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Thread: Buying from craigslist

  1. #1
    Registered User mee's Avatar
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    Default Buying from craigslist

    How can I know that an item on craigslist is not stolen? What questions should I ask about it? This particular mandolin I am considering is also listed on Reverb, which I am unfamiliar with.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Buying from craigslist

    Why do you suspect it is stolen?

  3. #3
    Registered User mee's Avatar
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    Default Re: Buying from craigslist

    No, I reckon not, but I hear things about craigslist that make me paranoid.

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    Default Re: Buying from craigslist

    Talk to the owner. Ask about it's history. Follow your instincts.
    Can you met them local? There's no guarantees but the great majority of folks selling are legit and the shady ones usually seem, well... shady.

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  6. #5

    Default Re: Buying from craigslist

    Yeah the instrument's history is interesting to know about, stolen or not. If the owner seems murky on the details or seems overly eager to hand over the instrument at a bargain price, I might be suspicious. Sometimes you can get an idea from the pictures whether to be wary or not as well. If a serial number is visible (or exists at all), I suppose you could try Googling it and seeing if it has been reported stolen. I think most instruments on Craigslist are not stolen though, just ordinary folks.

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    Default Re: Buying from craigslist

    I've sold a bunch of drum stuff on my local craigslist, mainly because of the size/weight involved if I was to ship to a buyer. Needless to say, just because I'm selling via craigslist doesn't mean that my drum stuff is stolen! Nine times out of ten the stolen stuff that turns up on CL is accompanied by crappy photos or no photos, and the descriptions are vague. I always put multiple photos in my ads, lots of specific nerdy details that only a drummer is going to bother listing (type of bearing edges on the shells for example). I think if you scroll through the ads on CL regularly you get a feel for what "scammy" ones look like vs. genuine ones - I've bought plenty of stuff via CL as well and never been scammed.
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    Default Re: Buying from craigslist

    Almost seems like a larger issue going on with society and fear, with Craigslist serving as a known reference. That is, we feel safe at home behind our computers, but become afraid to go out in the world to benefit from what the computer finds for us. (deep, I know! ) Another forum member last week was selling a mandolin and was afraid to contact two buyers who were interested in buying it from him on Craigslist! Seems like a common fear on this forum. Maybe it's the news media or big cities or whatever reason -- I don't know, but I find it weird. I would guess the actual amount of scammers are very low, even on Craigslist. Just use common sense. Have the seller meet you at the police station lobby to show the mandolin. If the seller is legit, he will have no problem with that.

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  12. #8
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    Default Re: Buying from craigslist

    Ask them to meet you at a police station to do the sale , if it's stolen they won't meet you there
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    Default Re: Buying from craigslist

    I flag numerous ads each day from scammers on craigs list, I still contact and buy from there with no problem. A little common sense goes a long way.
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    Default Re: Buying from craigslist

    My own take on this: I've bought and sold a number of instruments using Craig's List, plus two kayaks, several camera lenses, and a ventriloquist dummy. I've always enjoyed meeting the other party, and always felt good about the deal. Have a good phone conversation first, and then meet where you can spend some time-- in my case it's always been at my place or theirs. This is the great advantage of answering local ads.

    In a few cases where real money was involved, I've printed the ad itself, and had the seller write and sign a receipt on the ad, with full name and address of course. If you later learn you have bought something stolen, you have a record of the sale that may be helpful. In one case long ago I learned that a guitar I had bought had been reported stolen in the distant past-- the seller (who may or may not have known the history) gladly took it back with full cash refund.

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    Default Re: Buying from craigslist

    This website purportedly lets you check serial numbers against NCIC database (I've never used it) https://www.tracechecker.com/stolengoods
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  20. #12

    Default Re: Buying from craigslist

    Quote Originally Posted by mee View Post
    This particular mandolin I am considering is also listed on Reverb, which I am unfamiliar with.
    Many consider Reverb.com the one true used musical instrument marketplace (although the Cafe classifieds are far superior for good stuff). Ebay is even more full of scams and low quality junk than CL but I have bought and sold on Reverb many times without issues. There are many other threads around here where members have posted similar experiences, though there are exceptions of course.

    Since the mando is on reverb, is the seller there new or do they have feedback (star ratings) from previous transactions? Having an established track record should go a long way in assuaging any concerns.

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  22. #13
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    Default Re: Buying from craigslist

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Clausen View Post
    My own take on this: I've bought and sold a number of instruments using Craig's List, plus two kayaks, several camera lenses, and a ventriloquist dummy. I've always enjoyed meeting the other party, and always felt good about the deal. Have a good phone conversation first, and then meet where you can spend some time-- in my case it's always been at my place or theirs. This is the great advantage of answering local ads.

