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How to be a bad Craigslist seller

Saying the item is like new when it's not is one of 6 offenses bad sellers often commit.

By MSN Money Partner Sep 21, 2011 9:20AM

This post comes from Daniel Packer at partner blog Wise Bread.


Selling used items on Craigslist has its ups and downs. The good typically involve simple transactions while the bad can be nightmares involving people who have no concern for others.


If you want to make people happy and use Craigslist effectively, be sure to avoid these behaviors typical of bad Craigslist sellers. (See also: "Craigslist vs. eBay: Where to sell 10 common items.")


Lying about the condition of the item. Nobody wants to list a "used, stained, and slightly torn chair," but be careful before you list it as "great condition, only used a few times." Just because they won't notice that you flipped the cushion over and used a staple gun to keep the fabric in place until the cash is securely in your hands doesn't make it right.

Keeping the listing up after the item has been sold. Bad sellers get rid of an item but think the work of finding that email that lets you edit or delete your listing is too much to handle, so they leave the item up. Avoid this bad behavior by keeping that email, or at least responding to any inquiries by noting that the item has already been sold.


Being difficult to reach. You posted it on Craigslist and gave a general description. When people want more details about an item, they want quick responses, not someone who doesn't check their email. The icing on the cake is when your phone is on silent right around the time of the exchange. After all, it's the buyer's responsibility to find the guy who looks like he's trying to sell something, right?


Offering to meet in a private location at night. What would make someone feel less comfortable than meeting in a dark alley with few people around? Meeting someone you don't know and exchanging cash can be nerve-racking, so recognize that even if you feel comfortable inviting a stranger to your house at night, that person might not.


Backing out of agreements. Even after arranging a deal, if the item is still in your hands you may have the urge to continue bargaining when other emails come in. After all, your job is to get the best price you can for your item, not build lasting customers. It's hard to blame you for wanting the best price you can get, but you should still be courteous and keep communication flowing. You'd be upset if you showed up to a meeting place and the seller wasn't there, so if you do back out, let the buyer know before they start traveling to you.


If you can't sell it, throwing it out. Your trash may be someone else's gold. Nobody is willing to pay your price, so your next thought may be to trash it. Instead of throwing it in the Dumpster out back, spend a few minutes letting people know it's available to the first person who wants it.


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