Reasons Why I Don’t Like Craigslist. (Kind of a rant.)

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You always see posts with people recommending Craigslist to sell your stuff at, or find a job, or even a mate. I’m not here to debunk that, I’ve sold lots of stuff successfully locally using Craigslist. But after some recent experiences, I’ve realized it’s definitely not perfect. Mostly, it can be such a huge waste of time. Why?

As a seller: Flakey people. I had to get rid of some baseball tickets, so I put them on Craiglist. I set the price fair, and got some offers immediately. Of course, all the emailers wrote “I’ll take them”, “I definitely want them”, or “Yes please please hold them for me, I’ll pick them up tomorrow/later/soon”.

But, when the time finally comes, 80% of them back out. And the excuses are so lame. I can’t make it. I can’t afford it. My mom won’t let me. Sigh. I turned away 5 other people for this?

My new Craiglist Selling Rules: First person who pays gets it. No, I will not hold it for you. You come by with cash, you got it. No, I will not meet you halfway across town, so you can be a no-show.

It sounds harsh, but the things I sell are usually around 20 bucks, it’s just not worth $5 in gas and the stress.

As a buyer: People who just lie. Sure, that “antique” bookshelf sounds great for $50. You drive half an hour to get there, and it’s got particle board for backing?!? The bike in “great condition” only has one set of brakes, and they’re the front ones??

My new Craiglist Buying Rules: There are some deals that are “too good to be true” that are actually true. I’ve gotten some, like my $5 vacuum that I still use, and $50 worth of free computer RAM. But nowadays I’m not leaving my house without a digital picture unless it’s free and I live within 15 minutes.

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  1. A friend of mine had the same problem selling on craigslist. People would promise to come by to check out the furniture at a certain time, but wouldn’t show up and wouldn’t call to cancel.

  2. Ditto that. I am definitely choosy about where to sell my stuff these days. Books definitely go on Amazon, Furniture on craigslist, Mac stuff on the lem-swap email list, and ebay or donate the rest. I did recently have some very great craigslist interactions (people paying more than asked…this happened more than once! gasp!) but that was after kissing a whole lot of frogs.

  3. We created a craigslist type site for college students and would LOVE feedback and suggestions on ways we can make the craigslist model type better…please email. thanks:)

  4. Paypal transactions are great. If they buy… you can hold them. Even if they just put a deposit 🙂

  5. Your post was very timely for me. I’ve advertised the same item on craigslist over the last month 3 separate times and have received over 15 responses from folks who “want to buy it”. When it comes time to setup an appointment, they’ve either “changed their mind” or “found something else” – of course they never bother to share that unless you check up on them – INCREDIBLE and RUDE. From my brief experience it seems that if you’re selling something at a rock bottom blow-out price – it sells, otherwise forget it.

  6. I’ll second all of the above. I’ve had to endure countless stories of people magically becoming “broke” 24 hours after promising to buy something.

    I’ll toss another on the list — contractors. Do NOT attempt to get contract work on Craigslist. I’ve now had a painter no show twice, this is after having long detailed calls and emails with the guy. Not to mention all the other guys — tile, electrical,etc. There may be a few legit ones, but 80-80% of them are a joke. Spend your time getting a good reference from someone you know and sucking it up when it comes to cost. You get what you pay for with these guys.

    I’ve learned that the hard way.

  7. Heres where I have had success

    When someone calls me regarding directions or info about an item I tell them I am on another line and can I call them right back.

    Armed with their phone number and they know it, they usually show because they realize they are no longer invisible.

    Also for security reasons it is always a good idea to have something on someone that you don’t know is coming to your house.

    Want to know what kind of people visit craigslist that are coming over to look at that chair your selling, check out the men for me section or erotic section and you get an idea.

    They get as far as my garage 🙂

  8. Craigslist is a JOKE. Here in the Lexington, Kentucky area few of the job ads are even real, and most have more exaggerated skills/experience requirements than your everyday newspaper job ads. Also, there seems to be very little posted in the way of sales items ads.

