By on June 26, 2014

squidoo

If there is a hell, you will probably find it on Craigslist.

Also, if there is a Santa Claus, you will probably find him performing some advanced NSA style hacking that tracks all the emails and texts people like me have to endure.

I’m pretty sure that Saint Nick would also have an amazing Craigslist to English translator for that purpose.

“Wut” very roughly translate to what, of course…. unless “wut” happens to be a typo, in which case, start thinking of words that end with “ut.”

“Whass u got???” is, “Excuse my kind sir, but I have texted 33 people in the last 22 minutes. I can’t even remember why I texted you but… whass u got?”

I miss the good old days.

10 years ago, the average person you dealt with on Craigslist was a professional in many respects. They knew what they were buying. They knew that it would take a reasonable amount of cash money to buy it. And they knew that their free time shouldn’t have to become your time to the tune of 13 texts that could mostly be answered by just reading the ad.

These days I feel like I’m left with the far left hand side of the bell curve. Of course, there are a few stragglers that find a way of making it to the middle of that curve and beyond. But most times, I’m left to deal with folks with those 13 questions that are spelling catastrophes, and a budget that has mostly champagne on the mind and Schlitz in the wallet.

So, I may as well have fun with it. Here is a nice little cheat sheet that will help you translate those terrible texts with high annoyance, and low rates of sales success.
Text message: “What is your absolute lowest price?”Translation “Whatever you say, I’m going to try to knock it down another 50%. You’re welcome!”

Text: “R u farm? I have $$$!!!”

Translation: I am the doofus who hogs the computers at the public library playing Farmville. I have no $$$!!!.

Text: “What’s the lowest you’ll go?”

Translation: Because whatever you say, it will never be low enough.

Text: “Is it a diesel?”

Translation: I am confused. What does the word gas mean in the description? Also, is this 30 year old Mercedes cheap to own?

Text: “Is it a V8?”

Translation: I can only afford to look at pictures while goofing off in high school. You mentioning that it is a V8 in the title AND description has no bearing on my current reading level. 

Text: Can you send me pics?

Translation: Because 24 pictures of a 15 year old Ford Escort wagon is certainly not enough!

Text: “Can you come to my place?”

Translation: No, trust me. You don’t want to go anywhere near my place.

Text: Can I check it out? What is the VIN#? Any mechanical issues? What about maintenance? Did it pass emissions? Tires?
Translation: I am going to drive your car for an hour and a half. Then give you a checklist of all the things wrong with your car. Even the ashtray I’ll never use! I will do this on the nicest day of the year.  
Text: Kelly Blue Book says your car is only worth $2400.
Translation: Assuming your five year old Impala has 280,000 miles… is in poor condition… is a base model… and has a rebuilt title.
Text: Does it have leather seats?
Translation: I will lie to you and say I want cloth instead.
Text: Does it have a 5-speed?
Translation: I don’t know how to drive one. But can I practice on yours?
Text: Are you the original owner?
Translation: What does one owner mean?
Text: I have cash money!
Translation: But not enough to buy your car.
Text: My mom needs a car and I have $1200 in cash. Can we work out a deal?
Translation: My mom is really my father’s cousin’s former roommate from Hoboken, and he knows absolutely nothing about this.
Text: Would you mind if I combine the test drive with some local shopping? I have to get…
Translation: The keys are in my hand. The tank is full, and that back seat has my girlfriend’s name written all over it.
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150 Comments on “Hammer Time: Craigslist English...”


  • avatar
    VoGo

    Reading this, I am thinking that if CarMax offers me within $2K of what the car is worth, they can have it. Selling through CraigsList is aggravation I really don’t need.

  • avatar
    SomeGuy

    I feel your pain man. When I used to sell cars, nothing was more annoying than dealing with poorly worded emails. Nearly all of the time they amounted to nothing, but I attribute it to the location of the dealer I was at.

    What was worse was the phone calls. You get on the phone with a guy and you’d tell him MSRP is $XX,XXX, but with all the GM discounts available, he could get it for $3k to $4k less, so his price was $YY,YYY. Then he’d come back and say: Well I’m not doing it for anything less than $Z, which was nearly always 10%-20% less than Y.

    Then the classic line comes up:

    “Well X dealer is offering it at that price.”

    Seeing as I can look at the invoice on the same car…Nope, they aren’t.

    I don’t know how you do it man.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnnyFirebird

      The sub-$4000 car market is one big headache as a retailer. You can’t finance it, even if the car passes your garage’s inspection process there are bound to be unforeseen issues, and any fixes / negotiation a client wants will basically void out any profit unless you bought the car for under a grand.

    • 0 avatar
      burgersandbeer

      “When I used to sell cars, nothing was more annoying than dealing with poorly worded emails.”

      As a private seller, I force the initial contact to go through email. If the seller can’t put a sentence together (or at least show the effort), I’m not risking it. You can usually tell the difference between an email someone put thought into (but maybe English is their second language) and something written by a moron.

  • avatar
    kosmo

    The dumbing down of Craigslist has been a sad thing, indeed.

    But it does leave the door open for the next great, similar, but better idea.

    If only I was the guy with the idea. I could be the next Google-illionaire!

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    You can immediately solve this (as I have done previously on several occasions) by putting

    NO TEXTS

    at the bottom of your ad. It works! Then I usually don’t answer the phone, they leave a voice mail – and I call the ones back who actually sound like they have intelligence and money, and speak English.

    • 0 avatar
      Fred

      I just do email. If they really want to talk we can exchange numbers.

    • 0 avatar
      Kaosaur

      Another solution, if you live in the South and speak the language, is to list the ad in Spanish.

      If you are selling the right kind of car, you will get a call within a couple of hours (or less) with a cash offer at or above your listing.

      I’m not kidding. Heck, pay somebody list it and handle the sale for you. Easily worth $100.

