Ask the Readers: Do You Use Craigslist?

By Ashley Jacobs on 8 March 2011 (Updated 15 March 2011) 130 comments
Photo: iStockPhoto

Editor's Note: Congratulations to Bill G., @smanukonda, and Lori Hanisko for winning this week's contest!

Chances are you have heard of Craigslist and (more than likely) you have perused its for sale section, used it for an apartment search, or even used it to sell items. Personally, I have used Craigslist to successfully find an apartment as well as buy and sell everything from TV's to surfboards. However, I know there are many people out there who have gotten ripped off when using Craigslist.

Do you use Craigslist? Why or why not? What is the best deal you found on Craigslist? What about the worst? How do you avoid getting ripped off when using Craigslist?

Tell us about your Craigslist experiences and we'll enter you in a drawing to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!

Win 1 of 3 $20 Amazon Gift Cards

We're doing three giveaways — one for random comments, one for random Facebook "Likes", and another one for random tweets.

Enter 1 of 3 Ways:

  • Post your answer in the comments below, or
  • Go to our Facebook page, "Like" us, then "Like" the update mentioning this giveaway (you can comment, as well — but you don't have to for entry), or
  • Tweet your answer. You have to be a follower of our @wisebread account. Include both "@wisebread" and "#WBAsk" in your tweet so we'll see it and count it.

If you're inspired to write a whole blog post OR you have a photo on flickr to share, please link to it in the comments or tweet it.

Giveaway Rules:

  • Contest ends Monday, March 14th at 11:59 pm Pacific. Winners will be announced after March 14th on the original post and via Twitter. Winners will also be contacted via email, Facebook, and Twitter Direct Message.
  • You can enter all three drawings — once by leaving a comment, once by liking our Facebook update, and once by tweeting.
  • You must be 18 and US resident to enter. Void where prohibited.

Good Luck!

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Guest's picture
KelR1

Honestly, I have never used Craigslist at all. I know some people say they've had great experiences and found excellent bargains on there, but it sort of scares me from all the negative stories I've heard. I feel like I would end up with really gross used stuff and have to deal with scary (possibly dangerous) weirdos. I would probably never buy or sell on Craigslist.

Guest's picture
Judy

Not as much anymore, but I did use it a lot when I had a newborn-18 month old for clothes. I still check it out once in a while, but there's not much I really need lately.

Guest's picture
Kristin

I haven't sold anything on craigslist, but I have found it to be a good place to purchase furniture and toys. I bought an entertainment center that came with a tv and a play kitchen for my daughter. I'm always on the lookout for small and inexpensive pieces of furniture which I could refurbish. It's nice to be able to go look at something before purchasing.

Guest's picture
Maria S

I love it!

Guest's picture
Meg

I've been selling my kids' out-grown toys on Craig's List. I love it! Buyers get a good deal and I get rid of stuff quickly while recouping some money. I always get the full asking price (much, much more than a garage sale price) and I never have to pay Ebay a 10% fee. I get cash on the spot which is always great- again, no Ebay/PayPal charge.

Guest's picture
barb

I have used Craigslist extensively for several years. Examples are 2 pet cats which I acquired and lots of buying and selling of household items, including furniture. I have made a fair amount of money buying low and selling high. So far, all good experiences.

Guest's picture
BRB

I do really like CL for lots of things especially jobs and the fact that it is free. I do have to say that it can be kind of a hassle when you are trying to give things away or sell them. You can tell who has given away or sold things away before on CL because these are the people that have the listings with all of the specifics about the purchase, ie will not hold or deliver, etc etc. It leads to people looking grumpy, buy idiots will email you and ask dumb questions constantly if you don't put down the parameters right in the ad and sometimes they still do.

Guest's picture
Eva Whitley

Thanks to Craigslist, I got a creepy stalker, absolutely free. Of course, I didn't WANT a stalker, I wanted to find a car pool from my home to work, a distance of about 15 miles. My first ad didn't receive any response, so on my second try I mentioned that I had a handicapped hang tag (because, ironically enough, I AM handicapped) that would allow anyone who drove me to work to park for free. I did not say we would be parking in handicapped parking. I did not say I was offering to sell it. I did not mention that I was handicapped because I thought it was self-evident.

I had forgotten nearly all people consider themselves the "truly handicapped enforcement squad." They operate under the principle that almost everyone using a cane, having a handicapped parking tag, or qualifying for a handicapped discount is just faking it.

Hundreds of people managed to read what I wrote and ignored it, or stifled the impulse to swing into action. Three people, with questionable reading skills, decided that I wasn't handicapped and I was either offering to sell my tag, and decided (in one case) they would socially engineer my telephone number out of me and call me up to scream at me, never giving me a chance to explain, and two people managed to find my cell phone number and sent grammatically shaky texts. (One of whom claimed she was a lawyer. If so, law school standards for writing have really dropped.)

I called the police to protect myself (and also to find out if what I offered was illegal, and it isn't) and ended up having to change my cell phone number. However, beyond an email address and home telephone number, I couldn't identify the man who kept calling me to scream at me, and who did not want to hear any explanations from me.

And that's where it stood until he discovered I had printed the personal information I had on him in my blog because I was afraid he would escalate his harassment and I wanted to remove some of his anonymity. I had just been discharged from a week's stay in the hospital and he called to scream about having his telephone number and email address published and about lazy government employees who are home in the middle of the day (I work in a government building as a contractor).

So I went online to discover his full name on 4chan.org/b, home of "Anonymous," a hacker group. He was identified as an "Internet tough guy" and members were urged to harass him. So I called the police, gave them that information, and haven't heard from him since.

I am amused that Craigslist enabled this bad behavior and a group of computer hackers put a stop to it. Proof that there's good even in the bad!

