Monday, May 23, 2011

Craigslist Drama

Dave and I have been using Craigslist to sell our furniture, and it's been quite an experience. Listing something on Craigslist is easy enough, but I wasn't prepared for the bizarre scammery that goes along with using the site.

For example, I make it clear in all our ads that we want local buyers and cash only. Early on, I had one potential buyer contact me and say that he wanted an item, but was overseas at the time and would have his assistant send us a money order. I initially said yes, thinking that a money order would probably be OK and I could hold the item until it cleared. But then he gave me a song-and-dance about his assistant mistakenly sending too much, and would I wire back the difference? I was like, "Dude, you have GOT to be kidding."

Needless to say, no money order ever came, and I even more adamantly insist on cash.

Lots of people send cryptic notes saying things like "Still available?" immediately after an ad is posted. I initially replied to these inquiries, resisting the urge to say, "Well, I just posted the ad two hours ago, so yeah, it's still available." Then I realized they aren't interested in the item at all -- they just want my e-mail address, which Craigslist cloaks until I respond to a potential buyer. Apparently these addresses are sold to marketers. Seems like a tedious way to make a buck, but I suppose it's no worse than working at McDonald's.

Finally, I've had a ton of replies from people who send strangely worded sentences and a fake phone number. Here are two actual examples:

-- "Hey there be sure to call me 765-187-9978. Actually Buh bye."
-- "Heya pls call me 034-947-0300. Say thanks a ton. Kreiger"

I'm not quite sure what's up with these. My guess is they're fishing for my e-mail address, expecting me to write back saying "Hey, your number doesn't work." Even better if I call them and they somehow capture my phone number and pair it with my e-mail address. I don't write back, though, and I certainly don't call.

So, what a strange world Craigslist is! The good news, though, is that we have successfully sold several pieces of furniture. Once you've used the site a short time, it becomes pretty obvious who's scamming and who's sincere.

(Photo: Upper East Side, May 13)


  1. How weird. I've used Craigslist here in DC several times but have not received the weird one-line emails or the scam replies. I wonder why?

    Well, it's all part of the adventure of moving, yes?

    I am SO GLAD you are blogging right now. Yeah!!!!

  2. Steve !!! Wow on the move to London. And it's great that you are blogging again. I will be keeping up with you wherever you go and look forward to seeing London through your eyes. xoxo from The Prairie.

  3. Thanks for the Craigslist education! Fascinating.

  4. I love the concept of Craigslist. My children have furnished complete apartments with it. One person's discards are just what someone else needs. But your experience would indicate that one has to always be on guard.

  5. CL is da bomb fo pimpin' ho's.