      • 0 avatar
        NoGoYo

        Hell, even if you aren’t in the South, if you own a Honda in fairly good condition, you can probably make decent money selling it to some Hispanic guy.

        My neighbor got $1800 for a ’98 Civic with over 245k from a Puerto Rican guy.

        • 0 avatar
          Kaosaur

          For whatever, RX-7s are still hella popular in Puerto Rico. A car that I would list on RX7Club might take 3 months to a year to sell but would probably sell close to my listing (if accurate) in Puerto Rico as long as I want to deal with the hassle of shipping the car.

    • 0 avatar
      onyxtape

      No TXT works pretty well. That’s good advice.

      We have a lot of fresh immigrants from the Third World around here, and their standard bargaining starts with offering 20% of your asking price (as in – will you take $500 for your 2007 Corolla?) Then you’re supposed to work your way up from there. Since my Craigslist offerings are typically pretty well-priced (I try to price mine 5-10% lower than comparable competition), they typically go fast to someone not playing these games. I’ve received several phone calls afterwards from people playing these number games – absolutely aghast that the car is no longer available.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Haha, I had a couple of those on a $2500 Impreza L wagon I was selling. It was a 97 (this in summer 2012) with <80k miles. Green over tan, couple scrapes and dents (not from me). AC worked, interior perfect save for a small hole in drivers seat where the belt had rubbed through the fabric. All records back to 1997.

        A guy and his wife loved it but were concerned about the CV joint which needed replacing. Everyone who looked commented on how hard it was to find a Legacy like this. (As I'm thinking yeah because it's a cheap little car with poor mpg and very expensive parts.)

        Anyway they walked away after a lot of iffy thinking. Sold it later that day to a guy who brought cash. I got two or three phone calls over the next couple days from people who had looked and hesitated. All disappointed I had sold it already.

        Interestingly on that one, I got a couple "Will you hold it while we think it over?" And I say "Will you be giving a non-refundable deposit?"

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Nice Spaceballs reference.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    Such is life hawking metal to the bottom rungs. I try and take solace in the fact that maybe 1 out of the next 10 prospectors might actually be a reasonable person.

    • 0 avatar
      kmoney

      This seems to be the golden ratio for almost every transaction on Craigslist.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      It isn’t just the bottom rung. When we sold our last BMW, the biggest time wasting moron had at least one graduate degree. He was shopping for his daughter, IIRC. The car was priced pretty reasonably for a one adult owner, low mileage, zero-body damage ever car that had been covered its entire life. It wasn’t in perfect shape because BMW didn’t build them to last. This guy insisted on a full inspection by the dealer, something the dealer didn’t really want to do. He just wanted to sell us another BMW. Unfortunately, when he found out that we were done with BMWs, he listed everything it would take to make our car brand new, including replacing suspension parts that had been replaced less than a thousand miles earlier by an independent BMW repair shop. Then the tweed barf mat attempting to buy the car tries to get us to reduce the price by the dealer’s estimate for a complete restoration. I should have shown him the window sticker and told him that I would be happy to sell him the car for MSRP of $36K less the three grand the dealer wanted to make the car brand new.

      I think I’d advertised the car for $5,500 and would have taken $5,000 as fast as someone could have handed it to me. Two weeks of rebuked annoyance calls from the humanities professor and he was ready to pay the $5,000. We told him to forget it, that he couldn’t buy our car and we never wanted to hear from him again. I also think we wound up selling it to a mechanic for about $4,800. Other than showing up with an angry wife to pick up the car, he was much better to deal with than the thimble dick with too much time on his hands.

      • 0 avatar
        burgersandbeer

        I would also rather sell to a reasonable person for less money than dealing with someone that pisses me off. Buyers don’t seem to get this.

        I don’t think I would ever agree to a PPI at a dealer. Even if a dealer agrees to do it (once I was shopping for a BMW and the dealer wanted no part of a PPI), you know they are going to include everything up to and including the effing high-voltage stickers for the xenon lights.

        I’ve since decided PPIs are overrated anyway.

        • 0 avatar
          CJinSD

          I’ve seen the PPI play out two ways. The first is the nit-picking way described above. The other is the opportunist shop that tells their customer to buy a car that will provide them with work for the foreseeable future.

  • avatar
    NN

    I am currently undergoing this torture as I try to sell a well-maintained 2004 Mercury Mountaineer with leather/AWD/3rd row/133k for $5500 (KBB value $6700 http://norfolk.craigslist.org/cto/4523426161.html). I’ve had it “sold” three times in the past week; one to a guy who then wanted me to drive to the next state on my daughter’s birthday (no), then next to a guy whose loan fell through on the last minute, then just yesterday to a fellow who took up my Sunday night with a 90 minute test drive, even bringing his mechanic, who gave it the ok and said it was worth the negotiated price, but then yesterday while on his way to come get it found another one for only $2800 with 200k on it, and bought it on the spot instead. Good riddance, Craigslist!

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Suggestions!

      -You don’t mention if it’s non-smoker.
      -Which owner are you?
      -List the features bullet point style rather than paragraph.
      -All your pictures are in different locations and times of the day, which is always disconcerting to me.
      -Need photos of rear seat rows, engine bay, and cargo area.

    • 0 avatar
      diaclone

      I have had success with craigslist, but not without a big headache on my part. This was maybe about a year an a half ago. Originally listed a 2000 4runner on cars.com figuring that at least any potential buyer can price out comparable cars and pull up specs. Months went by, ended up putting on craigslist. Had a buyer lined up took it to his mechanic friend. Friend puts is up on lift examines it a than proceeds with a testdrive that involves verifing the 0-60 time on a residential street. This was before NYC Deblasio’s vision zero but we’re still talking about a 30 mph residential street. After the inspection and testdrive to his’s friends satisfaction. We agreeed to a price with a gentlemen’s handshake. I have given the buyer full disclosure on the condition and history and evey gave him the carfax that I bought through cars.com. Figure everythings in order, I opted to go without a deposit. Big mistake because when i went to deliver it to the buyer suddenly he saw something that his friend did not see and proceeded to haggle me down. Said forget it ended up selling for about 500 less couple weeks later.