I have no idea if Craigslist is still a good way to get a stalker, but I'm sure answering some of the dating ads might be a good way to get one.

Ashley Jacobs's picture

Yikes! That's awful! I'm sorry that happened to you! :(

Guest's picture
Jen

I use Craigslist mainly for larger items that I don't want to ship, like ski racks, bikes, etc. Just takes some time, being patient with all those people who look, but don't buy.

Guest's picture
Jessie

I use craigslist for everything from buying electronics to meeting new folks. I also had some success in getting interviews posted on there.

Guest's picture
Kandace

We've used Craigslist to sell, not buy. When we've sold it's been furniture, so they've had to come to our home. Ack! We put things out in the garage and husband interacts and I stay in the house, with phone handy in case something happens. Always be careful when selling/buying on Craigslist. Most people are probably innocent but just use your head.

Guest's picture
Kimberly

I like to look at the wanted posts on craigslist.

Ashley Jacobs's picture

Me too! I always hope I can find someone who wants something I have so I can make a little extra money, but I haven't had any luck with that strategy yet.

Guest's picture
Daniel

I use craigslist all the time, especially the free section. I've gotten lots of really nice furniture for free just because people were moving and didn't want to take it with them. I have also used CL to find jobs, one of which lasted for almost three years.

Guest's picture
Reader

Yes, it's a good way to sell off clutter.

Guest's picture
Raina

I've bought and sold on Craigslist; it's convenient and free, unlike other sites that want commission. I'm pretty sure I even found my current job a few years ago from a Craigslist posting that a placement agency had posted.

Guest's picture
Guest

We had to come up with some money to make our rent so we refinished a desk and credenza and posted it for $750. It'd been several days and we hadn't gotten any responses. On the morning of the day our rent was to be paid, I got an email from someone who was interested in the furniture for the exact amount we needed. We delivered the set that day and paid our rent. 99% of the time I've had great experiences and recognize that most people are fundamentally good but I always trust my intuition. I'd much rather meet someone in town at a busy place then have them come to my home if I'm unsure.

Guest's picture
Katie

I mainly use craigslist to look for jobs. It's a great tool for finding work. I've looked at some of the adds, but I've never had the guts to purchase anything. I've also subleased my apartment via Craigslist. It's a very good resource, if you know how to sort through the rubbish to find the good offers and opportunities.

Guest's picture
Lynda

yes i do. best deal - canon rebel for 400 buckaroos!

Guest's picture
lsharp

Yes, we buy and sell. We like the local aspect of it that we don't need to deal with shipping and we can see the product before purchasing it.

Guest's picture
Betty

I used Craig's list when I was looking for a used car for my daughter. I had to weed through the scams and crazies, but did find her a good car!

Guest's picture
Carmen

I've tried using Craigslist - and I still check it occasionally. But I have had no luck selling various household items, and the couple of times I've tried to buy something, they have already sold it (even though they just posted a couple of hours before).

Guest's picture
Darlene

I've sold stuff on Craigslist -- mostly furniture and things that would be too expensive or impossible to ship if sold on eBay or similar. I've had good and bad experiences. Craigslist seems to have a high percentage of flakes -- people who say they are going to stop by and look at your item, but then they never show up. That's frustrating and annoying.

My partner used Craigslist for jobhunting when he was laid off last summer, and I was horrified (though not exactly surprised) at how many scam ads there are on there now. Job ads that looked perfectly legit, but then when you send in your resume, they email you back expressing enthusiastic interest in you. And wanting you to click on their link, go to their site, and put in your social and all your personal information so they can "run a pre-employment credit check" on you. Uh-huh. Sure. We'll get right on that.

Guest's picture
Teacher

When my daughter got married two years ago, she had her heart set on a $1,500 dress. With a limited wedding budget, she realized that $350 was a more reasonable amount. She was able to find the exact dress on Craigslist! We met the seller at an outlet mall, where a store allowed my daughter to try it on. (I called ahead of time.) The saved money bought flowers, bridesmaid dresses, flower girl dresses, and rented the tuxes!

Guest's picture
Jeannine

The thing I like about craigslist is that it has been a win-win situation for both the buyer and seller. I bought the perfect coffee table from a nice young couple. We found my son's dream desk from someone who found it to be cluttering up a corner. I get something I need at a price that makes it possible, they are getting some cash from something that is now clutter for them. I always go with someone when making a purchase, but have been fortunate to only have dealt with a lot of pleasant people.

Guest's picture
indio

I've experienced both the buy and sell side of CL.
I sold my 6 year old Volkswagen Passat to a guy that paid using a cashier's check drawn on an investment account. I was worried about being scammed and so was he. I held on to the plates until the check cleared and we both had a happy ending.
I've bought two times off CL. Recently I purchased two chickens from a guy that lived in the city. Immediately I thought it was a set up because no one, that I've ever heard of, keeps 15 chickens or has a backyard in the city, except for this guy.

Guest's picture
Mike in VA

I love craigslist. I have two young kids who grow like weeds. While I'd love to buy all their clothes at expensive stores, I know better. Through craigslist I have outfitted my daughter with the next years worth of clothes for less than $100. For reference that I'd my household quarterly budget on clothes and shoes - did I mention kids grow fast?

Guest's picture
Liz B.

Yes, I have used CraigsList. I bought a gorgeous dining room table, 6 chairs and a buffet AND I got them to deliver it. Two months later I bought a chandelier from another Craigslist seller -- and it matches the dining room set perfectly.

Guest's picture
terrellterp

I've never used Craigslist. I don't have big items to get rid of. The small items I have - I take to work to see if anyone wants them.. the rest I give to Goodwill.