February 11th, 2020 by GSC Customer Care

Why it’s popular and how you can use it successfully and safely

In addition to its original use as a social networking site, Facebook also provides a way for you to find and communicate with political representatives, play games, and schedule events. It’s even developing its own currency! So, it’s no surprise that the social media giant has also introduced an online market called Facebook Marketplace.

Better Than Craigslist? If you’ve ever bought or sold something on Craigslist, the original online marketplace, you have a very good idea of what Facebook Marketplace is all about. It’s an online space for regular people to sell and purchase (typically used) items.

Many argue that Facebook Marketplace is superior to Craigslist because it makes it easy to create and browse listings using your phone, gives you more information about the people you’re dealing with, and increases your chances of actually selling your items.

Let’s look at each of these features in a little more detail:

  • Ease of use. The Facebook interface is easy to use, allowing you to create an ad in a couple of minutes. The Craigslist interface is clunkier, and you can’t use it on your phone, so you can’t use it to look at listings on the go. Facebook’s offering allows you to specify a radius for your search, unlike Craigslist, which only narrows by counties.
  • Better transparency. When you use Craigslist, everything is anonymous. Buyers and sellers don’t know anything about each other until they decide to meet to complete the transaction, making it easier for sellers to perpetrate scams. Facebook Marketplace ads are tied to user accounts, so you always know with whom you’re communicating.
  • Rate of sales. Some users say they’re able to sell their stuff at a higher rate using Facebook Marketplace than through Craigslist. There are a few possible reasons for this, including that buyers can browse on the Facebook platform, whereas on Craigslist they must search. Additionally, Facebook has over two billion users, many more than Craigslist.

Of course, you don’t have to choose between Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist. You can use them both. There are also other similar services available (see sidebar).

Tips for Buyers and Sellers
Whether you’re on the buying or selling end, there are some good ways to make your transactions go as smoothly as possible.

If you’re the buyer, try to get as much information as possible about the item. Ask about its condition and the asking price. When you meet, examine the item carefully to make sure it’s what you want and that it’s in the condition that was described to you. If it’s a luxury item, request a certificate of authenticity or proof of purchase. Finally, be patient after sending a message to a seller. Some of them may need a few hours or even more to respond.

If you’re the seller, make sure your photo of the item shows its condition as clearly as possible. Use multiple photos to show different features or the item from various angles. Be honest about any defects such as tears or stains. Don’t sell recalled items. Clothing items should be as clean as possible. Agree on a price with the buyer before the two of you meet.

How to Stay Safe
As with all online interactions, it’s important to know how to protect yourself from those who may wish to scam or harm you.

If you’re the buyer, check out the seller prior to messaging them about the item they’re selling, watching for anything on their Facebook profile that might indicate they’re not legitimate. Red flags include selling in your area but not living there, a profile image that comes up in a Google reverse image search (see support.google.com/websearch/answer/1325808?hl=en) as someone else, or spammy links in their public posts.

If you’re the seller, be sure to completely clear all your personal information from any electronic devices that you offer. Whether you’re the buyer or the seller, never share your personal financial information and use cash or person-to- person payment methods such as those available on PayPal or Facebook Messenger. Avoid cashier’s checks and certified checks, which can be counterfeited. Always meet in a safe location, such as a public parking lot with security cameras or a coffee shop. Bring a friend along for good measure.

Other Ways to Sell Your Stuff

If you’re not a fan of either Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist, there are plenty of other places online to sell your stuff. Here are just a few:

Amazon Marketplace – You can sell anything here, but the service is best for items like textbooks, video games, electronics, kitchen appliances, and clothing.

eBay – With its auction-style approach, eBay allows buyers to bid on items for sale and the highest bidder gets to purchase.

Etsy – Like an online craft fair, Etsy is the place for those who make or want to buy handcrafted items like jewelry and home décor.

Glyde – Specifically for electronics, this site connects you with interested buyers.

Poshmark – Another item-specific site, Poshmark is the place to go to unload your gently used clothes and accessories.

Shopify – If you require more of an ongoing presence online to sell your stuff, Shopify is a good place to start, as it allows you to build your own online store.

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