    • 0 avatar
      Jeff Weimer

      And they drove all the way out to Sandbridge only to jerk you around.

      (BTW, I’m in Chesapeake and used to work at Dam Neck).

      • 0 avatar
        Nick_515

        Cl is such a crapshoot. I sold a car on it once, A 2001 Accent. I lived in Queens back then. An elaborate posting, with a lot of useful information, yielded almost nothing. For three weeks in a row. Then i changed it, different and fewer photos, single line description (in good condition, second owner, xx miles, call). It was gone within 10 hours of posting. So Corey, your advice may or may not make a different (at the $5k level; it will certainly make a difference at the $10k and up level).

        I did have people call up and negotiate with me trying to buy it less than half price. One was obnoxious. I told him to come pick it up at his desired price, and gave him my old address in the Bronx. I don’t know if he went there.

        As to the larger point of the post, yeah the rich be getting richer… oh wait, this one is “the dumb be getting dumber, good ol’ days are disappearing.” I don’t buy this rhetoric. In these very pages it has been pointed out how disorienting the used car market is. And how little negotiating practice people that grow up in America actually have. The intersection of that insecurity and lack of practice leads to “can i get more photos please.”

      • 0 avatar
        NN

        No kidding, and he came from Ocean View!

    • 0 avatar
      FormerFF

      Only sell cash cars on Craigslist. If it’s valuable enough to be financed, you’re ion the wrong marketplace.

  • avatar
    philipbarrett

    I have bought & sold very successfully on CL many, many times. I always use their re-mail option and never put a phone number on the ad. This tends to filter the 1st wave of time wasters.

    It’s still the place to find the best deals, you have to be patient and be able to show up first with cash when they appear though.

    • 0 avatar
      kvndoom

      I made the mistake of putting my # on there the first time I ever tried to sell a car. I put in big caps, “NO PHONE CALLS. TEXT ONLY.”

      Yah right. Had dealerships, robot calls, lowlifes, the works, calling me constantly, even for days after I removed my number from the ad.

      Lesson learned. Email only until I’m satisfied you’re worth dealing with.

      • 0 avatar
        TMA1

        I tried email only, but never got any serious bites. Buyers want to text (at least if you’re selling a car that appeals to young buyers). Unfortunately, that exposed me to a lot of robo-call hassle.

        • 0 avatar
          greaseyknight

          Sign up for a a local Google Voice number, texts, missed calls, and voicemail are sent to your email and/or forwarded to your actual cell phone. When your done selling the item, just turn off the forwarding and the calls end. Numbers can be blocked, and it even filters out spam calls.

          Its all I use for Craigslist, if people want the item, they want it NOW and any delay could cost you the sale.

          • 0 avatar
            Toad

            greasyknight, that is a great idea. I sell a few trucks a year (for about 100% more than I would get as trade in’s) on CL and your Google Voice is a great idea.

            BTW, CL is an excellent tool for what it is. To complain about it is to forget how expensive and limited the old newspaper classified ads were. CL is FREE, allows for multiple photos, and a long detailed description of the item for sale (or job, service, casual encounter, whatever).

            If you can’t handle dealing with selling stuff to the general public don’t blame Craigslist; you’re just not up to it. Trade your car in to a dealer and let him make most of the money. Otherwise put on your big boy pants and deal with it.

            …and get off my lawn!

  • avatar
    DDayJ

    Amazingly the last car I sold on Craigslist (94 Pontiac Grand Prix) was painless. I got lucky I guess; the guy was polite, well versed, on time, and didn’t argue on the price. He even had cash!

    • 0 avatar
      Car Ramrod

      I had a similar experience about 2 years ago. Felt wrong somehow to be handling that much cash. Would you tempt fate and do it again in the future?

      • 0 avatar
        Toad

        Do the transaction at your bank and get the title notarized while you are there. The bank will count the money and verify that it is real currency. Legit buyers have no problem with that.

  • avatar
    Fred

    Selling anything has always been kind of a pain. Even freecylcle is tricky. Still I had fun selling a Elva Courier on CL. Even the scammers can be fun if want to waste some time.

    • 0 avatar
      kmoney

      Even when I list stuff for free on Craigslist, I always get one or two people responding something to the effect of: “Hey, saw the free widget you are listing. Can you deliver it, or maybe meet me at the sky-train station 20km from your house?” Guess people gotta try…

  • avatar
    ajla

    It’s not always sunshine when you’re a CL buyer either.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Oh MAN do people ever lie and conceal. Around here, the number one lie is rust.

      I say “Does it have any rust?”

      “No, none!”

      So I drive 40 minutes to go see it, and it’s got rust bubbles on the rear wheel arches, and rust in the door jambs.

      Right, because I’ll probably buy it since you lied about the condition. I tell them every time what I noticed where I felt they weren’t being honest.

      • 0 avatar
        kvndoom

        Regrettably, my fiancee, falling prey to a woman’s tendency to buy with emotion instead of logic, came home with a van even after being exposed to multiple lies.

        “The carfax is clean!” Yeah it was, but when she brought it home, there was plentiful evidence of a side-impact collision. Not major damage, but easily enough that it *should have* set off alarms in her head.

        When she test drove it, the A/C wasn’t very cold at all. Unfortunately it was a pleasant day outside and not very hot. “Oh you just have to drive it for a while, then it’s ice cold.” Uh, what? Needless to say, when a mechanic checked it out, it was almost completely void of refrigerant.

        “Everything works perfectly!” Yeah, except for the sliding doors that don’t lock by pushbutton or key fob.

        Good god, I think she would have still bought it if it only had 3 wheels.

