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Saturday, February 6, 2010

Craig's List: Scammer's Haven

We have bought and sold on Craig's List before without much problem, but it has really changed in the past year or two. We've been trying to get rid of excess furniture and have listed a couple of things there lately. Before Christmas, I listed a piece, and my email immediately filled with offers to buy it, if only I would go through their agent, their shipping company, etc. Most of these scammers started off asking for additional pictures. Why, I don't know since they had no intention of taking delivery.

A tip from the help board there said to uncheck the email option, and either take a picture of your handwritten email address or write one in a paint program and load it into the listing as if it were a picture so spambots can't pick it up. Scammers can still find it and email, but it takes more effort and most of them won't do it.

So two weeks ago I listed this original 1950's dinette set that belonged to my in-laws.

I heard they were really popular and this one is in good shape, so I thought it would be easy to sell, especially since I priced it much lower than similar sets. I got one email from someone wanting additional pictures, so I pulled it out of the garage and took more pictures even though I had a feeling it might be a scammer. Sure enough, after I sent the pictures, he asked if I would deliver, and would pay me well for my time and effort. Of course when I told him delivery was not an option, cash only and he picks it up, I never heard from him again.

That was the only email we got, so the next week we lowered the price $50. Toward the end of the week, I got another email simply asking if I would take $50 for the set. Hubby and I talked it over, his parents just wanted to get rid of it, and we countered at $60 even though that was almost $200 cheaper than anything else listed on Craig's List. I also requested cash when she picked it up. Never heard from her again, so today, Hubby and I took it to the thrift store. At least the in-laws can claim what it is worth, even if it only gets them a small fraction back on their income taxes.

The lady at the thrift store was thrilled to get it, and I wouldn't be surprised if she listed it on ebay. She admired the chairs and said "they sure don't make vinyl like this anymore," to which I answered "thank heavens." Why anyone bought orange and green vinyl chairs with a white and gray table top is beyond me.

Just a few minutes ago, I got a call from someone who wanted to know about the barrister bookcases I listed last year. He had kept my phone number he said. I remember talking to him last year too since he was the only one who called about then. He wanted two 5-stack cases for $75 then.

What is it with people? I like getting a bargain, and was ready to make good deals on these pieces, but I don't want to give them away, and I'm really tired of the scammers which seem to dominate Craig's List these days.

I've still got a table and chairs to sell, and dread having to deal with it on Craig's List. If anyone has a secret to successful selling on Craig's List, I wish you'd let me in on it.

Until next time, may you have blessings and mutually beneficial dealings,


  1. Thank you for what you do... and sharing it with us!

    Welcome to the Geneabloggers family. Hope you find the association fruitful; I sure do. I'm fairly new, as well, and have found it most stimulating, especially some of the Daily Themes.

    Keep telling your ancestor stories!

    Dr. Bill ;-)
    Author of "13 Ways to Tell Your Ancestor Stories"

  2. Really there are no secrets to seelign on Craiglist but you have to be careful and just follow one simple ruel, if anyone is really intereste din buyong your stuff, ask them to come take a look at it and bring cash and of they like like it then it is theirs. Cash and carry simple as that

  3. Hi Sanjay, thanks for the advice. I usually put cash only in my listing, but scammers either don't care or they want to push their terms anyway in search of a gullible victim. I wish I had the time and energy to play with them like others who have turned the table on scammers.

  4. Hi Marti ..... I suspect that the quality of Craigslist buyers is area-dependent. I've had a LOT of luck selling on Craigslist. I typically have multiple people emailing me after I post something, indicating interest. I think I get initial interest because I start the pricing well below what others are asking (usually I just want the item out of my hair). I put a couple things in my ads that helps sort the wheat from the chaff: 1) "This item is already priced well below the going rate. I will not negotiate on price; please don't make us both uncomfortable by asking" and 2) In your response to this ad, please let me know what day and time you're available to stop by and take a look. Repsonses without this information will be ignored". #1 takes care of the money (I DO ignore responses offering less only) and #2 takes care of no-shows and people with less-than-serious interest. Also.....realize that if you haven't gotten an ad response within 24 hours, you may not get a response at all. Reposting the ad every couple of days keeps it at the top of the page on Craigslist, and more visible to buyers.....Darcy


Your comments make my day, and I look forward to visiting your blog too. I can't comment on Google Plus or Discus though.