Safe buying and selling tips on Craigslist and Bag Giveaway

How to Buy on Craigslist

Have you considered Craigslist, a widely used classified-ad web page containing local postings for your individual area throughout the world? It is mostlyfirst come first servedwith "cash in hand" and "as is, where is..."–like a clearance (like a garage sale). "Promises, promises" are not good enough for the seller–people do not always show up (because of distance, transportation, money and many other "stoppages").

Do you need a job–check the employment categories; so, you not only shop Craigslist for good usable items from toys, musical instrument–to a bike, car, truck or RV that you may want to buy–but there are also personals, commercial services and dealers.

The listings are similar to visiting a number of of flea markets or garage sales online, or employment offices right there in your home, with some incredibly low prices -- or even free items. Expect great deals or rip-offs...


  1. Get on Craigslist, i.e:when you are ready to try it, by clicking the numeral 1,or just see the Sources and Citations Section at the bottom.
  2. Click on your state name and then click your city or one near your town or community.
  3. Choose a sales category in the drop down list.Click the category from that menu, to narrow the field of stuff in which you are mainly interested.
    • Select "free stuff" as your chosen category on the drop-down list to see how lucky you might be. There may be free dirt, firewood–old or green (pre-cut or long pieces that you'll have to take and cut later), rocks, scrap metal, furniture, garage sale leftovers, used lumber, etc.; sometimes free stuff is left on the street curb for the taking and may be gone quickly.
  4. Enter a search item, brand and/or kind, for example:you can spell out a search for a "riding mower," or do you need a "tiller," under the category: "Farm and garden" by clicking that.
    • A large number of ads have pictures, and so the search has a button so that you can limit your results to ads that include pictures.
    • You can also limit your search to items between certain prices.
      Click "lowest price," as a search setting, then will lead the list, but some people put that to get you to click their listing which may contain mostly higher priced items.
  5. Create a bookmark/favorite of your search so that you may search easily again the next day or next weekend.Or, even if you don't–it will open in the listings for the last city that was searched.
  6. Click the title of an item–in the listing of items found by the search–that you want to examine in detail (to see the seller's ad and description for that item).
  7. Read the ad carefully; be doubtful of fabulous descriptions.An ad should include a brief description of the condition of the item, price, and seller's area location and, possibly, a phone number.
    • Follow the seller's instructions to the buyer such as instructing you to use the secure Craigslist email inquiry, or to call a phone number.
  8. Try replying to the seller with a message sent through Craigslist anonymous secure response link that you can paste into your email to send the request to Craigslist, and then they relay it to the seller.
    • Protect your email address; be anonymous at first and be secure from spammers by creating a membership in Craigslist (if you wish); that way your email is not revealed at the first level of making an inquiry.
  9. Agree on the selling price.Advertisers fear tricks by buyers and often accept only cash. Be prepared to pay cash for your item.
    • Agree when and where to pick up your purchase. Most sellers do not guarantee the product, and say it is "as is" and that sales are "final!":
  10. Examine the item, and try to get it to work, etc.–buyer beware!

Community Q&A

  • Question
    How does the buyer get the purchased item?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    They have to pick it up, or the seller will drop it off. It depends on how the buyer and seller deal it out.
  • Question
    Will the person I buy from send me the item?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Not usually. Typically, he or she will set up a time and place with you to meet up. During this time, you will pay for the product, and he or she will give you the product.
  • Question
    Is there a secure site through Craigslist where I can make a purchase? I have an offer that is almost too good to be true. We are at the point for me to buy the product and I'm unsure.
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    If it's almost too good to be true, then it probably is. I would take extreme caution and insist on doing this transaction in person.
  • Question
    Where do I get the seller's phone number?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Click "reply" at the top of the page the item is on. If the seller has provided a phone number, it will appear on the list. If not, you can always email the person and ask them for their phone number.
Unanswered Questions
  • If I reply and hit send, is that all I have to do for the message to get to the seller?
  • How do I buy something from out of state?
  • Is there a fee to include pictures for a rental apartment?
  • When I click send, will the owner get my request? Is this all I have to do?
  • How can I email someone to buy an item on Craigslist?
Ask a Question
200 characters left
Include your email address to get a message when this question is answered.


Stay safe while buying and selling items online on Craigslist.
  • How about a mower, self-propelled, or riding mower at a good price? Are you able to service it, do a simple tune up (get and keep it running) and sharpen the blades, or have a father, child or neighbor who will always do it for a little reward, ifnotyou'll want to buy a well serviced newer one.
  • Some sellers say that you can inquire for more information and pictures in an email or call. Don't hesitate to ask questions or request other photos.
  • Requests for extra photos and information may make some seller not answer your queries at all.
  • Be patient. It may take multiple attempts and much effort before making a successful deal.
  • Compare the prices among several listings of your item of interest. Also search online for similar items before deciding to buy.


  • For your personal safety, arrange to meet in public places, such as a public library. Have a friend or friends come with you, if possible.
  • Caution: be prompt or lose the deal. Call again while you are on your way, and pretty early–and say that you are really coming. The item may be sold to someone who says "I'll be there immediately" and shows up–"first come, first served."
  • Avoid dealings involving shipping services. Only buy in person after seeing the item.
  • Some items and prices are not so special, and you buy the seller's problems and troubles with the items.
  • Do not give out personal information, such as your social security number.
  • Don't joke around or be obnoxious, as the seller will drop you and your problems to be safer (Even being courteous, don't be surprised if the seller is wary about giving you the address, phone number and direct email link–there are crooks and jokers).
  • Leave extra cash and credit cards at home. Take only your driver's license/identification, look around before knocking on the door, and listen–wherever you go to buy something–and if you are suspicious, get out of there quickly.
  • Never wire or send funds to any seller.Pay with cash only.
  • Remember that Craigslist is first come, first served. Guarantees of sales are most likely scams or used stuff stores using this as a come on.

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