Over the years I’ve bought and sold many things by way of Craigslist, and based on my experiences alone it’s obvious there needs to be a definitive list of dos and don’ts that everyone should absolutely follow, no excuses. So with that, I present to you...
The (mostly) Definitive Guide to Craigslist Etiquette
- Be as detailed as possible in your description. Makes no difference whether you’re selling a teapot or a Benz, provide every possible detail. I write very detailed descriptions for every single thing I sell, and I reserve the right to ignore the hell out of people who ask questions that were answered in the listing.
- Do your homework and check to see what others are asking for similar items before you go asking hundreds for something like a cheap Ikea dresser. (thanks to Rev_Crackle_Repeat for this one)
- Do not, under any circumstances, use all caps anywhere in your listing, including in the title. When you use all caps you look like an idiot, and people don’t like to buy things from idiots.
- Don’t post the same item more than once, especially in the same area/category. Again with the looking like an idiot thing, and a desperate idiot at that.
- Don’t be lazy - post photos, and make them good. A single blurry photo taken from across the street through your living room window of the 1995 Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera you’re trying to sell does not in any way inspire buyer confidence.
- When you sell and item, delete the listing immediately. There’s no excuse for this. As a seller I hate answering the inevitable, “Is the [item] still for sale?” and as a buyer it’s so annoying to find an item I want only to reach out and have the seller say, “Sold that yesterday.” Delete. Your. Listing.
- Don’t be lazy - it’s your responsibility to read the entire listing before reaching out. There’s nothing a seller hates more than having to field questions that have already been answered in a listing. Truth is you’ll likely get ignored, deservedly so.
- If you’re interested in an item and reach out to the seller by way of email or text, always carry the conversation to its logical conclusion. If there turns out to be something about the item that makes you lose interest, say so, don’t leave them hanging. If you make a plan to meet the seller and something comes up, even if that something is just that you changed your mind, say so, don’t leave them hanging. People’s time is valuable and when you make a plan to meet and arbitrarily decide to not show, that automatically makes you a dick.
- If you set up a time to meet and have every intention of following through, make damn sure you get to that meeting on time. Check Google Maps for traffic, leave early, secure a ride in advance, pump up the tires on your bicycle - whatever it is you need to do to get there on time, just do it. You’re not running late, you’re being inconsiderate.
That’s the short of it. Yes, there’s definitely more to add to this list, so please, contribute below and all worthy additions will be added.
I’d also like to post some examples of how not to conduct business via Craigslist, like this little dandy of an email exchange I participated in just this evening. I’m selling a Pebble Steel, and this is how it went:
Buyer: “ Hi I’m interested in you smart watch”
Buyer: “ Ok were are you and went can I go see texme [number]”
Me: “Like the ad says, the watch is available Monday through Friday between 9A and 6P at 181 2nd St in SOMA.”
Buyer: “Ok were is exactly the address to go see tomorrow”
Me: Shakes head, clicks delete
What sort of magical exchanges have you had via Craigslist that have made you question the viability of human beings as a species?