Craigslist Etiquette - When you decline to buy?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Eanair, Aug 13, 2009.

  1. Eanair macrumors 6502

    Eanair

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2009
    #1
    If you meet someone from Craigslist with the possibility of buying an item - and you decide you want to decline after testing it out, is there a right/wrong way to do this, other than a polite, "No, thanks, but I appreciate you taking the time to show me" response?
     
  2. theMaccer macrumors 6502a

    theMaccer

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    Location:
    SoCal
    #2
    There is no right or wrong. It is just not cool.
     
  3. donuttakedonuts macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2009
    #3
    I think you can say "it's just not quite what I had in mind"
    or something like that.
    like "YOU B****** YOU MISREPRESENTED YOUR ITEM! DIE FOOL!" :D
     
  4. rdowns macrumors Penryn

    rdowns

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2003
    #4
    What do you mean that's not cool? That's crap.

    If the item is not as described or there is a valid reason, you have every right to walk away. I'd just politely say, thanks but it's not what I want.
     
  5. Unspoken Demise macrumors 68040

    Unspoken Demise

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    #5
    I had to do that once. It was for a sofa. I went to the woman's home, where she was selling a lot of things. The sofa was nothing like in the picture. Very gross. I told her that it just wasnt what we were looking for, then to humor her, asked her if there was anything else she was interested in selling. She showed me everything, and I already knew I wasnt going to buy anything, but I thought it was the nice thing to do.
     
  6. r6girl Administrator/Editor

    r6girl

    Staff Member

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    Massachusetts
    #6
    I think it helps to request as much information beforehand to avoid having to do this, though. However, if they refuse to send pictures (or just send very bad ones), you could let them know before you meet that you're really looking for the item to be in such-and-such condition in preparation for a "this is not what I was looking for" decline in person.

    I agree with rdowns – if the item is not how it was described, it is totally reasonable to decline to purchase it.
     
  7. Eanair thread starter macrumors 6502

    Eanair

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2009
    #7
    To be more specific, the seller has tried to verbally describe some damage to the item as the pictures taken were of poor quality. The claim is that the damage is nothing major and not really noticeable and probably easily fixable, but I know from experience that what different people consider "nothing major" or "easily fixable" in regards to damage might not be the same. If I go, and IMO, the damage is major, and/or beyond my scope of fixing, I will have to decline.
     
  8. rdowns macrumors Penryn

    rdowns

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    Jul 11, 2003
    #8

    And you'd be perfectly fine with deciding not to buy it after seeing it.
     
  9. highertechnology macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2009
    #9
    IMO as long as you dont throw out the typical "Ill take it" and youre up front about checking it out before you decide then youre covered.
     
  10. dukebound85 macrumors P6

    dukebound85

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    #10
    lol op, you are under NO obligation to buy something after seeing it...
     
  11. dacreativeguy macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2007
    #11
    If the item is as described and works fine, you should buy it. You should do your homework on the item ahead of time to know what to expect. It isn't cool to waste people's time to 'window shop' or to learn about the item in general.

    But if it is misrepresented or broken, go ahead and walk away.

    I sold a G1 firewire ipod once and the guy was all excited and drove 1.5 hours to come down and get it. When he saw it he said, "wow, this is an old model" and "it doesn't have usb?". I posted clear descriptions, photos, and model numbers on craigslist so there was no chance of deception. He eventually bought it, and then had to buy a $50 FW card for his PC to use a 5 year old ipod ;), but I would have been really upset if he didn't buy it. You have to do your homework as a buyer and not be so impulsive. Craigslist sellers are not Walmart!
     
  12. Eanair thread starter macrumors 6502

    Eanair

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    Feb 27, 2009
    #12
    Yes, all points taken.

    However, the thing I'm wondering about is that the seller does not have any pictures that detail some minor damage claimed. There are pictures, but they are of poor quality. I've asked about the damage, to see if it could be described verbally, and the answers were very general. "Nothing major is wrong."

    But if the seller and I have different ideas about what constitutes major damage, then we might have a problem. And I don't want to waste the seller's time, but it's hard to get a good idea of the product from vague answers when I've asked specific questions.
     
