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#1
Old 10-24-2009, 07:46 AM
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Advice for selling on Craigslist?

A friend suggests that I could/should sell my old computer on Craigslist. I've never done so before. Any advice/warnings/suggestions on how to go about this? I know about the "pay more than asking price" scam just from reading about it.
#2
Old 10-24-2009, 09:33 AM
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I've sold a couple of things on CL (furniture and appliances, not a computer). You should price the item slightly above the amount that you hope to get because most buyers will want to bargain. You may get some extreme bargaining attempts like "my computer died when my basement flooded and I really need a new computer because I'm a single mom and I work from home and I can only afford to pay $5." Some CL sellers put their phone number in the ad. I've never done that (instead CL has an anonymous email response built in), and it has worked just fine to correspond by email and only give my phone number to the person who is coming to buy the item. Don't be too surprised if you set up a time for someone to come by to purchase the item, and they don't show up. For this reason, if I get multiple replies I never tell the 2nd or 3rd responders "no" until after the item is actually gone. If you are having the buyer come to your home, any of the usual precautions associated with having a stranger in your home apply. I have always asked for payment in cash.

Edit: Make the description as detailed as possible or else you will get lots of replies asking for more info.

Last edited by Pray for peace; 10-24-2009 at 09:38 AM.
#3
Old 10-24-2009, 10:11 AM
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I've given this advice several times on this board: do not allow email contact. That opens you up to all kinds of scams and spams. Even though initial email contact is through the CL server, your answer will show your return email address. I only allow phone contact, and can get a pretty good feel for serious buyers that way. FWIW, I've sold two cars and a lot of other stuff on CL without problem.
#4
Old 10-24-2009, 10:15 AM
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As indicated above, make a very detailed description. Include a photo. Have a reasonable price with room for bargaining.

I include my phone number and have had nothing but success at selling a variety of things. I love craigslist.
#5
Old 10-24-2009, 11:09 AM
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I agree about getting on the phone as soon as possible. Otherwise, both parties end up playing "email tag" and not knowing when or if the other guy is going to respond. The seller doesn't know if the buyer is serious, and the buyer doesn't know if the item is still available.

Having a picture usually makes things a lot easier to sell, although that might not apply as much to a computer where it's mostly about the specs that you can list.
#6
Old 10-24-2009, 11:38 AM
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Expect idiots. You can be selling a PC. You'll describe it as a PC. You'll confirm that it is a PC in an email or by phone. And some will come by to look at it and go, 'Oh, I thought it was an Apple.'
#7
Old 10-24-2009, 11:43 AM
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Name a price and your actual location. Don't get smart with them; it just pisses people off.

Meet in a public place (maybe not too practical for a desktop, but simple for a laptop). Safer for both parties.

Accept cash ONLY.

Take good pictures. It doesn't matter as much for a computer, but for anything where appearance is important, you should probably use the included pic service AND link to higher-res photos elsewhere on the web.

I've never had a problem with email contact, contrary to posters above, but then again I use Gmail and it miraculously weeds out even the spam that look like offers while letting all the legitimate ones through. Black magic, really.

Accept cash ONLY!

Offer to let the buyers test out your equipment before purchasing. Show them that the computer boots, everything works, etc.

If you had anything sensitive on that computer, wipe the hard drive and reinstall before you sell it.
#8
Old 10-24-2009, 11:49 AM
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After the item is sold, you can delete your ad to avoid getting additional phone calls. I was surprised by the large number of responses I received in a short amount of time after posting the ad. I was able to sell most of my items on the same day that I posted the ad.
#9
Old 10-24-2009, 12:19 PM
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Even if you set up a specific time and state that it is carved in stone and will survive a nuclear blast, you will get calls asking if they can come by RIGHT NOW. This happened with a 1997-era computer I sold on CL. For this reason, state that it is first-come first-serve and make no promises to hold the item, in case of a no-show or someone getting there first.
#10
Old 10-24-2009, 07:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reply View Post
Offer to let the buyers test out your equipment before purchasing. Show them that the computer boots, everything works, etc.

If you had anything sensitive on that computer, wipe the hard drive and reinstall before you sell it.
One thing that concerns me: I took out the HD entirely because I wasn't sure I'd be able to wipe it properly. Obviously, that lowers the price, but is there a way to allow folks to test it?
#11
Old 10-24-2009, 07:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leaper View Post
One thing that concerns me: I took out the HD entirely because I wasn't sure I'd be able to wipe it properly. Obviously, that lowers the price, but is there a way to allow folks to test it?
Well, you could run your standard undelete/unformat utilities on the drive to see if you can recover anything, but true data recovery is usually limited to the experts.

But if you run something like DBAN or another byte-randomizing (or even just zeroing) utility, unless the drive possesses national security secrets or something, you should be fine. What's on the system? Your finances, emails, porn, etc.? More likely than not, nobody will care.

Selling the computer without a hard drive and OS is a bad idea because it severely limits your market; the only people who would be interested would be enthusiasts looking for parts. Wipe the drive, put it back in and install either a copy of Windows (if you have one lying around) or least something like Ubuntu so an average buyer can at least go online, use OpenOffice, etc.

Last edited by Reply; 10-24-2009 at 07:48 PM.
#12
Old 10-24-2009, 07:50 PM
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I should've clarified: it's way too late. The drive is LONG gone. :P I just wasn't thinking about resale value at the time; I didn't think it would have much, if any, value even with a HD (it's eight years old with 512 MB RAM, exactly the reasons I was shopping for a new one in the first place).

