Why are there so many Craigslist Flakeouts?

Jan 25, 2008 Published by Tony Primerano

I love buying and selling things on craigslist but I'm amazed at how many people email you about an item and never respond back. Are they just gathering email addresses for spammers? That seems like too much effort to build a spam list but I would say about 50% of the people I respond to never follow up. Maybe they found a better price but if so why not offer me less?

I feel like adding a note to my postings saying that if you inquire about an item and then don't follow up I will post your email address on my blog. :-) The flakeout list.

These flakeouts make everyone's life miserable. I always give an item to the 1st person who inquires and tell other people that someone else responded 1st but I will let them know if they don't follow through. Anyway here are my craiglist tips after selling about 8 things on craiglist.

  1. Post items around lunch time on a weekday. People browse craigslist from work. I get much better responses on weekday posts than weekend.
  2. If you get multiple responses let the 1st responder know that the item is theirs but they need to pick it up soon or you will give it to the next person. This will get them to commit or bail quicker so you won't wait a week for them to make up their mind. Respond to other interested parties letting them know someone else is ahead of them but you will contact them if the other person does not follow through.
  3. Google the person who emailed you. On a few occasions I have found that someone lived near my work and I met them at lunch. Saving them a long drive to my house. You might also find some scary information on a person. Remember, you're inviting these people to your house for a pickup, so do a little research. ;-)
  4. Always include a picture of the item.
  5. Don't host the pictures on craiglist. If you upload pictures to craigslist they are deleted when the entry expires. There is a nice repost option but you need to upload the pictures again. If you put the pictures on a photo sharing site and type the html by hand the reposting process is much easier. for example
    • <img src="http://tonycode.com/craigslist/jacks.jpg" />
  • A photo of Sher Sher says:

    Hello, I am wondering the same thing. I get a group of people emailing me about an item I have listed on Craigslist that act interested but then give the same excuse- odd- "my nephew crashed my minivan so I cannot buy this now". I don't get it