Yesterday I wrote about my encounter with an Internet scam artist. Fortunately, I’ve didn’t fall for his ploy or countless other ones encountered in the past. I’ve been shopping online for at least the last decade and don’t plan on slowing down. It’s convenient and you can find some great deals. While I’m certainly no less immune to hacks, attacks and scams than the next guy, developing online safety habits increase your chances of being compromised.
I’ve only recently started using Craigslist (within the past year). Since then I have purchased:
- Dining room table set and baker’s rack
- Large dog crate / kennel
- Misc. puppy supplies
- Designer purse
- Electric Fireplace w/mantle and heater
- Washer & Dryer Set
Gave Away / Curb Alert
- Entertainment Center
As you can see, I do more buying than selling. My transactions have been pleasant exchanges. Here are a few tips I follow for Craigslist transactions:
1. I use the Craigslist notification app for Android. With this, I am able to set key words for items I am ready to buy and get a notification to my phone as soon as items matching my key words are posted.
2. Before contacting someone about an item, I make sure I have a pickup strategy. Many sellers are trying to unload items ASAP, so they aren’t going to be willing to hold items for 2-3 days while you arrange a pick up.
3. Whenever possible, I meet in a public, well lit place for the exchange. My latest transaction was in a Walgreen’s parking lot.
4. If going to someones home is unavoidable (such as larger items like the dining room set), then take someone with you. Also, let someone else know where you are going.
5. When selling, I avoid pick-ups from my home at all costs. With the washer / dryer set it was unavoidable, so I insisted on my husband being home. In fact, I let him handle the transaction.
6. When selling, do not publish your address in your listing. A city is sufficient. If you live in a larger city, you can be more specific or list the district. Do not give out your address until you have spoken to potential sellers.
7. If you schedule a meeting with someone, be on time. Call in advance .
8. I’ve found negotiations work best over phone / email. Unless the item has an undisclosed flaw that merits a discount, the price is typically agreed before meeting.
9. If posting an item for sell, include pictures. I filter my searches by image only, I’m sure other potential buyers do the same thing.
10. Don’t be THAT GUY:
- That guy who posts the same article all day to stay at the top
- That guy that doesn’t delete his listing or mark it as sold
- That guy with the embellished inaccurate condition description
- That guy that says he / she will hold an item only to have it sold by the time you arrive
I’ve been fortunate! All my transactions have saved me time and / or money. Like my entertainment center give away. When I was ready to move, I already knew I wasn’t going to take it with me. I set it by the dumpster in my old apartment complex and left. I was contacted a couple days later by the rental agency and was told I would be fined for the removal fee. I asked for a couple days to move the entertainment center myself. I posted a *curb alert* on Craigslist that morning. I went by my old apartment after work on the piece was gone! Someone got a nice entertainment center and I didn’t have to pay a trash removal fee!
What about you?
Do you use Craigslist? Why or why not?
If you have used the service, tell us about your experience in the comments!