        Incidentally, I’m typing this from home because I took the day off to get the mechanic here to fix the antifreeze leak.

        • 0 avatar
          NoGoYo

          I lucked out buying a car from Craigslist, but it took me a couple of weeks to find the car and I ignored plenty of affordable but sketchy/outright dangerous (I am NOT going into North Philadelphia with any amount of cash above 100 bucks) listings to find it.

        • 0 avatar
          Pinzgauer

          I blame you. Why would you let your fiancé go look at a car without you there?

      • 0 avatar
        GS 455

        This is a common problem. The ad will say “no rust”. I will call them and ask is there any rust on the body or frame and they say no. Of course I find rust in all the usual locations. If you point this out to them they’ll say “what do you expect it’s not a new car”. On CL “no rust” means “you don’t see rust from 100 feet away”

  • avatar
    TMA1

    Then there’s my favorite person. The one who drives it, says he wants it, then asks, “Can I make payments on it?”

    I’m not your bank, bro.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      I love this guy. It’s funny to watch him recoil when you say, “Yeah sure, but the car stays here til you finish making the payments on your new $2,500 hooptie.”

      • 0 avatar
        TMA1

        The recoil is what always surprises me. I mean, they’re really really shocked that you won’t hand over the car on their good word that they’ll make every payment on time for the next X amount of years.

        It’s obvious to me now that if I ever go down this road again, I’ll need to emphasize that the buyer had better have cash or a loan before wasting my time.

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          Those types of people live in a different financial world. They’re the kind of person who will state their lowball offer in CASH$$$ as some sort of bargaining chip. As if you have some obligation to otherwise finance them or accept something like a truckload of meat as payment.

        • 0 avatar
          Kyree S. Williams

          Agreeing to let someone make payments on a car is the the kind of situations that will have you standing in front of Judge Judy on national TV, looking stupid.

    • 0 avatar
      VenomV12

      I have a buddy of mine that owns at least 6 restaurants and wanted to buy my house and asked me if he could make payments on it aka a land contract. I about wanted to slap him in his face. No.

    • 0 avatar
      kvndoom

      I always tell people like that, that I work for the CIA.

      Cash. In. Advance.

    • 0 avatar
      Toad

      In my CL ads I always state “Cash or cashiers check from local bank only. No seller financing or exports. No exceptions.” If the buyer wants to use a cashiers check I don’t turn over the title or vehicle until the cashiers check clears my bank.

      • 0 avatar
        Pinzgauer

        Funny, sold a Miata for my dad a few months back. Put an ad on CL, got a few people offering 1.5k below asking via email, told them all to shove it. The first people that actually come see it make an offer at $300 below asking, so I accept. They give a deposit and we set a date for them to come back with the money and pick it up.

        So the day comes, they show up, give the car a quick once over and then proceed to take out their checkbook to write a check! I’m like…uhhhh you didn’t bring cash? It was an awkward moment, but in the end my dad accepted the check and it did clear.

        I’v sold multiple cars, and lots of atv’s on CL and buyers always knew to bring cash. I was so taken back by this that from now on I will always make that clear to any buyers.

    • 0 avatar
      matador

      I sell and repair computers locally for my job.

      This was a few months ago:

      A overweight (I say this safely- I’m too fat!) kid of about 20-25 looks at a old Dell laptop (Has to be a Dell!). It was a $75 laptop with XP (One of my last XP machines).

      He wanted to finance it for 6 months! And, he wanted to finance the Macbook Pro next to it.

      I sold the Macbook Pro the next week for cash, and the Dell D600 sold to someone else.

      He finally comes up with $75 two months later and wants the D600. I prepare another one (I don’t prep old, single cores in advance). He then has a family emergency. And, I sold that D600.

      I wonder when he’ll call about that D600.

      People are strange…

  • avatar
    Tinn-Can

    “What is your absolute lowest price?”
    “What’s the lowest you’ll go?”

    $100 more than the listing price for you… now GTFO…

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      A good response to those questions is this:

      Make me an offer. I can’t negotiate with myself.

      I’ve yet to hear back from bottom feeders with that response.

    • 0 avatar
      Kaosaur

      I’ve had people ask this on a 500CD media rack I was listing on CL for $10.

      It’s like…really?

    • 0 avatar
      JohnnyFirebird

      In retail even if you price it the lowest of any of the competing cars in the city, you’ll still get this.

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      I’d get asked that all the time with car dealing, its like people have forgotten how to haggle a few $50 off or something.

    • 0 avatar
      jpolicke

      Just sold a set of wheels on CL; Priced the set at $400, which is not bad for 20″ wheels. Inserted this statement at end of ad: “If I hear ‘Will you take..’, I am hanging up.” So the first question from the buyer on the phone is “So, what are we talking here?” What we’re talking here is if you can find someone selling 4 20″ rims for under 400, jump on them before he sobers up.

      He paid in full and picked them up that day.

  • avatar
    OneAlpha

    I hate the condition of the English language today.

    Six years ago, I ran the third shift of an urban branch of a national chain auto parts store, and was constantly having to run English-to-Underclass translations in my head at one o’clock in the morning.

    Customer: “Got to get back to the game, ya feel me?”
    Me: “Dude, I’m not touching you!”

    Customer: “Goddammit, I need you to fucking call me a tow truck FUCKING RIGHT NOW!”
    Me: “First, I have to run this end-of-week register audit RIGHT NOW. Second, if you use profanity, I’m no longer required to put up with you.”

    Customer: “You got to HOLLA at that girl, dog!”
    Me: “Why would I want to yell at that woman?”

    And so on and so forth.

    I’ve got a good job now, and one of the perks is getting to interact with actual educated, well-spoken people.

    I’ve been poor, (waving gun around) AND I AIN’T GOIN’ BACK!