  9. I advertised some old exercise equipment on Craigslist last May. Got about three emails in the first week, had it sold for the list price ($250) by the end of week two. I was happy.

  10. With sense like Jonathan suggests and some patience, Craigslist

    I found an excellent employment opportunity–the job I hold and still love today–through Craigslist. I also sold my car at asking price, above BlueBook value. In both pursuits, I definitely had to deal with some flakes, but in both cases I did a lot better than I have in the past with conventional classified ads, etc.

    On Craigslist, I’ve also sold a bunch of smaller items ranging from 10-200 bucks. Some of my best buys have been a mint vintage turntable for 25% value and a new $200 pair of boots for my girlfriend at only 25 bucks.

  11. What about people who want way too much for their stuff? I have seem people who wanted to sell their stuff at 20% off the retail price when they have used it for months or years. I have even seemed people who want to sell their stuff more than what stores charge new. This is why I always do a lot of research before I even contact the sellers about the items they are selling.

  12. Well, in general, I would agree with you. One of the more frustrating aspects of Craigslist is the backing out at the last minute by buyers. It has happened to me many time, the latest of which was this morning. This is what happens when you have a system which does not have a feedback system, built-in accountability or commitment.

    One time I thought I’d sold a laptop, agreed to meet the fellow and his wife, and out of the goodness of my heart, decided to spend an hour or so showing them how to use the computer (something that I shouldn’t really need to do, but they were really computer illiterate). I was supposed to take my wife and son out to a family event, but they were more than gracious for me to meet this customer, in order to make the sale. The customer, an older gentleman, was impressed with the whole system, and brought the cash for it, but decided not to take it (even though his wife wanted him to) because his stock tracking software didn’t update fast enough with the website.

    Another time, someone bought some computer RAM/memory from me. Deal was done, time was set. He never called me back. Then he came up with the lame excuse days later, “oh, I thought it was desktop RAM, not laptop RAM.” I told him that I have desktop RAM as well in the exact same capacity and will give it to him at an even lower price. He never called me back.

    I have sold many things on craigslist, and I’d maintain that, despite the fact that people do back out, I have had others who have met me in 15 minutes paid me on the spot.

    I would add one more thing to your list and that is the amount of people who try to, even after the deal is agreed upon, haggle or negotiate the price. This gets really annoying really fast, particularly when they say they will take it, make arrangements (which means I adjust my schedule to accomodate their time of pickup). Then they write back and indicate they will only meet if I were to lower the price to such-and-such. I never give them the satisfaction, despite the fact that I will lose out on the sale.

    Still, overall I prefer craigslist to eBay, despite what I have indicated above, as well as my agreement with you in regards to your points. craigslist has no fees. pickups are local, so they pay you in cash and it’s a done deal. There is no worries about shipping – lost packages, damaged packages, or underestimating the shipping price. There is also the fact that you don’t have to deal with as unreliable as a payment system as paypal (as a seller, if you haven’t been a victim of a paypal scam with chargebacks, you will – I’ve sold on eBay for seven years now, and only this year, did I get a fraudster, who bought a laptop from me, paid me by paypal, I shipped it and have a signature, we exchanged positive feedback, and it was only two months later that I got a chargeback notice when the real buyer realized that someone had stolen his credit card, associated with his hacked paypal account and paid me. Paypal didn’t even bother defending the seller – because the credit card company reversed the charge, paypal simply debited my account for the full amount of the sale + admin fees. So I am out a laptop and my money. This stuff NEVER happens to me on craigslist.

    Also on eBay, there are many phishing schemes. And eBay innundates your eBay mailbox with eBay spam (advertisements, promotions, etc.). There are tons of scammers on eBay from all over the world who are out to make your experience less than stellar. They exist on craigslist as well, but in far lesser degrees.

    Craigslist also allows me to buy some very specific, local things (ie. tickets to a very specific event locally happening at a very specific time), which I’d never find on eBay. I also like the freebies section of craigslist where people give stuff away – I’ve been the recipient of many cool things which others simply did not need or want.