    In a few cases where real money was involved, I've printed the ad itself, and had the seller write and sign a receipt on the ad, with full name and address of course. If you later learn you have bought something stolen, you have a record of the sale that may be helpful. In one case long ago I learned that a guitar I had bought had been reported stolen in the distant past-- the seller (who may or may not have known the history) gladly took it back with full cash refund.
    What does a good ventriloquist dummy go for these days?
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  23. #14

    Default Re: Buying from craigslist

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Clausen View Post
    In a few cases where real money was involved, I've printed the ad itself, and had the seller write and sign a receipt on the ad, with full name and address of course. If you later learn you have bought something stolen, you have a record of the sale that may be helpful. In one case long ago I learned that a guitar I had bought had been reported stolen in the distant past-- the seller (who may or may not have known the history) gladly took it back with full cash refund.
    I'm glad you got a refund. Any way to know if the original owner got his guitar back? (in which case the seller would be out whatever he paid for the guitar, right?)

  24. #15
    Registered User Bruce Clausen's Avatar
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    Default Re: Buying from craigslist

    It was a difficult decision how the deal with this. The builder of the guitar told me it had been reported stolen years earlier, but didn't know if it had ever been recovered (nor whether the owner had collected an insurance settlement). The seller was a friend of a friend, so on this friend's advice I called the seller and explained the situation. He said bring it back, and that's what I did. I don't know the sequel. In this case having a signed receipt probably made no difference, but at this price level ($700) I like to have something in writing.

    The guy who came for the ventriloquist dummy was a hoot-- a collector of all sorts of oddities. He paid the asking price of $100 with no hesitation.

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    Default Re: Buying from craigslist

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Clausen View Post
    It was a difficult decision how the deal with this. The builder of the guitar told me it had been reported stolen years earlier, but didn't know if it had ever been recovered (nor whether the owner had collected an insurance settlement). The seller was a friend of a friend, so on this friend's advice I called the seller and explained the situation. He said bring it back, and that's what I did. I don't know the sequel. In this case having a signed receipt probably made no difference, but at this price level ($700) I like to have something in writing.

    The guy who came for the ventriloquist dummy was a hoot-- a collector of all sorts of oddities. He paid the asking price of $100 with no hesitation.
    The wife and I stayed at a B&B in Upstate NY. The Inn by the Mill in St. Johnsonville. Speaking of hoots and collectors. The Husband collected all sorts of stuff like Cigar store Indians and Robots. The wife must have baked 24 hours a day. There were cookies and cakes everywhere. They lived in the old mill. The B&B was across the street. Full larder and you cooked your own food.

    Here's a link to the Robot. Thodor.

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  27. #17
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    Default Re: Buying from craigslist

    Quote Originally Posted by Jill McAuley View Post
    I've sold a bunch of drum stuff on my local craigslist, mainly because of the size/weight involved if I was to ship to a buyer. Needless to say, just because I'm selling via craigslist doesn't mean that my drum stuff is stolen! Nine times out of ten the stolen stuff that turns up on CL is accompanied by crappy photos or no photos, and the descriptions are vague. I always put multiple photos in my ads, lots of specific nerdy details that only a drummer is going to bother listing (type of bearing edges on the shells for example). I think if you scroll through the ads on CL regularly you get a feel for what "scammy" ones look like vs. genuine ones - I've bought plenty of stuff via CL as well and never been scammed.
    I do some trading on the local CL and I've found that the people are honest. I get a lot of scam replies but they are all blatantly obvious after a while. One rule I do have: there must be at least one photo. And not stock footage, but an actual picture of the item. I also look for some detail in the description. My thinking is anybody willing to take the time to post a picture and at least try to honestly describe the item is probably honest enough to try to contact.

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    Default Re: Buying from craigslist

    I sell most of my personal things via craigslist. Everything from $20 random stuff, through a Harley. While I have met some characters, there was never an issue and I have met in empty parking lots at night. This probably isn't the smartest thing, but lets just say I understand the risk.

    We just got gigabit fiber and I handed off our cable modem for $25 at 8AM this morning. Guy pulled up, I handed him the modem, he handed me $25, we shook hands, and off he went.

    I drop things by peoples houses on the way to the shop, etc... I think a lot of it depends on the types of things. The vast majority of people I have dealt with are not who you would expect from craigslist.

    The biggest hassles I have ever had has come from trying to give things away free. After a few attempts, I learned to list it for a small amount to weed out the idiots.
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    Default Re: Buying from craigslist

    Quote Originally Posted by willkamm View Post
    What does a good ventriloquist dummy go for these days?
    No idea of price, but I used to have the book : "Ventriloquism for Dummies" and it wasn't a big seller...
    "Danger! Do Not Touch!" must be one of the scariest things to read in Braille....

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    Default Re: Buying from craigslist

    Quote Originally Posted by Folkmusician.com View Post
    ... The biggest hassles I have ever had has come from trying to give things away free. After a few attempts, I learned to list it for a small amount to weed out the idiots.
    Lol.

    There's an old saying around here, if you want to get rid of something, put it at the end of your driveway with a big sign on it that says, "For Sale: $50" (or whatever other price looks good) and let it sit out there overnight. It will be gone by morning, thieves will have carted it off.

