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Thread: Craigslist selling as alternative to eBay

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2015

    Default Craigslist selling as alternative to eBay

    Over the past 5+ months, I have been using both Craigslist and eBay/PayPal to sell a variety of items ranging $1-$300 in value. Tallying up the proceeds, I've found out that not only have I made MORE money on Craigslist as opposed to eBay, but CL was also simpler to use and took up less of my time, worry, and efforts -- no packing, no mailing, no unpaid items to deal with, buyers come right to you to pick up the item, and most importantly: with Craigslist / local classifieds I don't have to worry about the dreaded 180 day PayPal and credit card chargebacks where the buyer claims your Item + money + you suffer the chargeback penalties and account closures. Most of the sales on Craigslist happen for CASH ONLY where the buyer hands you cash for your items.

    However, I have been surprised to find out that many people forget about this awesome, locally-based trading resource and instead head for eBay simply because they have grown more used to it. This makes little financial and practical sense, as you can often find great deals if you shop locally and avoid paying up for shipping costs (which can be 2x the cost of the item). Not only have I sold my stuff successfully on CL, but I have found many items selling for less there than on eBay or any of the local department stores. For example, my local CL section is full of working printers selling for $15-$40 -- same printers that are selling for $50-$200 on eBay including the shipping costs. Corresponding with the sellers, I have purchased a working printer with ink for only $12 and have supplied my kitchen with silverware, cups, and kitchen supplies selling for .25-.50 cents each. This allowed me to save a substantial amount of money compared to what I would have spent on eBay, or on online and department stores.

    Here are some pros of of being a seller or buyer on Craigslist:
    - No listing fees.
    - No chargebacks, no reversals, no middleman pocketing 10-15% of your revenue for doing nothing.
    - In many cases buyer can inspect and test the item prior to purchase.
    - No having to deal packing and mailing, lost packages and shipping damages.
    - Most Craigslist sellers and buyers use the trusted Cash-In-Hand method for completing the sales.
    - Most items I've sold through Craigslist have sold for MORE than I got offered for them at garage / yard / community sales, such as appliances, furniture, and electronics in good working condition.
    - Making a listing on Craigslist is always free and takes less then 5 minutes; it's like hosting a continuous indoor garage sale.

    Currently, I sell higher value items locally via CL and use eBay only to sell cheap items ($1-20), additionally limiting the number of items that a single buyer can purchase from me, so if they do a chargeback it's only for 1-2 items, not 10.
    If you are a casual seller living in a densely populated area, there is no sensible reason to use eBay + PayPal for selling expensive items. Not only are you putting yourself at big risk and worry of getting scammed by dishonest buyers, but you're also paying eBay and PayPal all the middleman fees for doing nothing and offering you no protection. See if somebody local wants it first!

    Tip: eBay offers a "local pick-up only" option which you can use to list and advertise your items locally, but decline PayPal as a method of payment. Meet personally and accept CASH only from the buyer.

    The drawbacks of selling on CL:
    CL requires a greater dose of optimism and patience -- since you're reaching out to fewer people, sales will take longer to complete. Some of my items sold in 2 weeks, others - in 3 months. If your stuff doesn't sell within a couple of weeks, don't despair. Simply continue renewing the posting. Also consider including more keywords in description, uploading more attractive pictures, lowering your price and including OBO in your post for buyers to send you their best offers. Searches on craigslist are very case-sensitive so it makes a difference to include several variations of the same word and subject (such as "spoon", "spoons", "silverware", "flatware", etc.)

    CL also isn't popular to use in some regions of the world. However, even if you live in a small distant town, making a post on CL never hurts -- because who knows? maybe your neighbors down the street were looking exactly for what you have to sell. If there is very little traffic on your local CL, consider still listing your stuff and advertising CL in your locale to your friends and coworkers to increase its local popularity.

    Tips for selling on Craigslist:

    Create a Craigslist account -- This makes it easier to keep tack of your listings if you have more than a few going.

    Renew your listings at least once a week -- Craigslist allows users to renew posts as frequently as every 2 days. Renewed posts get greater visibility and higher response rates, and it keeps your listing from expiring (in many sections a listing will expire in 7 days if it haven't been renewed at least once). I usually get most responses from interested buyers within a few hours of renewing or creating a new listing.

