost of one at the store. We’ve had only a few small issues with it, certainly no one trying to trade us baseball cards for the item we’re selling. :) We’ve had a couple of money laundering emails like you got, but after the first one we knew to expect crap like that.

    All that said, we’ve met some really “interesting” people
    selling the things we’ve had. My Mom always gets nervous that we’re going to fall prey to some Craigslist killer. Lol.
    John S @ Frugal Rules recently posted..A Smart Way to Play Interior Designer When MovingMy Profile

    • I always make sure that I am not alone and I dont want any weirdos to see my kids! We have sold a few other things and just moved them into the garage for people to look and buy.

  4. I had a friend who was selling a huge aquarium on Craigslist and got a bunch of ridiculous offers as well. Another friend found this so amusing that he kept setting up fake e-mail addresses to offer increasingly more bizarre offers. He finally came clean after two weeks of ranting and raving by selling friend.

    I personally have only sold a few baby items and never had a problem. I price them to move quick, and they did.
    Mandy @MoneyMasterMom recently posted..The Big CookMy Profile

  5. Yeah, Craigslist is a PITA. We use it as little as possible, and always make sure to put what town we are in, and that they have to come there for pick-up. It saves some of the hassle of people who live an hour away contacting us about it (that is, if they read…)
    Mrs. Pop @ Planting Our Pennies recently posted..IRS Double Standard – How Much Is Hair Worth?My Profile

  6. I have never done Craigslist, I’ve always been too afraid to let random strangers come to my house. Although you can get some great stuff for free. A few weeks ago a local radio station went through some stuff that was being given away for free: A hot tub, kayak, and some other great stuff. Still it wasn’t enough to persuade me. And your post has just confirmed my feelings. Thank you.
    justin@thefrugalpath recently posted..Your Small Business Needs an Emergency Fund TooMy Profile

  7. I’m glad I’m not the only one who has this type of experience… Selling crap on Craiglist can bring out some interesting contacts. I usually end up selling everything for about what I want, but sometimes it takes a little more work than desired.

    I guess I could have a garage sale, but then I have to set everything up.. I’ll still stick with Craigslist.
    Jason Clayton | frugal habits recently posted..What’s with all the Closing Costs and Fees when getting a MortgageMy Profile

  8. I have sold a lot of stuff and generally had a good experience, except when people don’t show on time, or at all. I have received a lot of those scammy emails too, especially when selling vehicles. My “buyers” were expats living in Africa so they would send a mover too… I wonder if some people fall for them!
    Pauline recently posted..Caring for your eyes on holiday: 5 tips from a proMy Profile

  9. I have sold a bunch of my old things on craigslist and I have bought several things on craigslist. It’s a little bit of a hassle because of some of the nonsense. I don’t do email on Craigslist because of what you got as an email. I have also bought my fair share of things, everything from a car to a kindle.

  10. I’ve had good and bad experiences with CL – more good but you just need to know what to look out for. I have surprisingly had really good luck at buying concert tickets on CL, although I do know people who have been scammed this way. I also sold my car using CL and that worked out well.

    However, I would never buy furniture, clothing or anything fabric off of CL or used in general because of the whole bed bug scare.
    leslie recently posted..Dealing With Money & Family Guilt: It Never EndsMy Profile

  11. I have been fortunate because I have bought and sold on Craigslist before and dealt with pleasant and sane people during both transactions, painless and quick. My mother, however, tried to sell her dirtbike last year and got jerked around quite a bit with ridiculous responses if I recall.
    Jennifer Lynn @ Broke-Ass Mommy recently posted..Is Your Significant Other A Spender Or A Saver?My Profile

  12. haha that’s kind of funny, Craigslist isn’t that popular here (we have kijiji which is equivalent) but I’ve only ever had positive experience both buying and selling, hope you nail down a buyer soon!
    Catherine recently posted..My Friend Won The LotteryMy Profile

  13. I adore craigslist.

    Craigslist has been the source of my best (and okay, worst) roommates, almost every apartment I’ve lived in, it has been the offloading point for furniture and appliances, my yard-sale pre-screening tool, repository of wacky holiday decorations and useful moving supplies (and labour!), as well as how I found every job I’ve ever had. I’ve bartered for services and items (If you translate my resume, I’ll make you a quiche) and adopted two beautiful felines from people who, for various reasons, could not keep them. And once, when my bike was stolen, I put up an ad lamenting my state and asking if someone had one to sell cheaply. Not one, but TWO people emailed offering bicycles for free. I freaking love Craigslist.

