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Tips for selling on Craigslist? Anyone have experience

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by burntfrijoles, Sep 6, 2020.

  1. SixStringSlinger

    SixStringSlinger Friend of Leo's

    May 21, 2006
    1) Pretty much anywhere public and populated. I've done a few CL (and similar) transactions, both buying and selling, and most were concluded in a supermarket parking lot during the day. Lots of people around.

    2) I use the CL relay system to begin with. To clarify, this sends messages to your email, but the person writing you does not see/know your email address. They effectively send an email to CL, and CL passes it on to you.

    Eventually, if it looks like the thing may happen and I don't get an active negative feeling about the other person, we'll exchange phone numbers. You can always arrange via email to meet at a certain place and time and say you'll be in the blue Civic, but a phone call is just easier for an "I'm here" or "I'm running 5 minutes late but I'm on my way". I don't want to risk a sale/purchase falling through because communication was not quick enough.It's just a phone number.

    3) I've mostly dealt in cash, with the price agreed upon before even arranging to meet. I think it's common courtesy/sense to have the money on you when you meet.

    I paid a guy via PayPal once, per his preference. In the memo section I was very detailed and explicit. "Payment for Gibson Les Paul Studio listed on eBay from user suchandsuch..." etc., and I took and kept a bunch of screenshots of the eBay listing, including the pictures and his description, so that if anything came up later that was not disclosed, I could dispute it with PayPal.

    Frankly, checks are not commonly used anymore for day-to-day purchases, and even when they were I'd have considered it suspect when dealing person-to-person. There are credit card readers for smart phones, but they're not common enough to be expected.

    4+5) Not sure what to say here. It's a private sale between two individuals; receipts and the like are not the norm. I understand that when it comes to music gear that can include some pricey stuff, but it sounds to me like expecting a receipt at a garage sale. What does a receipt prove or otherwise give you that a CL ad and emails/texts do not?

    Also, returns? Again, not the norm in this scenario. If you're the seller, be truthful and disclose everything, in text and in pictures and in answering any questions that come up, and then give the buyer every opportunity to test the item out. But really, that last part is more the buyer's responsibility. Maybe laws vary by state or city or something, but I think it's generally understood that sales on CL and the like are final. Maybe you can state in your ad that everything has been disclosed, that you'll answer any questions and that the buyer can try it out, but once money changes hands, what's done is done.

    My ideal online transaction is very simple. See/post an ad - open communications - ask/answer questions, haggle etc. - agree on a price - set a meeting - meet - try the thing out/give the buyer time to try it out - exchange item and cash - go home.

    The whole experience can deviate somewhat from the above, case-by-case, but if any of it is difficult, then I'm out.
  2. TigerG

    TigerG Tele-Afflicted

    Aug 14, 2015
    If you get texts asking you to send an e-mail to some e-mail address they provide, ignore them. If they want to communicate through e-mail, that's all doable through the craigslist lising in a way that doesn't reveal your e-mail address.

    Also, if you get a text from someone asking you to send a code verifying that you/your ad are real, ignore that too:
  3. burntfrijoles

    burntfrijoles Poster Extraordinaire

    Feb 12, 2010
    Somewhere Over The Rainbow
    Thanks guys. A lot of good info and some reassurance as well.
  4. TC6969

    TC6969 Friend of Leo's

    Dec 28, 2007
    Wimauma Florida
    One of my internet forum gun buddies tried this one.

    The customer was waiting outside for him and when he showed him the unloaded gun, the guy pulled a magazine out of his pocket, loaded and cocked the gun then ran off down the side of the building.

    By the time my buddy went inside, alerted the desk sergeant, told him the story, waited for him to call to the back then told it again when the cops got motivated, the thief was MILES away!
  5. bondoman

    bondoman Tele-Holic

    Nov 10, 2018
    vallejo ca
    I think it differs for everybody. I dont buy much off CL or other sites but do sell quite a bit. In which case yes I will require your phone # and you come to my residence to inspect and bring cash. Although you will be coming through this gate to see the item. 20180215_162525 (1).jpg
    Rockinvet likes this.
  6. Texsunburst59

    Texsunburst59 Friend of Leo's

    Nov 16, 2005
    Texas Gulf Coast
    I ONLY buy my used gear from pawnshops and almost never off CL or FB Marketplace.

    I only sell on FB Marketplace and nowhere else, since I won't ship.

    1) I ask my son to do a professional photo shoot for all my gear I'm selling, and he posts it for me on FB Marketplace.

    He showcases the item with amazing detail from all angles, and I also provide him with all the details about the item.

    2) I meet any buyer at a busy convenient store that's 1 minute from my house.
    I ask them to call me when the get there, and I tell them I'm a minute away.

    3) When I get to the meeting place I ask if they have to agreed upon amount before I even take the instrument I'm selling out of the truck. If they say they don't have all the amount, I say then there's an ATM in the store where they can get the cash they need.

    If they ask will I take xxx less for the item, I say no we didn't agree on that, and I'll say we're done here and I leave.