  • avatar
    VenomV12

    I have never really had a problem on Craigslist, either buying or selling but then I never used it for any high dollar transactions so that probably helped. I did learn early on to rarely do transactions at my home and meet at places like McDonald’s or the mall.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    Fortunately, I haven’t had to use CL to sell a car, yet – someone in the neighborhood, or a friend always buys what I sell.

    I have bought a car on CL – the 1992 Wrangler we owned for about 2 years. No issues, fortunately. Whether I use CL again, who knows?

  • avatar
    C. Alan

    I sold my 2011 Prius on Craigslist a few months ago with very little problems. I got about $3k more than Carmax offered. I have found that I can cut out about 50% of the crap buyers by only dealing with them via email. I hate text messages as a rule anyway.

  • avatar
    cpthaddock

    Once again Steve hit’s the nerve.

    Anyone who has experienced this special brand of CL illiteracy feels the twinge right away.

    When selling Barney, the purple ’98 Integra GS-R a couple of months ago I spared myself the pain of receiving texts, but between the hours of midnight and 6am my email in-box was overrun with “messages” of the same caliber. Around 60 of them.

    Back in 2010, selling the 2 year old Elantra we’d bought for my mother in law it was completely different.

    I credit the difference to simple factors like vehicle appeal and price.

    • 0 avatar
      kvndoom

      Yeah, on this hand, Elantra. On this hand, JDM. About 40 years of age between those two crowds. :)

    • 0 avatar
      sitting@home

      “I credit the difference to simple factors like vehicle appeal and price.”

      Yes.

      I posted my old Integra on CL at KBB price. I had responses within minutes and the buyer turned up with cash inside of an hour, I didn’t even have time to wash the car. I probably could have asked for $1000 more.

      I posted my old girlfriend’s Eclipse on CL at KBB price. I spent weeks dealing with low-ball offers from guys and flakey girls who never showed up or had to sort out finances with their dad. I maybe should have asked for $1000 less.

      • 0 avatar
        NoGoYo

        Honda anything is worth big bucks.

        I go to the U-Pull-It and what cars always have people pulling parts off of them? Hondas.

        • 0 avatar
          1967mgb

          Nice. Thanks. Good to know. As the owner of an ’07 Si Sedan… help me in this. ” ’07 Civic Si Sedan. Original 58 yr old owner. 58k miles. New battery. New Goodyears( (1k), Fiji Blue Pearl. Original brakes, everything else. Wallet better kick in, Yo.” Not for sale, but just for fun.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    Buying a car is almost as bad, do a search for “Turbo Volvo” and you get BMWs, Toyotas, Peterbelts, you have to wade through so much irrelevant nonsense.

    So not only is it bad grammar, its bad tagkeyword abuse too. Clearly if I’m looking for a Corvette I’m going to consider your mini-van as an alternative, right?

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      Yeah, I hate those people who list every single car model available in the bottom of their ad, just so it shows up in every search. Annoying me isn’t going to make me hand over my money.

    • 0 avatar
      kvndoom

      “Search Title only” cures most of that… I wish it was checked by default.

    • 0 avatar
      C. Alan

      I have found that their are a few search functions and filters that work with craigslist that help weed out alot of the junk. Here are a few of my favorites:

      You can use Quotes to specify an exact phrase; like “Turbo Volvo”

      You can use the minus sign to exclude certain results. Like if you want all Volvo’s except those with turbo you can put in: Volvo -Turbo

      You can use the ‘Pipe’ | to specify an OR statement. So if you want a 1967 or 67 Mustang, you can search for: 1967|67 Mustang

      You can group a few of these functions together with (). For example (67|1967) Mustang (fastback|coupe)

      Lastly, you can also use the * for a wildcard. For example chev* will return any results that start with chev, so you can pick up chevy or chevrolet by including this in your search.

      You are correct that using the ‘title only’ function does clean up alot of the results.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        “needs engine” or “needs transmission” are some of my favorites.

        • 0 avatar
          NoGoYo

          I sometimes see “needs engine” where they include the blown engine.

          That’s always interesting. So not only does this vehicle not run, I have to pull its non-running engine out myself and get rid of it.

          Unless you’re only charging $500 and the rest of the vehicle is in immaculate shape, this deal ain’t gonna happen.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            >Unless you’re only charging $500 and the rest of the vehicle is in immaculate shape, this deal ain’t gonna happen.

            Generally what you shoot for. Pocket the labor cost of the swap when you sell it.

            Disposing of the old engine = scrap $$

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            The problem is that I’ve seen people selling trucks with dead engines for 2 grand…

          • 0 avatar
            greaseyknight

            Actually, including the dead engine would almost an requirement IMHO, often when doing a motor swap you need to swap some accessories or other small parts from the old to the new. The block may be the same, but you need those parts to work with that particular model year, or the donor is missing the parts.

          • 0 avatar
            OneAlpha

            Oh. My. God. I hate the “needs engine work” disclaimer.

            I’ve been looking for a GMT400 as a backup vehicle, sorta project and cargo hauler. I found a few that “needed engine work,” and the sellers still wanted multiples of $1,000 for them.

            Okay, just tell me what sort of engine work – that’s all I ask.

            Valve job? Gaskets? Complete rebuild? What?

            To some people, a new alternator qualifies as engine work. Others figure nothing short of a cracked block meets the criteria.

            I just need to know specifics.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            >Oh. My. God. I hate the “needs engine work” disclaimer.

            You’re right, it can be anything from dead battery to a hole in the block. A lot of the time, the seller doesn’t know what the problem is and is selling the car out of anger/frustration. Makes for good deals for those who know what to look for.

        • 0 avatar
          Ryoku75

          I see that quite a bit, best has to be “Runs and Drives, needs battery” or stuff of that nature.

          Heck, theres a Volvo 240 coupe on my craigslist where the owner mentions half of what hes invested into it, and yet at least 2 of the tires are dead flat. And theres no price of course.

          • 0 avatar
            OneAlpha

            How about the classic “ran when parked?”