  13. killerrobot macrumors 68020

    killerrobot

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    #13
    Ask to set up an appointment to stop by and view it. Don't promise to buy, don't say after you see it you'll buy. Just say you want to see it in person.

    If it's not what you expected/wanted, say thanks for letting me view it. Ask if you can have some time to think about it if you need to or say it's not exactly what I had in mind. Thank them again and go.
     
  14. Foxglove9 macrumors 65816

    Foxglove9

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    Jan 14, 2006
    Location:
    New York City
    #14
    I usually tell the seller I want to stop by to check it out. I've turned down buying things many times. Once someone even came to my house to show me a drum machine he was selling and I declined to buy it. He was cool about it. Generally people are okay with it.

    People have done it to me, but usually they just don't show up. Once a guy came by to test out a Powermac I was selling, was here over an hour with it, even smelled up my bathroom and when all was said and done apologized and said he would have to think more about it and would get back to me. That kinda annoyed me. The people who don't show up and said they are annoys me because I usually waste my whole day waiting for them.

    But I'm okay with someone changing their mind after checking out the item.
     
  15. chan2004 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2007
    Location:
    India, currently Zurich,Switzerland
    #15
    Thank the seller for showing it, and apologize for not taking up the offer.

    As long as you haven't committed to buying the object, it's not anyone's fault if you don't go and buy it.
     
  16. alphaod macrumors Core

    alphaod

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    Feb 9, 2008
    Location:
    NYC
    #16
    If your meeting is to buy it then you shouldn't view it and say no thanks but if you tell the seller that you want to meet to check out the machine and decide later then it's fine.

    If you commit to buy and don't that's just rude. At least find a compelling reason to decline. There is no real etiquette to the whole deal, but there is the importance of respecting other people's time.
     
  17. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #17
    A commitment to buy still always supposes that the material is as advertised and/or implied. If you bought it on eBay and it arrived not as advertised, you would probably return it, right?

    Like, for instance, say I were shopping for a set of Lost DVDs. Even if the poster doesn't explicitly say they're in working condition -- have few enough scratches that my DVD player will play them -- this is a reasonable automatic assumption. If I get there and they're really scratched up, that's misrepresentation, if I got them through eBay or any other service, I'd return them, and I'd rightly refuse to buy them. Any product has some implication of condition or functionality -- if you find an ad for a shirt, you don't expect it has a big tear down the front unless the seller says, "no rips." What acceptable condition means varies from product to product, though.

    But I think the advice to say, "I'd like to come see it" or something generic like that is good practice.

    OTOH there is such a thing as wasting someone's time... if I answered an ad for a Les Paul Custom on Craigslist and got there and said, "Sorry, I just don't think this guitar can play metalcore," I'd be the jerk.
     
  18. ucfgrad93 macrumors P6

    ucfgrad93

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    #18
    And there would not be anything wrong with that.
     
  19. designgeek macrumors 65816

    designgeek

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    Jan 30, 2009
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    "Town"
    #19
    I got a headlight cover for my ancient Mercedes off of ebay and the seller described it as "In good condition" and "little or no wear" but when I received it it had lots of hairline cracks all over. I emailed him and he gave me a refund and let me keep it, I asked if he wanted it back but he said no. If the person is reasonable they should understand if it's not what you're looking for or not up to your standards. If I were selling something with wear I would understand if someone didn't want it.
     
  20. Eanair thread starter macrumors 6502

    Eanair

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2009
    #20
    Thanks for the advice everyone. :)

    We set up an appointment just to view the item, with no commitments to buy.

    The seller understood that because the available pics were not very good at showing the condition and we both had subjective ideas of what constitutes minor/major damage, that I might not want to buy after seeing in person, and was absolutely okay with that.

    Turned out that I didn't buy. I would have had to install a whole new top case, and that was a little beyond the scope of what I was looking for. The seller understood completely, and was fine. :)
     
  21. alphaod macrumors Core

    alphaod

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    Feb 9, 2008
    Location:
    NYC
    #21
    Good to hear that the meet went well without any hassle. Good luck in your acquisitions.
     

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