    4) At the most I've lost 5-10 minutes of my time if I don't make a sale, and I'm OK with that.
  7. Texicaster

    Texicaster Friend of Leo's

    May 9, 2018
    I've done 100's of CL sales...

    I usually judge the buyer by a phone call. I had lived in high traffic close quarter condo situations with front patio and tended to have them over and meet out front. If I get the slightest hint of sketchy we meet at any other close safe secure locations or not at all.

    I use anonymous CL email for initial contact and then phone calls if they make sense. Lot's of the weirdos can't seem to get it together for a simple email so I ignore lots of those. They HAVE to provide a phone number or call me. If no phone info I ignore as it's gonna be a Nigerian scam!

    Phone call is important! I recently dealt with musical stuff so it was easy to to judge if the buyer had a clue. Most guitar guys LOVE talking gear so if it goes in that direction I can tell pretty well. I've made a couple friends that way too!

    Cash only. Although I have done Paypal as I run an online business and am versed at doing this all day long anyways! I also accept credit cards as again I do that for my business. It depends on the price of the item and if there has been haggling. And again it helps to have dealt with 1000s of customers through the years and trust your senses about them quickly! Cash is king and gets the best deal but often items catch the buyer off guard and you don't let them walk away as they do NOT come back with cash! This would be for ~$1000++ items...Not $20! Although I judge each situation...

    No receipt. I'll pass along original receipt if I have it.

    No returns. All sales final. I'm not running a store....

    OP said they are selling some high dollar items so you're going to HAVE to SELL them. You can't just lay it on the table and expect the buyer to drop the cash and split if you want top dollar. You're going to have to prove yourself and the item as they are as wary as you! Whose gonna buy an amp or guitar without playing it? Some but you'll do better demonstrating especially if it's a deal!

    Good luck!
  8. JJLC

    JJLC Tele-Holic

    Jan 20, 2014
    My 'tip' for selling on Craigslist is, DON'T.

    I listed four guitars on Craigslist once, they sat for a solid month with no interest.

    I listed the same guitars on eVilbay & all four were sold in less than one month.

    Make your own conclusion(s).
  9. Engine Swap

    Engine Swap Tele-Afflicted

    Nov 28, 2014
    In general:

    • Know what your item is worth and list it at 20% above that. Don't say "or best offer", you'll get those automatically.
    • Lots of good photos and accurate description.
    • Do not negotiate price until person has seen the item. Ignore texts and emails that have lowball offers or ask your "best price"
    • Insist on a name and phone number before meeting.
    • Meet in a public place at an agreed upon time. Leave and move on if they don't show. No "re-scheduling"
    • Cash, in the exact amount, do make change.

    In my experience, serious buyers will give a name, number, and want to set up a time to view the item ASAP. They usually, don't talk about the price.
    DDickens likes this.
  10. Marc Morfei

    Marc Morfei Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Feb 6, 2018
    Wilmington, DE
    I have bought and sold many dozens of items on CL over the years and never had a single negative experience.

    A while back I posted a lengthy checklist of recommendations based on my experiences. I will look for that and try to post a link later.

    #1 advice: talk to the person on the phone. You can tell right away if someone is serious and the kind of person you want to deal with.
    dburns likes this.
  11. Marc Morfei

    Marc Morfei Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Feb 6, 2018
    Wilmington, DE
  12. ArcticWhite

    ArcticWhite Tele-Afflicted

    Apr 14, 2009
    Portland Oregon
    I've sold everything from cars to guitars to chairs old lawnmowers, amps, wheelbarrows etc. Bought similar. Hundreds of items.

    Always had people come to the house. Never had a problem in over 20 years.

    Identify the flakes and scammers in their responses to the ads.

    EDIT: I always get a phone number, and generally text them. Most people prefer texting these days. Criminals won't give you their number.

    If the item is less than 50 bucks, I frequently just put it on the porch and ask them to drop the cash in the mail slot.

    Never had a single problem.
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2020
    Marc Morfei and LAPlayer like this.
  13. Steerforth

    Steerforth Friend of Leo's

    May 17, 2009
    Be careful.

    Blue Bill likes this.
  14. LAPlayer

    LAPlayer Tele-Meister

    May 13, 2020
    LA / Denver
    Wow. A lot of thought. I NEVER take an item for sale anywhere - too much chance of a flake not showing and wasting my time. I have them come to my place of residence. I don't bring them in, especially during COVID-19 time. I meet them out front and show them the item.

    Cash only, no shipping, no texts. Too many texts are complete time wasters and scams. No holds, first come - first sold. You tell me where you're coming from and when you're leaving - that's how much time you have to get here.

    Craigslist is not a "try it and if you don't like it, take it back". You buy it you own it. No take backs. That's the beauty of CL, you try before before you buy. Once you buy - it's yours.

    It's cash and carry. There's no need for a receipt. Screenshot the listing if you want proof you didn't steal it.