          • 0 avatar
            Ryoku75

            At OneAlpha: Yea thats another classic, its like a glass half-full way of saying “Doesn’t run”.

            rpn: Gotta feel sorry for kids that end up in those situations, we’ve all be there before.

        • 0 avatar
          ajla

          I am a fan of “AC just needs a recharge” and “has ‘xxxx’ issue (only $15 part from NAPA)”

          • 0 avatar
            rpn453

            Those are always amusing. Sure, you know the problem but out of the kindness of your heart you’re willing to take a bath on it and sell it cheap instead of doing the easy fix yourself.

            I was out walking the dog one day last summer and came across a kid looking under the hood of his very-recently-acquired late-90′s Chevy Malibu with the 3.1L. He had been adding a lot of coolant and was wondering where it was going. The pressure cap was off and the coolant was bubbling away. The seller had told him it just needed a thermostat. Poor kid.

    • 0 avatar
      mnm4ever

      We have a local dealer around here that has the keyword thing locked, he has literally every type of car I can imagine listed at the bottom, and he robo-posts hundreds of ads every day, shotgun style. So basically if you try to search for a car at a dealer you have to wade through pages of his ads. I don’t even know what to do, you can’t flag hundreds of ads. Luckily he follows the rules and only posts in the “by dealer” section, so for now private party ads are safe. But he has ruined the ability to look for cars at dealers on CL. I will never buy a car from any dealer that does this, and this guy in particular, I want to ruin his business. But since CL is free, there isn’t much that can be done. Don’t know why they don’t change the listings to avoid this type of abuse.

  • avatar
    Eric the Red

    It feels like over the last several years the quality of Craigslist has slipped. Not the site, but the people using it. It used to be people getting together to make reasonable deals. Now a lot of Dealers/Retailers post multiple times. Scams are way too common (soldier called to duty so must sell right now, divorced and don’t need it, etc).
    Many people do not mind wasting other people’s time with questions (answered in the ad!) and making appointments that they never show up for.
    When I purchase something I always treat the seller the way I want to be treated. Be honest, tell them when you will be there, call or text when you are leaving to meet them (way too many people just don’t show up), and make reasonable offers based on actual value and not screwing people down to the last penny.
    And everything on Craigslist should be done in person and for cash.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnnyFirebird

      Last time I bought a used car private sale it was in person but with a bank draft. No way am I walking around with seven grand in cash.

      • 0 avatar
        Firestorm 500

        No way am I taking a bank draft from you or anyone else. They can be faked.

        I’ll meet you at your bank and we’ll finish the deal there. That way I can verify the authenticity of the cash.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      ” I always treat the seller the way I want to be treated. Be honest, tell them when you will be there, call or text when you are leaving to meet them (way too many people just don’t show up),”

      This right here. The majority of people never show even after agreeing on a meetup. I ask people to call me when they’re on their way or I won’t be around. Even then, I’ve had a large amount of people never show when they were “on their way”. I call them back from a different number and usually hear a TV blaring in the background and get some lame excuse. People are hilarious.

    • 0 avatar
      C. Alan

      I have met people at their bank, and been present when the cashiers check is drawn up. This is the only way I will take a check for anything I sell on Craigslist. Ive done this twice over the years, and it works out fine.

    • 0 avatar

      Nope, that is the whole internet. In the beginning, you needed tech savvy (intelligence) and money (the early stuff was expensive) to get on the internet.

      I’ve been on since 97 or so. The folks on the net have dropped from techies, to high end/mid level business, to the rabble on the street. This has tracked the drop in access price.

      I miss the net, circa 2004, where you could ask a question and smart folks who knew an answer would do so. Now, in many forums, smart folks don’t answer to avoid trolls and flames, and the answers you do get are right up there with Jay Leno’s Jaywalking routines.

      I also deal with a lot of the underclass as assigned counsel. The “no money” culture is a thing to itself. I can’t imagine selling to it.

  • avatar
    TDIGuy

    For those who don’t put in a phone number, keep this in mind… The biggest annoyance when perusing CL and also Auto Trader (at least in Canada), the good deals with no phone number and only an email generally reply to any contact with a story about how they are out of country with the military and the car is in storage…. So many times ads with no phone number are passed over.

    The second biggest is new car dealers who put up listings with the monthly lease payment as the price. You aren’t fooling anyone, but getting a screen full of irrelevant response is pissing off your customers.

    • 0 avatar
      matador

      Bingo. It’s usually something like “Ford F150″. And, the price is listed as either $14 (It’s actually $14,000) or as $300 (Per Month).

    • 0 avatar
      Maymar

      I tend to set the year filter (on Trader/Kijiji) to nothing newer than 2008ish – that tends to filter out most of the dealers that list the monthly payment as the price.

      That said, I’ve seen more than a few cars where the seller neglects to include the last three digits of the mileage. Cause, yeah bro, I want your ’02 Civic with “298kms” when I’m looking at cars under 150k.

  • avatar
    schmitt trigger

    I’ve never sold a vehicle on Craiglist, but have leased homes there.
    The responses are as almost always as awful and dumb.

    Plus one gets those scams like:
    “I’m an UNESCO researcher who lives in Switzerland, but I’m going to do some Cryogenics research in (insert your neck of the woods town here) and since I have to move immediately, could you send me your bank’s account and routing numbers such that I can deposit 1 years advance rent…… BTW, your home is so nice, that I’ll pay you an extra 20% over your asking price”

    I reply:
    “Lovely! We have got a deal! Just please send me a copy of your passport, driver’s license, and credit card accounts, such that I can share them with the FBI’s Internet Fraud Division…. Love to hear back from you. Have a nice day!”

  • avatar
    mitchw

    I sold a Miata through CL. One caller offered 50% what I was asking. ‘In cash!’

    I told him there were a million other Miatas out there.

