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We have a major appliance that we needed to replace - not because it was old (under 3 years old) or didn't work right, but because it wasn't meeting our needs. So as a result we had to get something else, and to try to soften the blow of the expense we are trying to sell our used appliance. This is a major appliance (we paid close to $2000) and while used data is hard to come by (seems few people want to part with theirs?) it seems like 25% of what we paid is a reasonable figure to expect, although I'm not making any representations of a firm asking price anywhere in case that's still unreasonable.

However, we are having no luck. I tried calling around to places or dealers that sell used appliances - they must be getting them from somewhere, right? But I was told, "Oh, we don't buy them, you should sell it on Craigslist." When I tried to ask them where they got their appliances they just repeated that, almost implying that's where they got all their used appliances, which seems dubious. Honestly, I would rather sell to a dealer simply to avoid the hassle, even knowing I'll get less that way.

In any case, I have had luck with selling things on Craiglist in the past - a few years back I sold a vehicle, and more recently I sold a large piece of furniture. But in the last year it seems like nobody responds to CL "for sale" ad but scammers. I cannot count the number of messages that either text me and ask me to reply to their email (presumably trying to bypass the CL e-mail anonymizer) or message from out of state area codes wanting to buy sight unseen without negotiating via cashiers check or some other method that supposedly will "clear" after which their "movers" or other person will come by to relieve me of my unwanted goods. A few might not even been seen as a scammer on first look were it not for the face that I get twelve identical word for word messages from different numbers, or they seem to not have even read my ad. Sometimes on the less blatant ones I probe just to be sure they are a scammer, such as making small talk to see if they are trying to press me to hurry and innocuously asking questions that a real buyer wouldn't be evasive about.

This isn't a one-off thing, either. I have listed multiple items, some are even still listed and have not received any legitimate inquiries.

So what's the 2018 way to make money selling unneeded household items if brick and mortar places don't buy from individuals and everyone online seems to be a scammer?

  • Have you tried eBay, if you only need 1/4th of the original retail price, I would imagine ebay even after fees should be close to what you had in mind while also avoiding most of the automated scam attempts lurking on CL. – Leon Dec 5 '18 at 14:29
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    @Leon I have not... is it possible to sell appliances that way? The thing about CL is that it's supposed to be local, somebody comes over, checks out the item, and if they like it they buy it. With an appliance there's a bit more that can go wrong, though so for instance satisfying the buyer that everything is in working order, how do you do that over something like eBay? Maybe I have read too many stories about sellers on eBay being cheated by a seller who fraudulently claims something was not as advertised and getting refunded while keeping the device. – Michael Dec 5 '18 at 14:33
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    buyer has priority over seller on ebay for sure, that being said, it does a good enough job to deter scammers spamming you. You can sell the item as-is with enough pictures and stating basic information about it (that it works, any warranty left on it etc) and you should be covered. You can also leave a phone number on your listing so people can contact you for further inquiries during which you can ofcourse suggest local meetups and better pricing for hand in hand sales. p.s. Facebook marketplace Pete suggests is also a very good option for random one-off sales – Leon Dec 5 '18 at 15:02
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    how about Offer Up? it's similar to CL and it's also local – RAZ_Muh_Taz Dec 5 '18 at 16:01
  • NextDoor is active in my area, see things listed for sale on there frequently. – Hart CO Dec 5 '18 at 18:30
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Its super challenging to do things like this in today's market and there are a number of reasons for this. You point out one: scammers. They are annoying and part of the cost of doing business.

Make no mistake, selling stuff is work and a lot of times it is not enjoyable work. It also take patience.

One thing that is working against you is the economy. People have money these days, and they would just rather buy new. One thing that can help motivate them to buy used, is price. You have to make it very attractive for them to buy.

For one, I would give Facebook market place a try. I had luck selling a bike rack to someone on that forum. It took way too long, and I had my share of scammers and "is it still available?" with no further responses. But it did eventually sell. Also some coworkers have had some luck with LetGo.

You can also try a garage sale. This is especially helpful if you have other things to sell or can bundle with others. Then use Facebook and Craiglist to advertise your sales. You will get your share of low ballers, but you will also make some sales.

Currently I have about 9 brand new, genuine NFL merchandise t-shirts for the local NFL team. And I am dreading trying to sell them. However, I like padding my investment account too much so I will undertake this venture.

So, in so many words, the pain you are experiencing is normal. A better option might be to work a second job.

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    Pete - isn't this off-topic? "Questions seeking product or service recommendations are off-topic because they tend to become obsolete quickly." Or do you feel it's in the gray zone? – JoeTaxpayer Dec 5 '18 at 16:12
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    @JoeTaxpayer I feel it is gray. First off this is a very important subject to people trying to take charge of their money. We really should encourage them in that endeavor. Secondly, I feel that my answer was less of a product endorsement then a solution to solve the underlying issue. – Pete B. Dec 5 '18 at 16:50
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    Understood, I’ll support your vote to reopen, if needed. – JoeTaxpayer Dec 6 '18 at 0:01

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