Craigslist etiquette

Just some tips from an occasional Craigslister:

For everyone:

  • Cash only. Don't do checks, PayPal, etc. Even if it's > $1,000.
  • Meet in a well-lit, public place. Starbucks is great. Target parking lot is fine. Nice gas stations are okay. Small restaurant parking lots are out, as are shady gas stations.
    • Aside: Additionally, if the other party doesn't show, you at least have something to do if you're at a place like Starbucks or Target. If you're at a gas station, you'll have wasted your time.
  • Make sure you can contact each other. Either email if everyone has smartphones, or trade mobile numbers. One party is often caught in traffic and is late.
  • Haggling is okay. If you list something that sells for $50-80 for $80, and the offer is $50, either accept that or settle in the middle. Don't always buy things for the listed price.

For buyers:

  • Don't low-ball. Haggling is fine, but offering $20 for an item priced at $60 is not.
  • Don't send emails that say "is this item still for sale?" Instead, say, "I'd like to buy your item... I have a question about it..."
  • Stick to your agreed-upon price. Some sellers try to scam you out of an extra few bucks at the meet, but stand your ground on the price (this is why emails are better than calls—you have evidence of the price).

For sellers:

  • Allow people to contact you via email, and reply. Many CL'ers are introverts, and they'll ignore posts that require a phone call.
  • Don't feel obligated to respond to every email. Since your email address is anonomous, spammers will sometimes email you, then when they get your response, you're in their spam list. Only respond to legitimate-sounding requests.
  • Charge the agreed-upon price. Don't show up to a meet and ask the seller for a higher price than you agreed on already. That's just dirty.
  • Conversely, don't accept less than what you agreed on (don't sell your item short!). Many times, buyers will say "Oh, I only have $250, not $300 like we agreed on... will you still sell the item?" NO!

The general rule of thumb is to be courteous, responsive, and cheerful. Life's too short to waste it on dud Craigslist transactions!