Whether you’re looking for an apartment, selling some old furniture, or hiring someone to fix your car, Craigslist is your friend. But with all the good comes the bad—like any online exchange, there’s always a chance to be scammed or get taken advantage of. Fortunately, there are ways to avoid getting ripped off. In this article, we’ll teach you how to negotiate on craigslist—a skill that will allow you to save thousands and flex your social, math, and financial skills.
Do not make your first offer a low one. People will often get defensive when they receive a low-ball offer. Instead, send a friendly email explaining that you’re interested in the item but are not yet ready to buy. This way, the seller doesn’t feel attacked and you can communicate more efficiently.
DO NOT agree on a price before you inspect the item. Some sellers try to scam buyers by asking them to wire funds in advance or pay the full amount before inspecting the item. If this is a requirement, consider backing out of the deal.
Also, do not disclose your personal details to strangers on Craigslist. You should only share your phone number or email address with potential buyers that you’ve already negotiated with. Disclosing other personal information like your home address or date of birth can put you at risk for identity theft and fraud. If you need to communicate with a Craigslist buyer outside of your geographic area, do so through an encrypted service like Google Hangouts or WhatsApp.