My experience selling iPhone 4 on eBay vs Craigslist

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by oaktree, Aug 4, 2013.

  1. oaktree macrumors regular

    Jun 26, 2013
    I recently sold two black iPhone 4s, one was 16 GB, the other was 32 GB.

    I am an experienced eBay seller in another category, so I spent many hours researching the iPhone 4 category. What I learned was I could probably set my own price with a Buy It Now listing, rather than taking a chance with an auction. But I noticed that the three day listings (the minimum for BIN) received a lot more activity than listings that were longer.

    I also noticed that listings that had several very good pictures seemed to sell better than those that did not. Phones that brought top dollar almost consistently had clear, thorough descriptions. Phones that were described as "looks great, works good" still sold, but not always for top dollar.

    I had several weeks to do my research, so I was able to notice that Sunday afternoons (Eastern time) saw a significant number of sales as opposed to other times of the week. On the Sunday before I listed the first phone, 20% of the total listings in my category sold. That's huge compared to just 4% on a Wednesday or Thursday.

    I had AT&T unlock the phones, cleaned them so they shone, took pictures along with the original box, and wrote my listings.

    Since I wanted to start my listing on a Sunday afternoon, and I had some lag time, I went ahead and listed the first phone on Craigslist three days before I listed it on eBay.

    Here's what happened:
    The 16GB sold within 30 minutes of listing it.
    Two weeks later I listed the 32 GB with a three day auction, starting on Thursday morning. I couldn't wait to list it, and I figured it wouldn't hurt. If it didn't sell, I could still relist it on Sunday afternoon to capitalize on the huge amount of traffic in that listing at that time. It sold Friday night, so I never had to relist it. Both of these sales were on eBay.

    While I had them on Craigslist, I received messages such as "How much you sell your iPhone 4?", "Will you take less because I don't want to spend much money?" (I directed him to the broken screen phones on eBay), or my personal favorite "$100", and various other noncommittal messages. I was concerned about meeting someone and exchanging cash, wondering if the cash was counterfeit.

    I had the phones listed for less on Craigslist than I did on eBay, but even if I would have ended up with more than selling it on eBay (doubtful because everyone seemed to want it for much less than I listed it), I found eBay much easier.

    I shipped the phones via USPS with insurance and signature confirmation. I had no problems with scammers, but I think that was because my listing was very professionally written.

    I wish I had more to sell because it was SO MUCH FUN!
  2. lordofthereef macrumors G5


    Nov 29, 2011
    Boston, MA
    If you are truly worried about counterfeit money, all you need to do is buy a <$5 pen that check for that sort of thing.

    Regardless, happy you enjoyed selling on eBay. After seller's fees, shipping, etc. I find it to be more of a hassle than it's worth, personally.
  3. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem


    Feb 19, 2005
    Scammers don't really tend to care about photos and I venture to guess that you didn't have issues with scammers because it doesn't exactly happen all of the time. It may seem that way, but there are many successful transactions on eBay every single day. My cell phone sales on eBay have had zero issues, like you.

    It is good that everything went without issue. Although eBay has changed and in most cases has grown so large that fraud happens, it is still a conduit for people to sell their crap.

    Craigslist used to be much better. My first three transactions (sales) on CL were great. Listed a desk, a fridge, and a bike on three separate occasions. The items sold in two days and nothing bad happened. My next few sales took a little longer but were successful again.

    The next few sales were tougher, usually riddled with ******** people who wasted a substantial amount of my time. Often, I just gave up and kept the item or got rid of it another way.
  4. oaktree thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 26, 2013
    Yes, I thought about the pen, and who knows what I would have done if it would have actually sold on Craigslist.

    I subsequently listed a Yamaha keyboard on Craigslist, and between one buyer calling and wanting to bring her 5 grandchildren to my home to see if she liked it (I knew she just wanted to use me to find out what it was like and then she was going to buy it from another buyer who listed it for less, but was further away), and the buyer not showing up at the agreed upon meeting place (he sent me an email just one hour before our meeting time, but I hadn't checked my email), I was wondering why so many people prefer Craigslist. But a few hours later when I successfully met with the buyer of the keyboard, I was feeling more confident.

    Bottom line: craigslist is for items to difficult to ship.
  5. rushbc, Aug 4, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2013

    rushbc macrumors newbie


    Jan 5, 2012
    Austin, TX
    I have sold iPhones on ebay and using Gazelle. I have tried many times to sell an older iPhone (just one generation old) on craigslist, and I have *never* successfully sold via craigslist. All I got were scammers, spammers, and people trying to sell me some BS.

