Being a good Craigslist buyer

Recently, I’ve been helping a friend get rid of some stuff on Craigslist.  I’ve always been pretty good at selling things on Craigslist and for the most part, it’s easy.  Listing is free, browsing is free, and Craigslist takes care of anonymizing your email for you.  I like it better than eBay because it’s local and you don’t have to bother with shipping.  But at some point, you do have to talk to a real person and that’s when it can get annoying.


My posts generally follow the same pattern.  I provide (1) a description of the item, (2) specs and sizes where applicable, (3) the price, (4) and contact information.  I usually ask people to email with their availability if they are interested.  So here’s where it gets annoying.  Out of all the emails I’ve been responding to, at least half (I’m pretty sure) did not read the ad closely at all.  I’ve had questions about the size of furniture (it’s listed in the ad!), the veracity of its construction (what does “solid pine” mean to you?), and my all time favourite – “Hi, is this still available?”

So here are some of my suggestions for being a good Craigslist buyer:

1.     Be informative: Don’t just send an email asking if something is available.  Provide a contact number or give some indication of when you would be able to pick it up!  When I’m managing an ad, it’s very frustrating to try to keep track of 10 or 15 different email threads and have to chase down contact info for everyone.  Make it easy for the seller to choose you as the buyer by being informative.  For example, when I reply to an ad, I’ll say something like, “Hi there, I’m interested in X.  Is it still available?  If so, I am available Mon, Wed and Fri after 6pm.  You can contact me by this email.  Thanks, CF”

2.  Double check the ad: Nothing is more annoying than having to answer questions that I’ve already provided the answer to.  So please please please… read the ad, twice, three times.  If sizes are provided, don’t ask again.  If a link to product specs is provided, check it out before asking.  For example, I put a TV up for sale with the model number listed in the title.  What did people want to know when they emailed?  The model number.  *face palm* Of course, if I’ve neglected to provide some information, definitely ask!

3.  If you’re not going to show up… Then shoot a quick text or email!  It’s so frustrating to play phone tag or email tag with a potential buyer, only to have the person not show up.  As a seller, I’m not offended at all if someone changes their mind.  Usually, I have 3-5 people interested in any one item.  The faster someone lets me know when they change their mind, the faster I can find a new buyer and move an item out.

Has anyone else had any frustrating Craigslist experiences lately?  Any other tips to share?

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