  13. I think of Craigslist as a mostly reliable friend, who sometimes gets flaky but who brings the best dessert to the Christmas party.

    Last night, I saved $3.75 in quarters by using a drying rack I bartered for on Craigslist – rack for chocolate cookies. I’ve also sold an Imac Strawberry that I salvaged from a dumpster – all it needed was software – for $25. The buyer arrived promptly and made good conversation.

    However, there are a lot of flakes on Craigslist. I usually audition buyers via e-mail before I give out any information about myself. I try to make sure that they’ve committed to a date, time, and price, and that I have their phone number before I give out my location. Non-committed users usually don’t follow up on our conversation before we hammer these things down.

    Also, I make sure I’m not the only one home at the time of the transaction (which is done in cool cash.) Usually, if I’m buying, I pick up. If they’re buying, they pick up.

    Now, if only the “jobs” in Kansas Craigslist were worth a bother…

  14. Re: Craigslist
    I’ve had good experiences buying, so far. I have not sold yet. However, with regard to buying (mostly antiques) I have to say that many folks who sell fail to research their own stuff or, what’s likely, they try to pass their stuff off as antique when it clearly is not. A 1970’s beat up sofa is not a victorian settee.

    Then you have the folks who post a valuable item then, when they’re swamped with offers, realize they have a good thing and try to up the price. If they had bothered to google their item they would know right away its approximate value.

    I had one seller who I contacted right away as soon as her item posted. I offered to come for a look and told her I would likely buy. She then decided her item was worth more and wasn’t sure she would sell. She went back and forth for weeks saying she wouldn’t sell then she would. I finally got it but what a pain!

    I don’t want to rip anyone off but there is no reason, in this day and age, for people to be unaware of the value of their items when they post on Craigslist. You end up with a bait and switch situation that is very annoying. Even so, I agree with some of those earlier posters here that too many people put high prices on items that aren’t worth it. Also, too many people fail to provide good pictures, or any pictures, of their items. Further, many don’t check their posting and think they’ve sucessfully posted photos when they haven’t. If buyers have to go to alot of trouble to get an idea of what your selling then they’ll write you off.

  15. Craigslist users are really starting to piss me off. I get a MINIMUM of 98% flakes. In the past year, I have put up the same basic ad, offering some free classes in my home. Actually, I did that with two different classes. The first was a hobby and to this date I have in excess of 100 emails from “may be interested” to “sounds interesting” to “I definitely want to check it out!” Out of those 100, I had a total of THREE people who really were serious. THREE!! Tire kickers just piss me off. Just last week I put up a very intense ad looking for some new friends. I made it clear I am sick of flakes. This time 3 people wrote me back. One girl replied twice, and asked her to confirm a date, and she quit replying. A guy said he was definitely interested (where have I heard that before?), but he wanted to bring his kids along. I said NO. He then flaked out. The other person wrote me once and never again.

    So what do I do? Anybody that flakes out on me ONCE, I block their email address, and refuse to deal with them again.

    I was giving away free feeding again last year. Lots of replies of “very reliable” people. As of today, only two remain. The rest were flakes. I told them all I will NOT tolerate no shows. Just one no show and you are off my list, banned, and blocked.

    Craigslist is truly the WORST classifieds site I have ever used for people who just don’t show. So if you only have 80%, you are lucky. I am at 98%.

    Oh here is another favorite. About 50% of those all gave me their phone number. Nobody EVER answered or returned a phone call. Not once. Why give it out then?

  16. I’ve been posting a lot over the last few weeks and also had the same experience of ~80% or more not following up after the first e-mail….and about 95% never actually setting up a time to see the item.

    Has anyone ever wondered if there are people out there who sit around at home and send these just so we get our hopes up???

    It sounds like all of us posting here are normal people who follow up on on things when we inquire. So how is it there are so many people out there who don’t do this?

    As an interesting side note, I have a couch that I’m currently trying to sell. Over the 2-3 weeks I’ve had it posted, I’ve received a TON of e-mails. However, last week I added that it had to be picked up by April 10th and the e-mails have slowed down tremendously. So, either all of the spammers out there already wrote to me, or giving people a deadline of sorts really made them realize in advance that they couldn’t hold up their end of the bargain.

