Craigslist Buying Tips for Newbies

Workplace desk laptop computer notebook on table.

Craigslist is a haven for those who wish to buy and sell things with ease online, and, for many, there really is no better option than the site, which functions as a virtual garage sale. It is easier and less confusing than eBay and offers more regionally relevant listings for the buyer, though it does tend to favor specific categories such as furniture, pets, and technology.

There are a few things to watch out for when buying from Craigslist, however, because as well as being a haven for great deals, the site can also harbor some serious scams. Read on for a quick guide on how to safely purchase things from Craigslist sellers for the first time.

Be Wary of Online Scams

There are a few telltale signs and ways that you can quickly spot a Craigslist scam, and there are a few out there that are more common than you might think. Be wary of these kinds of signs and you’ll be well on your way to avoiding becoming a victim.

1) There is an abundance of spelling and grammatical errors. All grammar snobbery aside, if the listing is loaded with tons of grammatical and spelling errors, it could indicate that an overseas scammer posted the ad using automated translators or that the person behind the ad just couldn’t care less. Either way, it’s probably best to avoid listings of this nature because you could be walking into a scam.

2) Stock product photos. If you can’t find any photos of the product in bad lighting or in someone’s garage, and if all of the photos appear to be from a store website or are otherwise generic, don’t go for it – the seller may be trying to scam you.

How to Carefully Make Your Purchase

Here are some tips on how to proceed with the purchase of your product carefully and considerately.

  1. Ask detailed questions about the item you want to buy via e-mail or phone first. Be sure to ask as many questions as you need of the seller about the product, because they should be at least somewhat knowledgeable about what they are selling. It can be a smart move to also Google “common problems with X product” and how to spot a fake, especially if you are purchasing something that is older or technology-based.
  1. Look into the seller’s background online. You can search the seller’s e-mail address and phone number on both Craigslist and Google and look up their name on Facebook. Make sure they are real people in order to add an extra layer of credibility.
  1. Meet in a public location, such as Starbucks or the public library. If you meet in person, you are more likely to avoid a scam. To avoid the chance of being robbed, meet in a public place such as the lobby of a bank, Starbucks, or a public library.
  1. Get a receipt. If you are buying something expensive or valuable, insist upon a signed receipt with the seller’s details. Your receipt is the only proof of purchase that you have.

Taking Advantage of Technology

If you’re concerned about wanting to find something that others have also got their eye on (a record player or musical instrument, for example), never fear: technology has come to your rescue!

There is an app called Mokriya Craigslist that allows you to browse and post ads easily. The app will also search for what you want while you’re away from your phone, so you will never miss a great deal again. The app also alerts you when a product you are interested in is available.

Although Craigslist can seem scary, by following these tips, you will avoid many of the most common scams and pitfalls people encounter when buying something for the first time on Craigslist.

  • August 4th, 2016
  • Posted in: Avalon