    Whereas if you put the exact same item in the same place with a "Free!" sign on it, it might sit there for weeks with no 'takers'. People often assume that "free" means defective, or so bad that no one wants it, so they don't want it either.

    Probably related to the other old saying, "If you can't sell it, raise the price." The idea being that if it's priced too low, people will think it isn't 'worth' much so they won't want it. But if you jack the price up a little bit, sooner or later some unsuspecting buyer will come along who thinks, "Wow, look what they're asking for that, it must be a really good one, I want it." One wonders if some of the ridiculously overpriced eBay stuff is in that category.

    (I personally would *not* engage in the latter behavior as it seems like running a con game on naive people, which is not something I'd ever be interested in doing.)

  34. #21
    Registered User Roger Moss's Avatar
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    Default Re: Buying from craigslist

    Quote Originally Posted by JL277z View Post
    Lol.

    There's an old saying around here, if you want to get rid of something, put it at the end of your driveway with a big sign on it that says, "For Sale: $50" (or whatever other price looks good) and let it sit out there overnight. It will be gone by morning, thieves will have carted it off.

    Whereas if you put the exact same item in the same place with a "Free!" sign on it, it might sit there for weeks with no 'takers'. People often assume that "free" means defective, or so bad that no one wants it, so they don't want it either.

    Probably related to the other old saying, "If you can't sell it, raise the price." The idea being that if it's priced too low, people will think it isn't 'worth' much so they won't want it. But if you jack the price up a little bit, sooner or later some unsuspecting buyer will come along who thinks, "Wow, look what they're asking for that, it must be a really good one, I want it." One wonders if some of the ridiculously overpriced eBay stuff is in that category.

    (I personally would *not* engage in the latter behavior as it seems like running a con game on naive people, which is not something I'd ever be interested in doing.)
    I offer free stuff on CL occasionally like ukuleles and an ipod once.. I usually ask that they go to children and that gets good results. I answered a request for a computer for somebody's sick mother once and they answered that they lived 25 miles outside town and would I bring it to them. I am disabled and sometimes ask people to deliver but I always add something to the asking price. If they declined I'm not offended.
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  35. #22
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    Default Re: Buying from craigslist

    I have sold and bought plenty of things on CL. Never had any problem. Scammers are pretty obvious.

    Only issues I have had is when we had a garage sale. Everything that was left over that I didn't want to deal with I left in a pile in the alley. Put a "curb alert" into the free stuff section on CL. Stuff started disappearing in hours. But then I noticed there was "new" stuff being added just as fast. I started watching it over the next couple of days and the "stock" had almost completely changed. The pile was still about the same size. Also did the same with empty moving boxes about five years ago. A couple of guys almost got into a fight when they showed up at the same time. Over cardboard boxes.

  36. #23
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    Default Re: Buying from craigslist

    Quote Originally Posted by ajh View Post
    I have sold and bought plenty of things on CL. Never had any problem. Scammers are pretty obvious.

    Only issues I have had is when we had a garage sale. Everything that was left over that I didn't want to deal with I left in a pile in the alley. Put a "curb alert" into the free stuff section on CL. Stuff started disappearing in hours. But then I noticed there was "new" stuff being added just as fast. I started watching it over the next couple of days and the "stock" had almost completely changed. The pile was still about the same size. Also did the same with empty moving boxes about five years ago. A couple of guys almost got into a fight when they showed up at the same time. Over cardboard boxes.
    Cardboard boxes are premium currency on moving day. As far as scammers, I often get text responses saying something like "I want your (item). Please email my sister at (garbled mess)@gmail.com. Always at gmail. Now I don't answer anything at all from gmail. Or it'll be a dubious looking link without explanation. Anybody that clicks on an unknown link gets what they deserve. I've gotten responses fron phone numbers with area codes 1000+ miles away. But it's usually pretty easy to tell when a response is not legit.
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  37. #24

    Default Re: Buying from craigslist

    I started watching it over the next couple of days and the "stock" had almost completely changed. The pile was still about the same size.
    That is pretty funny!

    My experience with the free stuff is that I would literally have 20+ people saying they would come get a single item. Of course they would ask that I hold it, and never show. Now I realize, a lot of people have to work, pick up kids for school, borrow a truck, etc. all legitimate reasons to set a time. But somewhere around 1 out of 5 people would actually show up. Everyone else continued to ask that I hold it longer, with some excuse of why they didn't make it.

    I finally developed a theory, that there are people sitting at home constantly watching for free stuff to pre-sell, or trade before they come to get it. It is the only thing that made sense. If I asked $10-$20 for the thing (items that are well worth it), then no problems. I would get legit buyers.
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  38. #25

    Default Re: Buying from craigslist

    I peruse CL often - the stuff im interested in is otherwise only available on ebay, if that. Still haven't found my hardanger fiddle. But yesterday, while waiting for my wife at the hair place, I saw this nice 58cm oud and bought it an hour later. It's only the second oud I've seen in my area in 15 years.
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