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Old 05-25-2013, 08:00 PM   #1
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Default Interesting Craigslist adventure

We put my commuter car on Craigslist today, 1997 Mercury Tracer 177K miles, very clean and not rusty, and only $1500. This was DW's car until she bought here "retirement" CRV and I inherited it. For commuting it was good, 34mpg, but a small sedan hauls nothing, so I go the Roadmaster wagon, now that I am retired. For $1500 it was very clean and runs flawlessly, so we were very well priced. Got 3 calls right off in the morning, all said they were coming to look at it, all were told if others were coming besides them. First guy, of course, was told he was first at that point. One of the others got here before the first guy, and bought it for asking price on the spot. First guy showed up a bit later and then left when told it was sold. I got a nasty e-mail from him saying I was unethical, because I didn't take him at his word that he was coming. Surprised me a bunch. Craigslist folks are infamous for not showing up when they say they will, he didn't say he wanted it or settled on a price, and he didn't ask us to hold it for him. Was it sour grapes on his part, or did we owe him and obligation to wait? If we did have that obligation, what do you tell the guy who is offering asking price?
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Old 05-25-2013, 09:46 PM   #2
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Default Re: Interesting Craigslist adventure

Very disappointing for the guy I'm sure but no need to criticize you as you had not agreed to hold it, he did not request that you hold it, he did not say he wanted it and you had not agreed on a price.

The potential buyer has to be absolutely clear that he will purchase the item from you if it is exactly as described in the ad and you'd have to agree to hold it. Even then, as the seller, I put a time limit on it such as "I'll hold it for you until 1PM". If the buyer is coming from out of town I will obviously agree to hold it as long as the buyer has committed to purchase the item.

The first caller doesn't automatically have first right of refusal unless the seller extends that offer to them.

It is a good topic. Everyone involved needs to be as clear as possible. To me, the first person with the cash gets the item - unless I have committed to hold the item for someone else. If I have agreed to hold an item for someone then others are welcome to still come and see it but I won't sell it to them if I have agreed to hold it.

I try to avoid holding an item for anyone. That way you are free to sell it to the first person that shows up to see it and has the cash.

If you commit to hold the item for someone but sell it to someone else in the interim then the first person would be justified is thinking the seller is unethical. It is better to be true to your word.
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Old 05-25-2013, 10:02 PM   #3
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Default Re: Interesting Craigslist adventure

I had a similar situation a little over a year ago. I know how I feel when I go to get something and make the effort to drive and get cash, etc. and have the thing sold out from under me. So, I really grilled anyone who said they were on their way regarding what my responsibility was to them, how long I would wait, etc. I get their cell # if they have one, and I tell them they better call me if they are delayed.

As my situation turned out, I got three people who looked at it and turned it down (1992 Honda Civic w/35K miles for $2800.) One person made an offer, even though I clearly said in my ad "Please don't waste my time if you aren't going to meet my price." He offered $2500. On guy from Tacoma said he was on his way and would buy it if it was what I said it was (it was) (we're in Seattle about an hour away). I got 2 or 3 calls while he was on his way and told them they would have to wait since I had someone who was going to buy it on his way.

So, this brings me to your situation: Did you do wrong? Maybe a little for not explaining what you would do if someone made you a full price offer. There was no agreement between you and the first caller, but you did cost him some time and money by selling it before he got there.

Now I would think differently depending on exactly what was said. If you asked him for his cell # and he wouldn't give it to you, or if he said he was "really interested and would be there as soon as he could" those are two really different scenarios.

What I tell the guy offering asking price is that the other guy has first dibs, but I tell him before he comes over and makes the offer.

Mind you, this is all just my opinion.

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Old 05-25-2013, 10:38 PM   #4
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Default Re: Interesting Craigslist adventure

I have to agree with what Rocky says, no argument there, it is just very odd that I have never run across anyone in the past that didn't realize that just because you were the first to say you are coming to look, it didn't automatically make it on hold. I also have had stuff sold before I got there, so I certainly understand that side of it, but wrote it off to "first come first served". I certainly will make it perfectly clear in the future that things will be sold to whomever shows up first with asking price, unless other arrangements are made. I did get the cell phone numbers of the second and third callers (second one is the one that bought) so I could call them if it sold. Both call one and call three showed up right as the deal was made, so couldn't call in time. As it turned out, the guy that bought it had his brother in law come and look, and he lived within a couple of minutes of here. If the original caller had come (from much further away), he wouldn't have gotten here before caller one..

As I said, I will be very much more specific on future stuff, as it appears there are differing ideas of the proper rules.

