Said honestly it’s amazing that if you ask someone, "Where’s the best place to buy or sell stuff online?", the the typical answer is "eBay".

I disagree with this. The best place is Craigslist (abbreviated commonly as just "CL").

First, a few facts about CL:

  • It’s been around just as long as eBay has (since 1995).
  • It’s far easier to use than eBay overall.
  • It loads way faster than eBay does.
  • You can place ads for free.

I don’t know about other countries, but in the United States people genuinely appreciate being able to conduct business on a local level. eBay has never really been able to accomplish that, but with CL you can quite easily.

For example, my local is tampa.craigslist.org and chances are your local is listed here somewhere.

My reasons for preferring CL over eBay when buying and selling items are as follows:

Staying local works

As noted above, with eBay it’s a challenge at best to go local and stay local. Sure, you can set options on your item when selling it to keep it regionalized – but why bother forking over cash just to post an auction when all you want is a quick local sale?

PayPal is annoying

I’m sure there are more than a few readers out there who can say how much PayPal sucks at times. With eBay it’s more or less required to use PayPal just to buy or sell. How many auctions have you seen that state very loudly "PAYPAL ONLY"?

If you use PayPal, you only do so because you have to, not because you want to.

Better for the bargain hunter

Are you cheap? No, seriously.. are you really cheap? You’re in luck because CL has a "free" category for every local. Here’s an example from the Tampa local. You’d be surprised at the stuff people are willing to give away.

Some quick Q and A

Can you get scammed on CL?

You can get scammed anywhere, be it online or in person and CL is no exception. You know the old saying "let the buyer beware". If you think something sounds like a scam, it most likely is.

CL states very clearly to deal locally with people you can meet with in person, never wire funds, don’t do checks or money orders, don’t give out any of your personal fiscal information, avoid deals involving shipping or escrow and so on.

Even if you decide not to use CL, you should go to that link anyway just to get educated on how to spot scam stuff. It’s a good read.

Can you meet "scary" people from CL?

Of course. But CL has tips on that also.

Can I really post an ad for free and sell using straight cash in person?

Absolutely.

Can I get everything I want from CL?

Possibly – but I don’t know what you want to buy or sell. CL is free to use so you have nothing to lose by checking it out.

Are you doing your holiday season shopping now?

If you are you should definitely check CL out for yourself whether you’re buying or selling.