Saturday, March 7, 2009

MY Craigslist Experience

Craigslist is an amazing thing. You can find anything on Craigslist. Cars, clothes, TVs, books, CDs, real estate, goldfish, a soul mate, you name it, it's available on Craigslist. Listing an item for sale costs nothing and, if you're a buyer, you can "haggle" price with the seller (something, for the most part, you're unable to do on eBay).

I spend a lot of time on Craigslist, looking for cars to feature on this blog. There are some pretty incredible cars listed if you take the time to do searches outside of your local area. (A friend of mine calls what I do Craigslust, as in lusting after the cars on Craigslist)

I've noticed quite a few ads that, often rudely, state "DON'T WASTE MY TIME", "NO DREAMERS", "NO DEADBEATS", "NO SCAMMERS", things like that. (See my earlier post about a Volvo for sale) Could there really be that many annoying people out there that a person would put lines like that in their ad? The answer is, uh, yes...

The transmission is starting to fail in my 1995 Jeep Grand Cherokee. It has 200,000+ miles on it and it's just not worth repairing, so I decided to sell it on Craigslist. I'm asking $500.00 or best reasonable offer. It would make a pretty good parts car for someone who needs one.

I submitted the ad around 7AM Friday morning. I waited 15 minutes for it to appear, and then, confirming that it did, took a shower and got ready for work. Before leaving my house around 8, I checked my e-mail. I already had two responses to the ad. I opened the first one and it was from a "Mr. Dunlin" in Nigeria. "Mr. Dunlin" represented a man in Nigeria who, apparently, was looking for a $500.00, 200,000 mile Jeep with a bad transmission. If I didn't know that ALL e-mails coming from Nigeria are scams, I would have thought this was my lucky day. I deleted it. I opened the second one. This one was from a local man who wanted to know if I would take $50.00 per month for the next 10 months. He, of course, wanted the Jeep right away. He was serious. I declined.

By 10PM Friday night I had gotten 12 responses via e-mail or phone call. Only a few were worth reading or considering. The rest were, well, like these...

One man offered me $75.00 for the Jeep, sight unseen. Hell, I could get $200.00 for the wheels and tires alone and then still probably get $100.00 from a scrap dealer for the rest of the vehicle. I passed on the offer.

I got another e-mail from from Nigeria. This time it was from a "Mr. Richard Smith". The offer was similar to the first Nigerian e-mail I got. I deleted this one, too.

I got an e-mail from one man who said he was "mechanically inclined" and needed a 4WD vehicle for work. He left me his phone number. I called him. It sounded promising at first. He asked a bunch of intelligent questions and wanted to look at the Jeep Saturday morning. Cool. Then the kicker came... The man casually mentioned that he had a "few problems that needed to be cleared up with the Department of Motor Vehicles" and asked if he could drive the Jeep on my plate and insurance "for a few weeks" while he "took care of the problem". I declined. He said he'd call me back if he came up with another idea. I'm not holding my breath.

One women got mad and hung up on me when I told her that I had no idea how long the transmission would last (It's just slipping now, in theory the Jeep is still drivable, but if I knew just how long it would last I'd keep until that time).

I got another e-mail from Nigeria. This one had a new twist. The sender, a "Mr. G. McKenzie" (What's with all the formality in Nigeria?), claimed to be representing the "Office of Nigerian Military". It appears that the Nigerian army is looking for high mileage Jeeps with bad transmissions, as he had "representatives in the United States" looking for "vehicles like yours for use in the Nigerian Armed Forces". That's got to be one hell of an army they have in Nigeria. It makes me wonder why, when our last president decided to invade a small country, he didn't choose Nigeria? With an army filled with with broken down, high mileage, passenger-car spec SUVs, it would have taken us no time to kick their asses. Then again, maybe the Nigerians just want to use my Jeep as a car bomb, which is what it's probably most qualified at being. (While there is nothing at all funny about a car bomb, the image of some guy loading the Jeep with explosives and then panicking when he put it in "Drive" and it didn't move, is pretty amusing... "MOVE, DAMN IT, MOVE! ARRRRGGHHHHH!")

I got an e-mail from a local new car dealership telling me that my Jeep was worth $1500.00 during their "Push, Pull or Tow Sale". Cool. If they have a car on their lot for $1500.00 we'll do an even swap.

YES! As I was writing this I got a call from a man who lives a mile away from me. He's looking for a parts car. He knows what he's getting. With any luck at all I'll be able to delete the ad tonight and stop the weird calls and e-mails. Then again, maybe I'll keep it listed for awhile. I'm finding this all strangely amusing.


Anonymous said...

great to hear about other people's experience about craigslist. i think it's great but as you said, do have to be careful about scammers. i've sold a few cars and house on craigslist successfully. one thing about craigslist is that you can't search across different cities all at once. came across a site called that is basically search engine for cars -- letting you search car listings posted across the web; been using it to try to find another car to buy.

Anonymous said...

I just love Craigslist, you find the craziest stuff for sale and meet some truly "unique" individuals. My two best Craigslist encounters were both when selling a car; one gentleman wanted to trade me a horse (I live downtown in a large city) and a very well dressed and very intimidating russian gentleman who offered me the services of "his finest female companion" in trade. Nigerians have even tried to buy a transmission out of a 1998 Civic from me.