    Finally sold it to a nice young guy for 400 above my lowest intended price. (Yes, he asked me to email more pics)

    YMMV

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      In selling my GS a guy called who “Really wanted to get a GS.” He asked some knowledgable quesitons, acted disappointed mine didn’t have the spoiler option, and offered me 58% of the price I was asking. “I can get them at auctions all day for that.”

      I said, “Then that’s what you should do.”

      Why look at cars costing double the amount of cash you have?

  • avatar
    vangogh

    Here in England, Craigslist is very much still in its infancy. It has been live for years but has never really caught on.
    The popular medium for unloading your unwanted/ unloved car/piano/dog is Gumtree.
    The Gumtree UK experience sounds exactly like the Craigslist US experience, so much so that to many it is now known as ‘Scumtree’ Harsh but fair !

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      It’s interesting to watch how different regions latch onto different online classifieds. In Canada, Kijiji is the most popular. In Dubai, everything is bought and sold on Dubizzle. Craigslist is definitely the palce to be if you’re selling some crap in the USA.

      • 0 avatar
        brettc

        And Ebay owns Kijiji, which is even weirder. Craigslist is definitely the place for free classifieds in the US. I’ve sold 3 VW TDIs on Craigslist and never had problems. I put up an insanely detailed ad with lots of pictures and I’ve either received slightly under or slightly over what I was looking for when it came to the financials.

        Used TDI buyers are a unique breed, they’re usually pretty well informed and actually have (good paying) jobs.

      • 0 avatar
        davefromcalgary

        I like kijiji. I have bought and sold many things, and never gotten spam, robo calls, etc.

        Any body know why kijiji seems so much…cleaner?

      • 0 avatar
        86er

        Don’t forget Used-insertcityhere-dot-com

        *This message not paid for by usedeverywhere.com

    • 0 avatar
      rpn453

      Canadian Kijiji is what Craiglist could only hope to be after a few hundred million years of evolution.

      I’ve heard it isn’t as good south of the border though.

  • avatar
    whynotaztec

    All SO true, I just went through the “maintenance records?” etc routine while listing a plow truck on CL. A plow truck for chrissakes!

    I should make one of these based on my body shop experiences. I would start by translating this question:
    “can’t you just pop it out?”

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      >I should make one of these based on my body shop experiences. I would start by translating this question:
      “can’t you just pop it out?”

      As a former body guy and PDR provider, I feel you, bro.

  • avatar

    My last car, a 97 3-series, I tried for months to sell on CL. Lot of spam. Finally found a buyer thru a regional BMW group on Facebook. $150 under my asking price, showed up with cash, no BS…

    …until me called me the next day trying to recruit me I to a pyramid scheme. Can’t win em all.

  • avatar
    williambwarren

    Went through similar problems years ago selling my late grandfather’s Town Car (pretty much impeccable, some scratches, but with only 97k as a Cartier it was pretty well taken care of). Had a gentleman interested in it (as it was, even with the scooter lift, but found a better deal, had a lot of those “So, will you take 30% of the price?”, and finally said screw it, and traded it in. Took a hit in value, but the ease of getting it done and over with was worth it.

  • avatar
    Slow_Joe_Crow

    I’ve used Craigslist to buy and sell bicycles. The buy side is pretty straightforward since I show up with cash and a clue, plus some pedals. The sell side has been a little more interesting since the last time I was selling a bike I got a Nigerian scam email with money order & shipping guy BS. On the lighter side we got a minor surprise when the buyer for our Bob trailer was somebody we knew from the gym and century ride. Lately I have started selling my kids’ outgrown bikes through a well known local shop that does consignments since it’s a fire and forget situation where I drop it off and they send me a check when it sells.

    I used to look for cars on CL but the practice of loading spam keywords into every ad has destroyed the search function so I suspect I’ll try the new Carmax that is opening up first.

  • avatar
    Cabriolet

    I have always had good luck with Craigslist. Only use email address and have sold many cars and purchased a few. Love to check Craigslist for tires and rims. A few years ago i was looking for rims and tires for my VW and answered an ad that i was interested in. The seller told me he was in the act of moving into a new apt and had to get rid of the wheels. He offered to put them into his car and come to my place to show them. 10 minutes later he showed up with the tires and wheels and they were very nice. OEM rims & Continental tires. He wanted $500.00 dollars and i offered him $450.00. He refused and put the tires back in his car and took my phone no. Sunday night he called me and said his wife wanted them out of the apt now! He offered them to me for $300.00 if i took them that night. I figured what the hell if he shows up i got a good deal. 10 minutes later he was at my door with the tires and rims. I gave him the $300.00 and he thanked me over and over. Hope i never run into his wife.
    I purchased a used Miata last year on Craigslist that was in excellent condition. I use it every weekend in the summer and it makes a great second car.

  • avatar
    iNeon

    I once bought a 1984 245DL for $400 on craigslist. A manual 245DL with working air conditioning, Pioneer CD stereo, working overdrive and it even had gauges in the two blanks to the right of the gauge cluster!

    It would blare it’s horn every time you turned a sharp left, because of the biodegradeable wiring in the steering column, but I drove it for a year and sold it for $350.

    Craigslist is fine when you (well and truly) understand everyone’s heard the “I got this Monet at a garage sale for $1″ Antiques Roadshow stories– and they’re trying to make it happen for themselves. Dishonestly.

  • avatar
    vexed

    I have bought/sold cars off Craigslist with success. No one uses the local paper here and many dealers list on CL.

    Red flags: AC needs recharge; translation AC does not work.
    Registration expired: Big $$ to get it registered.
    VIP= stay away.
    Slight body damage= not totaled but close.
    Lots of BMWs with V-6 engines.
    At least CL now has a title entry for sellers to disclose salvage titles.

    And it’s tread not thread on your tires.

    • 0 avatar
      rpn453

      Sometimes it actually is only thread left on their tires!

    • 0 avatar
      CRConrad

      @vexed: “Lots of BMWs with V-6 engines.”

