The Unwritten Rules of Buying on Craigslist

From a buyer standpoint, Craigslist rarely has any rules. That doesn’t mean unwritten rules don’t exist. If you want to score the best deals and keep repeat sellers on your good side, continue reading on.

Only Go After Items You Are Interested In

Craigslist sellers rarely sell on Craigslist for a living. They are either trying to make some extra cash or de-junk their homes. They don’t have time to waste going back and forth exchanging over 20 emails only to have the interested party say “you know what, I don’t think I am interested anymore.” It is okay to ask legitimate questions to find out if the item is worth the buy or the trip, but don’t lead the seller on. Yes, this really does happen and some people do it just for the fun of it. If you want to play a game, go play checkers with the little kid next door.

Answer Your Emails

If you contact a seller by email, they will respond by email especially if you don’t provide them with a phone number. Guess what that means? You will get emails, so make sure you check yours. Don’t rip the seller a new one when they decided after a week of you not answering their emails to sell to someone else. It was your fault and your fault alone.

Price is Firm Actually Means Price is Firm

Many people consider Craigslist to be a glorified yard sale. At yard sales, you haggle for a better price and you can do the same on Craigslist. However, save yourself time and a few nasty emails; avoid haggling with sellers who state “price is firm.” They are either broke or have a gambling debt they need to cover. They are telling you upfront the answer is no. Try haggling with a “price is firm” seller and you may actually get a “listen moron, do you know how to read” email in response.

If You Say You Are Going to Show Up – Do It

Ask any regular Craigslist seller what their biggest pet peeve is and most will say (aside from people who ask stupid questions), people who don’t show up. If you agree to buy an item from Craigslist and agree to meet the seller, actually show up. If you have a last minute change of heart, have the common decency to at least send an email. This is vital if you are meeting your seller in a public place. They will be foaming at the mouth if you leave them waiting in the parking lot of Burger King for two hours only to never show. You never know when you may run into that seller on Craigslist again.