Last edited by Leaper; 10-24-2009 at 07:51 PM.
#13
Old 10-24-2009, 08:32 PM
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An 8-year desktop? Wow... you're probably right

Be surprised if you could get $20 for it. I'd probably just list it under Free Stuff, personally.
#14
Old 10-24-2009, 09:15 PM
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Well, two possible factors:

1) It's a Mac (G4). Might that make a difference?

2) I can also buy a used HD for under $15, so that's always an option.
#15
Old 10-25-2009, 01:25 AM
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Oh. Not sure about Macs, sorry.
#16
Old 10-25-2009, 01:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cat Fight View Post
Expect idiots. You can be selling a PC. You'll describe it as a PC. You'll confirm that it is a PC in an email or by phone. And some will come by to look at it and go, 'Oh, I thought it was an Apple.'
Apple does make personal computers you know.

OP- expect every sort of scam in the universe. And dumbasses.
#17
Old 10-25-2009, 12:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leaper View Post
I should've clarified: it's way too late. The drive is LONG gone. :P I just wasn't thinking about resale value at the time; I didn't think it would have much, if any, value even with a HD (it's eight years old with 512 MB RAM, exactly the reasons I was shopping for a new one in the first place).
I gave a similar drive-less old computer away for free on Craigsist and I was happy to get rid of it. I wouldn't expect that anyone would buy it. Granted, it was not a Mac, but eight year old computers in general don't have a lot of value.

Last edited by fluiddruid; 10-25-2009 at 12:23 PM.
#18
Old 10-26-2009, 08:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chefguy View Post
I've given this advice several times on this board: do not allow email contact. That opens you up to all kinds of scams and spams. Even though initial email contact is through the CL server, your answer will show your return email address. I only allow phone contact, and can get a pretty good feel for serious buyers that way. FWIW, I've sold two cars and a lot of other stuff on CL without problem.
I disagree with this.

It's very simple to combat e-mail scamming. There are two things you can do:

1. Post a dummy ad shortly after your real ad, selling something (mostly unrelated to your actual item) in the same category. People who reply to both ads in a short period of time are spam.

2. Use a secondary e-mail address. Everyone has a second e-mail address, right? Gmail allows you to connect two (or more) accounts together, so that I can send e-mail from Account 1 that's actually from Account 2.

Also - make your ad as detailed as possible. I hate reading ads that give no information. Plus, it'll make whatever price you set that much more reasonable. (If you know what you're selling, you know what the price should be.)
#19
Old 10-26-2009, 01:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Munch View Post
1. Post a dummy ad shortly after your real ad, selling something (mostly unrelated to your actual item) in the same category. People who reply to both ads in a short period of time are spam.
Please don't spam Craigslist in an effort to combat spam.
#20
Old 10-26-2009, 02:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reply View Post
Please don't spam Craigslist in an effort to combat spam.
I'm not combating spam - I'm trying to identify it for my own personal gain. It's selfish and it wastes your time, but it saves me a shitload of it.
#21
Old 10-26-2009, 03:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Munch View Post
I disagree with this.

It's very simple to combat e-mail scamming. There are two things you can do:

1. Post a dummy ad shortly after your real ad, selling something (mostly unrelated to your actual item) in the same category. People who reply to both ads in a short period of time are spam.

2. Use a secondary e-mail address. Everyone has a second e-mail address, right? Gmail allows you to connect two (or more) accounts together, so that I can send e-mail from Account 1 that's actually from Account 2.

Also - make your ad as detailed as possible. I hate reading ads that give no information. Plus, it'll make whatever price you set that much more reasonable. (If you know what you're selling, you know what the price should be.)
Seems like a lot of hassle. I prefer to not engage in email give and take with a buyer, serious or not.
#22
Old 10-26-2009, 04:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chefguy View Post
Seems like a lot of hassle. I prefer to not engage in email give and take with a buyer, serious or not.
I'm the opposite - I don't want to give out my number unless there's a high probability of it being the final seller/buyer. 6 of one, etc. I just hate talking on the phone with strangers.
#23
Old 10-27-2009, 02:06 AM
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Please please PLEASE meet in a well lit, public place. I can't overemphasize this enough. My mom thought that selling stuff on Craigslist would be a breeze, and she could be available for more hours at home! WRONG! You don't want a crazy knowing where you live.

There are many Craigslist success stories - just last week I purchased a lovely silicone bakeware set from a very nice guy in the Starbucks of his workplace for $10. Brand new, retailed for $40.
#24
Old 10-27-2009, 02:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cat Fight View Post
Expect idiots. You can be selling a PC. You'll describe it as a PC. You'll confirm that it is a PC in an email or by phone. And some will come by to look at it and go, 'Oh, I thought it was an Apple.'
This. I posted a 19" CRT for free, with a picture even, and got nearly a dozen emails asking about it and talking about how little space they had on their desks. Eventually someone took it, but it had been sitting outside for two days by then, so...
#25
Old 10-27-2009, 02:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chefguy View Post
I've given this advice several times on this board: do not allow email contact. That opens you up to all kinds of scams and spams. Even though initial email contact is through the CL server, your answer will show your return email address. I only allow phone contact, and can get a pretty good feel for serious buyers that way. FWIW, I've sold two cars and a lot of other stuff on CL without problem.
When I sold a car on craigslist and put my phone number in the ad, I got multiple calls a day from some damn machine recording that wanted me to list it with their service.

I took the number out of the ad and the calls stopped. Telephone spam is much more disruptive than email spam.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cat Fight
Expect idiots.
So true. I had a guy call me, on the street outside my place, telling me he couldn't find it. He read off the numbers on the houses (all even), and said that my address (odd) wasn't there. Seriously, dude, you're going to buy a car, but you haven't figured out that even addresses aren't on the same side of the street as odd ones?
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