    What to do about flagging -- Keep your descriptions simple and to-the-point to avoid the attention of CL spam bots, but don't forget to include enough key words that would make it easy for buyers to find your post. If your post has been taken down immediately after being posted or renewed, it has been automatically mistakenly flagged by CL spam bot - not the community. Don't despair! Rephase your listing and repost it again. If it has been flagged 3+ hours later, chances are this was users flagging your listing rather than the spam bot. Wait a day or two and try posting at a different time. Same flaggers aren't there all day.

    Respond to buyers quickly -- Respond to inquiries as soon as it is possible. If there is a long stretch of time between initial inquiry and your response (5+ hours) chances are the buyer might find another item, get in touch with another seller quicker, or change their mind. In many cases it makes sense to leave your cell phone number for immediate text communication.

    No-shows -- If you are contacted by someone who stops responding to your emails, don't worry. It's a regular occurrence on Craigslist that over 50% of people who will contact won't follow through with their initial inquiry. If this happens, simply wait for the next person with more serious intentions.

    Consider offering local delivery -- Most buyers will come and pick up items themselves from your home or meet at a mid-point. But some buyers only have a bicycle or a motorcycle and will need help with delivery of something like appliances or small furniture that easily fits into a sedan car. For such buyers, I offer delivery free within 10 minutes driving and for a small payment driving further. Some people are very happy with this layout; and on my end as a seller it increases the likelihood of a sale.

    Scams: Just like eBay, CL has its share of scammers. Meet face-to-face and accept only CASH for your items. Never accept bank transfers, checks, money orders, escrows, or ship your items anywhere. CASH ONLY is one simple rule that will allow you to avoid 99% of scams on CL as a seller. I had a woman trying to buy a $150 item from me, but when I came to meet her with the item she claimed she has trouble withdrawing cash from her debit card and asked if she could pay via bank transfer. Never get greedy and agree to such transactions as they are almost always scams. Take your items back home and wait for a better day.

    That's all for now. I'm still learning the ropes of being a more judicious seller. I have been subjected to PayPal chargebacks in the past myself, and just wanted to bring to attention an often forgotten marketplace that allows honest sellers to put an end to getting scammed by dishonest buyers and sucky PayPal policies.
    Last edited by AmberNax; 07-11-2015 at 07:06 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2015


    The single biggest plus for CL is that the seller has COMPLETE control over the sale from listing to final delivery. Another plus is that in some markets listings do not expire for 30 days or more.

    The single biggest minus for some items is the limited population base to draw from. If your item appeals to a large audience, CL will work fine in almost any market. If your item is a niche item only appealing to a worldwide audience of a few hundred people, CL is totally useless.

    Other limitations include:

    1) Sometimes being precluded from advertising your item outside of your local area as determined by your ISP even if a nearby CL makes more sense, like if you live in a rural area in a state bordering on a major metropolitan area in an adjacent state.
    2) Seven day advertising limits in major markets.
    3) Some items not free to list in some markets, but free to list in other markets.
    4) Based on what I see, roughly 20% of all ads keyword spam which is against CL TOS, and are never flagged off either by the community or by CL.
    5) Against TOS to list the same item concurrently on multiple CL sites, although in some areas the TOS are flagrantly ignored both by listers and by CL.
    5) Owned by eBay which can change the TOS at any time.

    That said, CL is a wonderful opportunity to take back control of your selling life.

    As for me, I seldom advertise on CL as what I sell seldom appeals to more than a handful of people world wide at any given time. Instead, I maintain a website of over 9,000 pages with a total of about 50,000 items always available. That generates about 3 sales per day netting about $100 per sale. Added to all of my long term customers going back 30 years, that provides a decent income.

    eBay? What a joke. When I sold on eBay, eBay took half of my gross, meaning that I was working for free. And that was before PP was mandated. Once PP was mandated, I closed down selling on eBay and no longer list there. There are only two reasons I keep my eBay account active 1) to buy stuff once in a while from eBay sellers, but I never use PP, and 2) to establish legitimacy to potential customers via my eBay feedback record over the last 10 plus years.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2015


    Thank you for your feedback PPSux. You brought up a good idea about running your own website if you are a specialty item seller to take more control of the selling process. Most of what I sell is common use and household items that sell well through local classifieds - and I would encourage more people to trade locally to safeguard yourself against chargebacks and scams.

    Recently found this free Canada classifieds website that by the looks of it is quite active with all sorts of listings for sale: [url=]Kijiji: Free Classifieds in Calgary. Find a job, buy a car, find a house or apartment, furniture, appliances and more![/url]

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2015


    Main problem with Craigslist is all the TIME you waste talking to people and the no shows for appointments. And even when they do meet they want to pay less than the advertised price.
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