What kind of percent of no shows do folks see in other parts of the country. Here in Minnesota, I would guess it is about 25% no show on low end cars, less than that on higher end cars. For general merchandise, the no show rate is much higher, probably approaching 50%. I think there are folks that try to get you to tell others it is sold, so when they show up much later, they can get it cheaper. (this has happened a couple of times to me, caller ID showed that the person that called two days later was the same one that said he was coming to buy the day it was listed and I was getting other calls, who I told it was sold.)
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Old 05-26-2013, 12:18 AM   #5
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Default Re: Interesting Craigslist adventure

Well, we all learn from our experiences. I do quite a bit of Kijiji and somehow or other you get to the point where you can generally tell a serious response from a time waster. If 2 people say they are coming, and the second one appears first, I hold off on the sale but take his/her phone # . I find it helps to keep the price firm, too.
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Old 05-26-2013, 01:13 AM   #6
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Default Re: Interesting Craigslist adventure

One thing I do is to set a time for the caller to visit. I've often told potential buyers to "call me before you come to make sure I still have it" if it is not clear when they are coming or if it is not clear that they are committed to the purchase. I don't want to waste their time or mine. If I have committed to a potential purchaser to let them have the first option to buy it then I take phone numbers of subsequent callers and say I'll call you back if the person doesn't take it.

You can see how easily a misunderstanding can easily occur.

On the buying side I make it very clear as well. Often I have to travel to get an item, might be 50 or a 100 miles. My van was 700 miles away. In those instances I'm very clear that I am purchasing the item if it as they described it and that they are holding it for me. I'd be very annoyed if I traveled 700 miles to get something that was sold by the time I got there.

Another key point is to be prepared handle the phone calls, set viewing times etc.
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Old 05-26-2013, 11:54 PM   #7
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Default Re: Interesting Craigslist adventure

I tried to sell my Escape on kijiji after the transmission failed almost 2 years ago, and had one caller show up. In a nutshell they said they were very interested, and when they finally showed up, much later than promised, they were just tire kickers. I eventually told them to get lost after they tried to low ball. A few days later I wound up selling it below ask to a wrecker, that paid more than the 2 clowns that tried to get me to give it to them offered. Generally it was a bad experience, but I sort of expected that considering the as is condition of the item. I've sold some small stuff on kijiji and haven't had a problem.

If I ever try it again, I think I might try making it an open auction, with a time limit.
"You are caller number 3. Callers number 1 and 2 are on their way here (address) right now. As per the ad, I will sell the item to the first buyer who meets the full cash asking price on the spot, or to the highest cash bidder if I receive 2 or more offers, before (your must sell by time) today. I will advise only the successful buyer by phone. Thanks for your interest, and good luck."

I think it puts you more in control of the situation. Either you get the full cash asking price on the spot, or you create a bidding war. You can also pick and choose who wins the bidding war, if you're satisfied with the best offer after your deadline. Or you can choose not to sell, if none of the offers is what you want.
I think it's fair to everybody, and I don't think it's an unethical approach, although I'm not sure how much of a part business ethics plays in a private sale. I guess if you plan on making a career of selling stuff on kijiji or craigslist, and there's a "sellers rating" system, it could red flag you for future sales attempts.
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Old 05-27-2013, 12:42 AM   #8
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Default Re: Interesting Craigslist adventure

I guess in the guys eyes, he was first.........you have to wait for him, ha!! Suppose he showed up and didn't buy! I wonder about if he had not bothered coming until about 4-5 hours later, and it was sold...........would he still be so indignite? I haven't had the pleasure of dealing with Craigs List.......but will probably do some business there. Safe travels.
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Old 06-08-2013, 03:48 PM   #9
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Default Re: Interesting Craigslist adventure

I suppose on a positive note you can be thankful that the purchaser was not the two fellows from Ontario that recently went to view and purchase a car advertised on Kijiji or some similar web site from a man in the Hamilton, Ontario area.

The purchasers came from the Toronto area to view and test drive the truck. The seller went with them and disappeared. His body was found several days later totally incinerated.

Two suspects have been arrested and charged with first degree murder. From what is being reported in the media these same persons had apparently called other sellers with a view to ďpurchasingĒ their vehicles.

I suppose in this case itís not just a case of buyer beware, but seller beware as well.

Itís a crazy, crazy world we live in and itís not getting any better.
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Old 06-08-2013, 04:07 PM   #10
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Default Re: Interesting Craigslist adventure

I have had horrid luck with CL. If I put something up for sale, I will have plenty of people ringing my phone or sending E-mails (both in broken English) offering to send me cashier's checks for totals way above the selling price (provided I send them the item and cash over the amount by Moneypak or Western Union.) However, any real non-scammers are hard to find.

I've also learned to use a disposable cell phone and E-mail address when dealing on CL as well. Amazing how ticked someone gets when you refuse to buy something from them because they demanded that the serial numbers on the item they are selling should never be looked up.

I wish someone would make a service similar to eBay, except take an active role in the process. Seller ships the item to the auction house, the auction house vets its quality and checks it out, then the buyer buys from the auction house, and the AH ships the item directly. Of course, this would cost more for transaction fees to offset the added warehousing and item vetting costs, but the buyer would be assured of what they get, and the seller would be assured payment.
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