    Sure, you get the occasional nut-job or sketchy money-laundering schemes (especially when looking for roommates!) but, hey – it’s a free service! The value far outweighs the cost in my experience. I have found, though, as some commenters have mentioned, that it varies hugely by location.

    My town is, I think, fairly divided on language lines. Craiglist is used by mostly anglophones, and Kijiji is mostly populated with francophones. Both communities are pretty hopping.

  14. We’ve had no problems with selling on craigslist. We sold a train table for $75, guitar for $200, amp for $250, little tykes kitchen set (before I knew I was having a girl…doh!) for $40, firetruck for $65, a tv for $900, and more! Jeff is hilarious…he actually keeps a pocket knife in his pocket when meeting CL people…”just in case” and we never let anyone see our kids. Thankfully, we’ve never had any issues, but we are super cautious and don’t even respond if the email sounds shady in any way. Too many weirdos out there!
    Michelle recently posted..The Cost of a Car Accident: How Safe Driving Leads to Saving MoneyMy Profile

  15. I haven’t done anything with Craig’s list other than listing our rental on there. I probably would if we had some furniture to sale. It isn’t as popular in the rural area where we live. I like ebay for the anonymous aspect of it, even though packaging things for shipping is sort of a pain. Sadly, my husband would have probably taken the baseball cards. He is always convinced that those and comic books are going to be worth a mint someday.
    Kim@Eyesonthedollar recently posted..How To Have a Cheap European HolidayMy Profile

  16. Wow! I wonder how some of these scams work….they must be scams, but I don’t get their end game. I haven’t sold on Craigslist, but one friend recently sold a car(!) and another a dryer.

    Those are bizarre stories.
    AverageJoe recently posted..How Much Did This Election Really Matter?My Profile

  17. Haha I’m sorry. I’m trying so hard not to laugh but those emails are so bad!
    Michelle recently posted..iPad Mini and $100 Cash GIVEAWAY!My Profile

  18. We’ve never purchased anything from Craigslist, but we did sell a ton of baby items once our little boy outgrew them. I had a lot of those strange emails as well, but its pretty easy to just press the “delete” button on them.
    Justin @ The Family Finances recently posted..Laying Your Foundation to Buying the Right House CorrectlyMy Profile

  19. LOL, those emails are funny :) Baseball cards? Ha, ha, ha….

    We’ve had some weirdos contact us when we have posted items on Craigslist. Unfortunately, I think it comes with the territory.
    Mackenzie recently posted..When It’s Not Just ForgetfulnessMy Profile

  20. Tackling Our Debt says:

    From what I’ve seen your experience is quite typical, at least in our city as well. So many people send stupid messages to ads on both craigslist and kijiji just for the heck of it. I wish they had to pay a fee to send replies so that maybe they wouldn’t send crappy messages.

    Last year at this time I used kijiji to advertise an electronic keyboard for sale and a huge home gym. The replies were so stupid. I eventually deleted the keyboard and sold it on eBay. For the gym I finally had a nice reply but was so paranoid by then. The buyer left her phone number so I asked my husband to call her back. She turned out to be the nicest lady. When her and her husband came to pick up the gym she asked me if I was scared to sell it online and I said yes, were you scared to come here and she said yes. Weird, eh? Fortunately it worked out quite well.
    Tackling Our Debt recently posted..Try These Easy and Delicious Classic Cakes – Grab Free eCookbookMy Profile

    • Yeah, it is a little awkward buying and selling. You never know what you are going to walk into or who is going to show up at your house!

  21. Those are great emails – what the heck are people thinking? I just donate things when I want to get rid of them. I’ve never used Craigslist at all.
    cat recently posted..Tips for Cutting Back on Personal Spending Without Too Much SacrificingMy Profile

  22. After having the whole range of wacky experiences, I now just give things away on CL or the recycling sites. Enjoyed providing a family who really needed it a complete double bed set; did not enjoy having to drive 35 miles round-trip to take an item to a person who would never pick it up or even answer the door. Upon retirement, sold my 4-wheel drive SUV on e-Bay and it went to St. Petersburg, Russia! That makes a good story.
    Gregg Rice recently posted..Count on the ImpossibleMy Profile

  23. You have to include a line in your add saying: “If you are reading this, all of the furniture is STILL AVAILABLE, otherwise I will take down the ad or modify it”

    I do this every time and don’t get any of those annoying questions…
    Veronica @ Pelican on Money recently posted..Why Being Jewish PaysMy Profile

  24. We have bought a lot of our furniture off craigslist and sold some things for the first time for our recent move. Yeah, you get some spam but it’s easy to spot. Sometimes people are flaky. But overall I think it’s a great deal for both the buyer and seller.