    Ebay has always been a decent way to sell for me, for all items, not just iPhones. I only had one buyer try to cause issues for me, but Ebay took care of everything, ebay decided in my favor (I sold a broken iPhone, the title said broken, the description said broken, the photos showed the cracked screen plainly…but the buyer complained to ebay that it was broken! LOL).

    Gazelle is better, easier, hassle free, and you never have to worry about scammers/spammers or dishonest people or idiots. You might not make as much $$ as from ebay, but the difference is not huge and it is worth it in my eyes.

    I am glad you had a good experience, Oaktree. You are right, selling can be fun! Especially when it is something that holds its value as well as an iPhone!
  6. Satnam1989, Aug 4, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2013

    Satnam1989 macrumors 65816

    Nov 16, 2011
    Being a experienced eBay user for almost a decade my self, I still say be careful when selling valuable goods on eBay, most cases they take buyers side and if buyer does chargeback...guess what Paypal leaves you hanging as well. Never happened to me but have seen it first hand happen to some others and its painful I tell ya, eBay is great but they are so uptight about concentrating on the "buyer is right" that they almost leave little for the seller to speak for when it comes to handling matters where large money is involved.

    Main tip I give to avoid scammers on eBay:
    - Check buyer feedback, make sure they are active in the past 6 months and have spend decent amount of money. Also check to see what kind of feedback they left the sellers from whom they bought items from because since eBay has the rule that sellers cannot leave negative feedback, its best to see what the buyer is saying to seller, usually scammers will leave negative feedback to sellers as most sellers do leave their customers feedback well before receiving any.

    As for Craigslist:
    - Buy the $5 pen, its honestly worth every penny and when ever I sell anything locally, I always tell the person before we decide to meet that I am going check the money with a pen and most scammers will not be "comfortable" with that, as I had a scammer walk in and after saying hi, walk right out a McDonald's saying he "forgot his wallet" in the car when he saw my pen on the table.

    - Meet at a local busy place (Starbucks, McDonalds etc) that has plenty of people in a Downtown location if possible and also sit near a camera or where you are seen clearly by everyone.

    - You decide the location you are comfortable at, unless the other party decides a location that you are comfortable with. Do not meet at "oh its a busy place as well and is safe for everyone" etc location that a buyer tries to convince you about.
  7. stormchaser macrumors 6502


    Mar 4, 2010
    I found eBay much easier also no problems selling iPhones. In the UK we don't have Craiglist but we have something called Gumtree which is the same. I would never sell anything on there.
  8. oaktree thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 26, 2013
    Satnam, thanks so much for the craigslist tips!
  9. TB07-NJ macrumors 68020

    Jul 7, 2008
    If you're willing to give up 15%-20% of what you sell an item for, eBay is the place to go. I've been selling on eBay since 1998 and never had a problem. I've sold a few very large items through CL and it's a PITA.

    -10% of the sale to eBay
    -3% of the sale for PayPal
    -Shipping costs (which are relatively expensive these days especially for expensive items where you have to pay a few bucks extra for a signature).
  10. bjb.butler macrumors 6502a


    Aug 18, 2008
    Southern California
    What satnam said.

    -By the pen, let them know you intend on using it
    -Meet in the daytime, at a public place. Take someone with you if possible.

    I've never had any problems selling/buying on craigslist, and I don't live in a particularly safe area either :D
  11. 617aircav Suspended

    Jul 2, 2012
    I once followed a seller home from the att store because he forgot the box at home. He lived in a wooded area, which was secluded. I waited for him in my car outside his house with a loaded 9mm.
  12. Mrg02d macrumors 65816

    Jan 27, 2012
    Probably not worth it if you need a 9mm...
  13. 617aircav Suspended

    Jul 2, 2012
    Well I always carry, even to walmart or mcdonalds.
  14. bjb.butler macrumors 6502a


    Aug 18, 2008
    Southern California
  15. Eckscaliber macrumors 6502a


    May 30, 2012
    I've been selling stuff on eBay for 10 years and it's quite enjoyable. I used to list everything for 5 days, but for the past year I have only been doing 3-day lsitings and it works well. I also use strategy when it comes to listing time.
  16. 617aircav Suspended

    Jul 2, 2012
    I live in a state that allows open carry, so people just do. You never know when it may save your life. I am also military and got used to it while deployed I guess.
  17. sosinsurr macrumors regular