    If you're nervous, have someone with you. If you're scared - don't do it. I've NEVER had a problem because I don't give up time or energy driving "half way" or "meeting up". When/if you get here I'll show it to you. The last thing, if it's not worth all this trouble, I give it away.
    gregulator450 likes this.
  15. Bluetelecaster

    Bluetelecaster Tele-Holic

    Mar 6, 2019
    Waynesville NC
    Grocery store parking lots up close to the entrances.
    burntfrijoles likes this.
  16. gregulator450

    gregulator450 Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Aug 12, 2014
    The Dry Side
    I have sold a couple dozen guitars, a few amps, a couple cars, a lot of service work, and bought a couple guitars on Craigslist.

    Selling cars on Craig's is crazy. I only recommend that as a last resort.

    I used to lace and true wheels for motocross bikes, and now I advertise guitar tech services on CL. For those customers, I like to have them come to my house since they leave their possessions with me.

    Buying and selling is a different thing. I always meet in a public place, set the terms as cash only and items sold are as-is. I provide detailed description and tons of pictures to a fault so the buyer knows what they're getting before they decide they're interested.

    For service work I include my phone number in my ad, but for sales it's the Craigslist email, and, like others have said, it can progress to an exchange of contact information from there.

    When I was in Phoenix, I always went strapped to sales meetings, more so with guitars than motocross stuff, and ALWAYS on automobile deals. MX guys always seemed to be good guys, musicians could be more sketch, but sketch musicians were in the minority, car deals were known to go south all the time (thankfully none for me). The single shadiest dude I have met recently was when I was selling a car. Hopefully never again!

    In the semi-rural PNW I don't worry so much about going armed, and I pretty much only do service work deals these days. Pretty much all my first time customers become repeat clients so I get to know them well, and I have made some good friends and been drafted into two bands as a result of my Craigslist dealings.

    When I buy guitars, I always ask if I can bring a few tools, and I always check to make sure the truss rod works. Most problems outside of that I can fix.

    Just take your necessary precautions, set proper expectations with your ads, keep your eyes open, and you'll be fine. And, take someone with you if your gut says you should.
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2020
  17. Rockinvet

    Rockinvet Tele-Afflicted

    Oct 17, 2019
    Lots of great advice here. The first thing I recommend is not limit yourself to Craigslist. Offer up and Facebook are also good for local sales. Here are my recommendations.

    1. Meeting: depends on the item. If your selling an amp the buyer is going to want to try it. I have a sunroom attached to the house. I may even use this for guitars too. Many times we’ll sit and talk equipment for awhile even after the sale.

    But with smaller items I may meet at Walmart parking lot. I did a guitar exchange during lockdown at a mall parking lot.

    2. Contact always with CL email to start then follow up with text or call when I know the potential buyer is serious.
    3. Payment cash only
    4. Receipt: I have a template I use for bigger ticket items make two copies and we sign both. Small items I don’t bother.
    5. Returns, not on CL.

    There are advantages with Offer up, mainly Feedback. You get to see what the buyer purchased or sold and what people thought about the transaction.
    Facebook, you get to see the actual person.
    CL you are on your own. And no matter who I sell too I’m always paranoid about counterfeit money. But have not had a problem yet.
    Also on CL there are people who prey on desperate sellers with low ball offers. It’s insulting.
  18. Trow

    Trow Tele-Holic

    Jan 6, 2010
    I’ve had probably 50-60 Craigslist (KSL locally) and FB marketplace interactions. Depending on the item I’m willing to meet someone at their home to buy from them. But I will try to have a buddy with me. No matter what it is or who is with me, someone else always knows where/when I am meeting someone, preferable with the contact information for that person. I haven’t had a bad interaction yet. As others have said, price it higher than you’re willing to let it go for and let them talk you down a bit.
  19. smoothrecluse

    smoothrecluse Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

    Jan 2, 2020
    Panther City, TX
    I’ve had good luck buying gear on Craigslist. I’ve never really had any qualms about going to someone’s house to pick something up, either. I assume they’re probably more scared of me than I am of them. Most sellers usually want cash, but I’ve paid with PayPal and Venmo without any issues, and if you use one of the electronic payment services, then there’s your receipt.

    Like others have said, most people are good folks. As long as it’s not a sketchy neighborhood I’m fine.
  20. dburns

    dburns Friend of Leo's

    Oct 4, 2009
    Darby, Pennsylvania
    I've had dozens of Craigslist transactions over the years as a buyer and seller. Never a bad experience or attempted scam. I've met people at Guitar Center, police stations, shopping center parking lots etc., though I've also had people in my home and have been in people's homes without the slightest bit of trepidation. Always cash.

    Common sense and due diligence is key. Half the time the guy is similar to myself...someone in a band who just likes buying/selling/trading gear. We end up chatting and exchanging social media pages before we even meet. Even when that's not the case, I still have a conversation with the guy just to feel out that they're a reasonable person and not some lunatic.

    I'm not naive, but I've yet to hear of one guitar geek robbing another over a Highway One Tele or a Wampler Tumnus pedal :)
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