      But that’s usually just honest ignorance, innit? At least I get the feeling the V6 has displaced the straight/in-line six to the extent that people just assume “six-cylinder” means “V6″.

      Many probably don’t even know what this “V” means; to them, it’s just the letter that apparently goes before 6, 8, or 12(*) when they denote the number of “cylinders”, whatever those may be.

      (*): But not 2, 3, 4, or 5, which get an “I”, “R”, or no letter at all.

    • 0 avatar
      burgersandbeer

      “Lots of BMWS with V-6 engines.”

      This just illustrates that whether ignorance or deceit, many cars are not accurately described. Just wait until the newer turbo four hits CL in significant numbers, I’m sure the sellers will call that a V6 as well.

      In addition:

      -Optional equipment is rarely accurate – unless you can find evidence in the pictures, you need to run the VIN through a decoder to get the real story.
      -Speaking of VIN decoders, sellers can’t be trusted to tell you whether it is a manual or automatic. Pictures often conflict with text. There is also the crowd that thinks an automatic with a manual gate “is really both.”
      -Many ads claim to have the sport package, though they do not.
      -The advertised car always has “no issues,” even though you can see |>CHECK CONTROL<| in the cluster. It might just be a bulb out, but there is something they aren't telling you.
      - Make sure to note that the car has all new breaks!

      Some of these complaints are BMW-specific, just because that's what I've looked for on CL. I'm sure all other makes suffer from similar misinformation, intentional or not. You really need to know what you are looking for to shop on CL without wasting a crazy amount of time.

  • avatar
    bergxu

    CL has been hit or miss for me. Since I primarily deal in older Mercedes, I’ve seen the whole spectrum of buyers–everything from ‘gangstaz’ thinking I’m selling a clapped out W140 to bona-fide enthusiasts who are knowledgeable and polite in their dealings. I have two Mercs listed as we speak– they’ve both been up for about a week with no hits, but they’re (well, one anyways) specialty models, so I’ll likely have to wait it out and hope a Benz cuckoo happens to plug in one of these models on one of the nationwide CL search engines.

    Speaking of which, I’ve had good luck finding some oddball models using sites such as zoomthelist and autotempest.

  • avatar
    kvndoom

    By the way, my elderly neighbors (pushing 90) are selling their 2013 Sonata GLS, because the wife has been told by her doctor that her vision is too poor to drive.

    257 miles. Not a typo. The thing is still showroom quality.

    Gonna post it (and pics) in the TTAC “Cars for Sale” forum tonight.

    I’m also putting it on CL. Pray for me.

  • avatar
    ajla

    I surprised that no one has mentioned the curbstoners of CL. I’ve had to deal with so many.

    • 0 avatar
      NoGoYo

      What’s a curbstoner? Never heard the term before.

      • 0 avatar
        bunkie

        Curbstoning is the practice of buying and reselling a car without getting a new title in the process. The buyer asks you to leave the sold to entry blank on the title. They then keep your original title and use it to re-sell the car. Don’t let someone talk you into this.

        • 0 avatar
          NoGoYo

          Yeah, that sounds sketchy as all hell, no sir, I don’t like it.

        • 0 avatar
          Japanese Buick

          I wish I knew that term a few years ago when I ran into one when looking for my farm truck. Guy’s story was he bought the truck and then found out he had to move before he titled it. I did some digging, it looked sketchy, didn’t make the deal. I drive by his spot every day and eventually he had a different truck there. Once I was driving by while he was showing the second truck. In one of my not-best decisions I pulled over and said to his potential buyer “let me guess, he has a title that doesn’t have his name on it and he claims he bought the truck and then found out he has to move out of state”. Then turning to the curbstoner, ” It’s been a month since you told me that story so why are you still here and why did you buy a new truck?” In the stunned silence all around that followed I realized that maybe pulling off to confront the guy in the middle of working another sucker wasn’t the best idea I’d ever had. What’s surprising is that the guy who was most pissed at me was the buyer/sucker, not the seller/scammer. The buyer had been swallowing the story hook line and sinker and really wanted the truck and he DID NOT want to hear that it was a scam. I got out of there and that truck stayed there for another couple of weeks so I had torpedoed that deal. After he sold that truck he abandoned that spot.

        • 0 avatar
          50merc

          Another meaning for curbstoner is a de facto (though unlicensed) dealer who claims to be selling as an individual (i.e., from his curb instead of a used car lot).

          BTW, selling cars with no title (“will give you a bill of sale”) or defective title (“didn’t have time to register the car in my name”) is getting more common. Bad news! At the very least, the seller is irresponsible. Stay away, or at least verify DMV has no issue such as “reported stolen” as well as getting the price cut by the amount of late penalties, catch-up fees, etc.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    HATE those motherf*cking curbstoner @$$hats .

    I buy pretty much only junk and fix it to suit my needs and they _STILL_ lie though their teeth and cheat .

    ” a Benz cuckoo ” ~ HEY ! I( resemble that remark ! =8-) .

    -Nate

  • avatar
    bunkie

    I have a guitarist buddy who has a knack for finding great gear on CL (he scored a nice Taylor acoustic, a Fender Twin and a pretty nice Strat). My experiences with it have been less successful.

    BTW, my favorite CL ad of all time went something like this:

    Aircraft Carrier for sale $2.7 million. No pirates or scammers.

  • avatar
    burgersandbeer

    “Can I check it out? What is the VIN#? Any mechanical issues? What about maintenance? Did it pass emissions? Tires?”

    If these weren’t already answered in the ad, they are fair questions. It drives me nuts when sellers act like they are taking precious time out of their day to try to sell a car. Newsflash – buyers don’t like spending their afternoon driving to meet a seller only to find a long list of nasty surprises.

  • avatar
    Sooke

    …it’s tread not thread on your tires.

    and it’s brakes, not breaks.


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