    Dec 18, 2011
    I've sold iPhone's and other phones on both eBay and CL and have never had a problem with either. Only one time on eBay did I have a problem with a suspended account or something weird. It was so long ago I don't even remember.
  18. nburwell macrumors 68040


    May 6, 2008
    This is what I usually do. I haven't sold an item on CL for years. Even after the fees eBay and PayPal takes, I would much rather sell an item on there, then have to deal with someone in person. As long as you insure your high priced items, and ship with signature delivery, you should be okay (most of the time). I sell a lot of low priced stuff (video games, movies, etc). But I do occassionally sell camera gear I don't use and/or my old iPhone if I just upgraded. I've had very few issues with scammers on eBay. Fortunately, they are quick to resolve any issues I do run into.
  19. 617aircav Suspended

    Jul 2, 2012
    I usually sell on ebay because I buy from CL at a much lower price. On cl an nice iphone 5 can be had for 300 dollars if the seller is desperate for cash.
  20. cynics macrumors G4

    Jan 8, 2012
    I'm the same way. Been mugged twice now minding my own business in the city, never again.

    Now I live in MD and criminals are the only people with guns. I just avoid the city like its the plague.


    I used CL once and had an ok experience with it but I'm gonna be sticking to eBay. I feel I could get more money, safely, reliably, to a larger audience with less bartering.
  21. Lucille Carter macrumors 65816

    Jul 3, 2013
    Me too, I never leave home with out it.:eek:
  22. oaktree thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 26, 2013
    I'm now selling an iHome on Craigslist, and within 12 hours of listing it, received this message:
    "Hello saw your posting decided I want it for a gift. Tired of being caught up in lies though so giving you mine so u can contact me directly over on (lists his email address) Blame soceity"

    There's no reason I need to contact him directly through his email as opposed to replying through craigslist, so I assume he is trying to figure who I am for whatever reason. So my reply?

    "LOL! I'm so tired of the scammers." And then I went on to suggest a time to meet. I don't expect I'll hear from him, but I do wonder what he is up to for a five year old iHome that doesn't have much demand.
  23. AppleCruncher macrumors regular

    Jun 17, 2013
    pffff....buyer pays shipping and roll the seller fee into the BIN price.

    ebay>craigslist for actually getting what your item is worth.
    ebay>craigslist for not having to meet some stranger somewhere to make the deal.
    ebay>craigslist for having paypal protection
    ebay>craigslist for being able to research who you are buying from, or selling to
    ebay>craigslist for not getting a thousand emails from the nigerians


    Yup, 3 days for all mine too.
  24. lordofthereef, Aug 5, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2013

    lordofthereef macrumors G5


    Nov 29, 2011
    Boston, MA
    I have always gotten more on craigslist than I have gotten on ebay after selling fees, even with a buy it now. And don't get me wrong, I have quite a few (over 500) transactions on eBay, so I am not new to it, if you are thinking that based on my responses (same user name by the way, in case that is of interest). I keep my phones in great condition with box, manuals, and all, and therefor I do not take any offers for less than my phone is worth. I always list the phone for what I want to get, and don't haggle. And, I don't get thousands of emails from nigerians. I have received maybe a dozen per listing. If that is so much of an issue for you or the OP, you make a fair point, go with eBay, if you'd rather. Based on the OP's post (just above yours)... he was contacted by those "nigerians" via ebay too. Just saying...

    Unfortunately you can still get scammed on eBay as well. If you are not insuring the package (and most people don't), eBay/PayPal does not have to accept your claim if the buyer claims the phones was damaged, you sent an empty box, etc. if there IS a claim, and you aren't an avid CURRENT seller, eBay/PayPal will freeze the funds pending investigation, and I have seen those go all kinds of ways. You either get your money, the buyer is refunded their money, or (rarely) both users get to keep the money (this happened with a camera I sold with a bad battery a few years back). Also, there can easily be sellers with a positive feedback score that looks good on paper. How did they get there? They either bought the account (a Google search found some on sale right now) or they traded with other scammers to geth their counts high. The latter is easier to detect with a bit of research, the former is damn near impossible.

    I am not saying eBay is a bad place, just that FOR ME, craigslist seems to be less of a hassle for certain things, phones being one of them. Sorry you disagree, but the way you decided to repond lacked even the most basic form of forum etiquette.
  25. 617aircav Suspended

    Jul 2, 2012
    Actually most people do insure packages, specially phones.

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