    The only hiccup I ever had buying was that one furniture seller wouldn’t negotiate to our desired (market-researched) price so we left without buying – that was hard. I hate negotiating so I put “price is firm” in my ads when we sold our appliances.
    Emily @ evolvingPF recently posted..The Cost of an In-Town MoveMy Profile

  25. HAHAHAHAHA!!! That is hilarious… I can’t believe you were offered baseball cards!! Glad you finally shifted it, but I stay away from all of that. I charity shop things and don’t waste the time
    Savvy Scot recently posted..How Do You Protect Your Assets?My Profile

  26. I say it’s both. A great way to sell crap but also a big pain in the ass. But I still do it!
    Mo’ Money Mo’ Houses recently posted..Happy Humpday and an iPad Mini Giveaway!My Profile

  27. I’ve never used Craigslist but have searched it before. I have used Kijji in Canada both buying and selling and would do it again and again. I’ve never really had any problems but the one that stands out is people that say yes and never show up. We’ve saved lots of money and made money so yes I’d keep on doing it . Better to make money on crap you won’t use and to save money on someone else’s crap you will use. Mr.CBB
    Canadianbudgetbinder recently posted..Turning Leaves Into Compost- Where There’s Muck There’s BrassMy Profile

  28. I have never sold anything on Craigslist but I am not against it all. My biggest issue is some stranger knowing my home address! Such a girl, I know. I would much rather meet in a Target parking lot for the exchange, however I am sure that might sound a little off to the other party.
    Blair@LifeDollarsandSense recently posted..Key to Avoiding the Holiday PinchMy Profile

  29. I have never used craigslist as I have heard so many horror stories about it. I find that E-Bay is more than adequate for what I want to do.
    Glen @ Monster Piggy Bank recently posted..Buying Land and Building a House – Part 1My Profile

  30. Both, I’d say. But if there were a paid service, would you use that instead? It’s hard to complain when you’re using a free service that’s easy and convenient.
    Kathleen, Frugal Portland recently posted..My personal philosopy at age 31My Profile

  31. I’ve been trying to sell a lot of stuff on CL lately. I’ve received that first email you got about 4 times….like word for word. Lately I’ve started listing my stuff on ebay/Amazon since it’s less scammy.

  32. It took me a full three weeks to sell my couch on Craigslist. It definitely requires patience. Like you, I receive many… many… many… emails asking if the couch was still available. Only one person emailed with a phone number and he ended up buying it!
    CF recently posted..Considering a short term loanMy Profile

  33. The lower the priced item, the more PITA!

    I sold 7 cars on CL before, and bought 8. Thank goodness for its free service!
    Financial Samurai recently posted..When Is The Best Time Of The Month Or Year To Refinance A Mortgage?My Profile

  34. Audrey Booth says:

    I have tried all day yesterday and again today to place ads
    in CraigsList to no avail! I type the ad and they say they will send me a confirmation email and I never get one.
    Where else can I try and sell my furniture?

  35. I’ve had pretty awesome experiences with Craigslist so far. I recently sold 2 items that I was never going to use again. $130 later and I’m looking to do it again soon!
    Johnny Moneyseed recently posted..Sell your stuff. Pay down debt.My Profile

  36. Sofa Kink says:

    This is why I don’t use Craigslist:

    U should take down ur post because ur shit is gone so people don’t waste gas I should have flattened ur tires an egged ur house ass hole

    http://sfbay.craigslist.org/zip/3685776803.html
    Sent from my wireless communication device
    Sent from my wireless communication device

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    Car Free Valuation recently posted..Car Free ValuationMy Profile

  38. Lynda Taylor says:

    Is this craigs list fucked up or what??????? Tried to put a friend’s bike for sale for 2 day’s now!!!!!!!!!! hOW DO U GET IT ON THERE? What a JOKE, like they care…..duh

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