  17. I never really used craiglist until now that I’m moving, and this topic really hits the nail. I was naive enough to hold an item for someone for 2 days only to have her flake out on me :<

  18. olslady5666 says

    Craigslist i use to like going on there up until today. i have had it bad this past two years and i got hurt at work and lost my car and lost my apartment .so anyway i put on the list that if someone could donate me some winter close and a winter coat i sure do need them well everytime i put the add on this one person kept flagging me and then i would get a email telling me that i needed to lose weight because of the size i was asking for and that i was a idiot and i needed to get a life. i will never get on there now..

  19. I have found many great deals, especially the free ones, on Craigslist, I will agree with someone that wrote, becareful of contractors or businesses that have gravel or the like. I recently purchased, I thought, 3 yards of ground gravel (which the guy talked me into, I wanted sand). Well I had no idea what 3 yards looks like, anyway to make a long, long story short I didn’t end up with 3 yds, only 1. This guy gave me a song and dance, yada yada yada, anyway, I will not deal with him again. I do not like liers and cheats. He is in the Kenosha, Racine, WI area. So beware. Otherwise I have had really good dealings with people. I haven’t tried to sell anything yet, so we will see on that note. God bless ya all.

  20. My experience so far as been so-so:

    The last time I posted on CL I was able to sell 2 pieces of large furniture with no problem.

    This time around I felt the full weight of flaky buyers and low ballers, and by that I mean LOW. The guy who calls every 20 minutes to see of it’s still available then disappears the next day, the poor college kid that wants “it” so bad but never replies when you accept their offer, the yuppie across town that missed the “must pick up furniture” line in the ad, the working gal that gets off late and wants you to “PLEASE HOLD IT”, the guy who doesn’t think “it’s” worth that much and tries to bully you into accepting his “final offer” then gets mad if you respectfully decline-my personal fave BTW.

    I decided what ever I can’t sell I will pawn or donate. At least I’ll be able to deal with some honest folks for a change. HOWEVER, the small and more affordable items I posted went pretty quick.

  21. CountryGal says

    I am really starting to dislike Craigslist a lot, too! I have the same problem as some wrote about no shows but my biggest gripe is people can flag posts without there being any violation of terms!! I’ve seen people put one item per post hogging up the board same category with several posts one right after the other but when I put all my items under one post in one category it gets flagged just because someone didn’t like the way I wrote it. I understand we all have preferences how something should be written but that’s not a violation of their terms. Or at least when I read their terms I didn’t see anything about if something is not worded the way someone wants it (as long as there is nothing hateful about the post) then that violates the terms. I really love ebay classifieds and they are much better weeding out spam but most of the ones reading my ads there are not local and I don’t ship. They should have moderators only that can remove posts at craigslist and only when terms of service have really been violated.

  22. I TOTALLY understand what you mean about flakey people. I was selling a harddrive and about 4 people told me they were interested and “give me your number I’ll buy it” never called or emailed back, none of them

    Another time I was selling a Tablet one guy we exchanged about 5 emails and phone numbers…..than he was like “I only have a $100 can you sell it to me at that price?” …are you kidding me??? GTFO I can get more selling it on Amazon which I eventually did.

  23. Karen Maufield says

    I’ve only used CL a couple of times to give away items (never to sell), but was caught off guard by the flakes. I now understand that this is a common phenomenon and not just my random bad luck, and I will expect it in the future, but I can’t stop wondering WHY people do this. Is it ignorance of commonly accepted courteous behavior, or just an immature desire to jerk someone around?Or are there reasons I can’t even imagine? Or possibly there are just a couple of sociopaths who do most of the damage? Another fascinating genre of human behavior to explore…!

  24. I get tired of cheap stingy buyers that want to lowball me for 20 bucks textbook prices. They know those textbooks are over $150 in the bookstore. If people want cheap mess then go to yard sales or swap meet. Its flaky people. I rather sell on Amazon or ebay.

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