Trivial Opinions

My weekly trivial opinions on life, sports, movies and more!

Pros and cons of Craigslist

Posted by Jack Deus on September 29, 2007

I have known about for a while but never really tried to use it, until recently. For those of you who don’t know what CraigsList is, basically it is a website that takes the idea of a newspaper classified section and puts it online for everyone to use, for free. There are personal ads, discussion forums, job listings, and a for sale/wanted section. It is designed to be for locals so each major city in the US has it’s own CraigsList site. I have only used the sale/wanted section so I can only comment on that, so without further ado, here are my pros and cons to Craigslist.

Pros (from the buyer point of view)

1. It’s local, so you don’t have to pay shipping which can get really pricey on bigger items, like foosball tables, exercise equipment, etc. Also, because there is no shipping there is less wait time to get your item. Whenever you and the seller can work out the exchange is how soon you can get your item. You really need the collectors edition Lord of the Rings replica ring at 3am? Ask the seller if they would be willing to meet you at the local all-night coffee shop and it is yours (assuming they don’t like to sleep).

2. Most people are willing to negotiate on price, so you can usually find really good deals. I’ve found especially good deals on computer parts.

Pros (from a sellers POV)

1. You can put just about anything on Craigslist and it will sell. My wife and I have sold a 5 year old lawnmower, an AMD processor, a backpack picnic basket, and a broken lawn trimmer among other things. One item we put up for sale got more than 40 replies in 2 days (we obviously set the price a little low on that one).

2. It’s fast and free to post items for sale. Most sites/newspapers charge some sort of fee to post something for sale, but Craigslist doesn’t. It took my wife (who is familiar with computers, but not fluent in any way) about 5 minutes to post each item, and we didn’t have to pay a dime.

Pro (from both buyer and seller POV)

1. It’s completely anonymous. Searching for things doesn’t require a userID and your e-mail is never used, unless you contact a seller about a specific item. As the seller, your e-mail is never given unless you respond back to an inquiry.

Cons (from buyers POV)

1. There is no enforcement. There was a post for a 500GB SATA hard drive for $100 or best offer, so I wrote the guy and asked if he would take $75 for it. The same day he responded back and said he guessed that was OK and asked where I wanted to meet him. After three replies over three days I still didn’t hear back from him, until finally he replied saying he sold it someone else instead because they were willing to pay the full $100 he originally asked for it. I wrote him back a nastygram saying how dishonest and immoral that was, and that I deserve the hard for $75. Needless to say, I never got the hard drive from him.

2. Since everything is done anonymously, it is hard to know how much interest there is in an item you are looking at, so if you wait a day or two to comparison shop the item might be gone.

3. This is the thing that bugged me the most… I was looking for a specific movie and found it in two different posts people had put up, listing a while bunch of movies they were selling. I inquired about the specific movie to see if they still had it and they replied that they had sold it weeks ago. I know from a few of the items I have posted that it is very easy to edit a post, so if you ever use Craigslist as a seller, please, please, please update your post on a regular basis.

Cons (from a sellers POV)

1. If I were a single girl, living alone, I’m not sure I would post stuff on Craigslist. As I mentioned before the buyer and seller arrange for a place to make the swap and it is usually the seller’s home. Also, because it is anonymous, you have no idea if you are dealing with a sweet old lady or a serial axe-murderer or a sweet old lady who turns out to be a serial axe-murderer. Just like everything in life, if you take the proper precautions, you can avoid dangerous situations. A lot of the time I arranged for buyers to meet me outside my work, this way they didn’t learn where I lived and it was more convenient because I didn’t have to worry about missing plans because they were running late.

2. Going along with the enforcement issue for buyers, there is also not a way to force a buyer to pay you. You may agree on a price and a place to meet and the buyer may change their mind and there is nothing you can do, except re-post it back on Craigslist and hope someone else contacts you for it.

Overall I think the pros of using Craigslist outweigh the cons. I, personally, have had a lot better experiences selling stuff than buying stuff, so I think if you have a few things laying around the house just collecting dust, instead of having a garage sale, just post them on Craigslist and see what you can get for them. As far as buying stuff, expect to be disappointed when you contact someone to see if they still have it for sale, that way if they don’t have it your expectations are met, and if they do still have it, your expectations are exceeded.


4 Responses to “Pros and cons of Craigslist”

  1. […] to communicate with each other, but has recently been gaining a lot of mainstream exposure. So, just like I did with Craigslist a few years ago, I’m here to present some of the Pros and Cons of Twitter to help you decide if it is a […]

  2. […] Pros and cons of Overall I think the pros of using Craigslist outweigh the cons. I, personally, have had a … house just collecting dust, instead of having a garage sale, just post them on Craigslist … […]

  3. Anonymous said

    You ‘deserve’ the hard? You don’t ‘deserve’ anything. I would take the $100 too. It’s cragislist, it’s not first come first serve when the 2nd one gives a better offer. Similarly, if you promised to buy an item for $100, then a better offer comes along for the exact same item for $75, wouldn’t you take it for $75?

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