22 Dec 2011

How not to buy through Craigslist

Before buying anything on Craigslist, everyone should know one important thing.

If the item you’re buying is used, then it’s obvious that you’re going to want to inspect the item in person before you buy. And, depending on the condition, you may want to negotiate the price.

However, if the item is brand new and sealed, and you know exactly what the retail price should be, negotiating should happen before agreeing to meet. You do not agree to purchase, arrange to meet up, and at the last minute try to get the item for less.

This exact thing happened to me yesterday. At my company Christmas party I won a Playstation 3 in the raffle. Great I thought, I’ll just sell this on Craigslist. It’s worth $250 new (plus tax), so I put it up for $230. I thought it was reasonable, as it’s brand new, and Playstations have a fixed priced, and are rarely discounted.

So, here is the conversation when she calls me.

Buyer: “How much are you selling your PS3 for?”

Me: “It’s listed on the ad I placed.”

Buyer: “I know, but I don’t have that in front of me.”

Me: “Then where did you get my number from?”

Buyer “Um…..”

Me: “It’s $250”

Buyer: “I though you were only asking for $230”

Me: “Then why did you ask?”

Buyer: “Um….”

Me: “Do you want to buy it for $230, or not?”

Buyer: “Yes, I want it. Can we meet in an hour at X place?”

Me: “Yes, see you there.”

I then arrive, and we meet. I show her the Playstation, and she puts her hands in her pockets looking for money.

Buyer: “Um… I was wondering if you’d take $215 for it.”

Me: “No. We already agreed to a price. You can’t change it now.”

Buyer: “But I was just wondering if you would take less.”

Me: “No. We already agreed to $230.”

Buyer: “But I only have $215.”

Me: “We already agreed on the price, and you’re banking on me just caving and dropping the price because I already drove out here. I’m leaving.”

Buyer: “Oh wait, I think I have an extra $15 dollars.”