There’s no doubt that you can find some great bargains on CraigsList and even still, you know by now you just MUST be careful with anyone you meet up with from the site.
Take a friend with you, meet in a very public place or even at the police station, don’t exchange goods or money until everything is agreed upon… heck I could keep going.
Then there are some stories that are just… bizarre, some even bordering on frightening. Here are some such stories, easily good for a laugh or a cautionary warning.
Bought a Keurig on Craigslist.
Used it for a couple of days, started noticing coffee grounds in my cup. Ignored it.
Saw a cockroach in my kitchen, and found out it was coming from the keurig. Took a flashlight to the inside, and it was infested with a nest of cockroaches.
It wasn’t coffee grounds in my cup.
Not me, but a friend. He was selling a graphing calculator and arranged to meet the buyer at a shopping center. The buyer wanted to test it out, but it didn’t have batteries. My friend agreed to ride to a grocery store with him to pick up batteries. On the way back to where they originally met, buyer took the calculator to test it out. He plays with it for a minute, agrees it is in good condition and passes it back to my friend. On the screen, the buyer had typed “you are kidnapped”. My friend finishes reading it, buyer locks doors and speeds up. Friend panics. Then the buyer stops, laughs, gives my friend money, let’s him out and tells him to be more careful. Almost a Raymond K. Hessle kind of thing I guess.
I get that it was just a joke but man that’s freaky! I wouldn’t have laughed.
What would you have done in this situation? Would you have laughed it off?
I agreed to meet with this guy once to buy an Atari Jaguar (I’m a collector). I get to his house at the agreed time, and there’s no one there. I send him an e-mail while hanging out in my car, and he says he had to get groceries, but will be back in a few minutes.
I decide to sit on the hood of my car and wait. His neighbors walk outside and yell to me: “Hey man, you waiting on Jamal for games or drugs?”
“J-Just games!” At this point, I kinda wanted to book it out of there, but he pulled up to the house right as I fumbled with my keys. In all, the guy was a little creepy, and was a complete dick to his daughter. His wife seemed nice enough, though. Got the Atari, and got the heck out of there.
I was new to a big city and decided I didn’t need my car anymore. I listed my car for sale – a 6 year old Honda Accord.
A normal, well-dressed man comes over to see it after a few phone calls about it. He’s in his early 40s and his name is James. He’s buying it for his daughter in college.
I always have my guard up when dealing with strangers, but so far James is personable and seems legitimate. He test drives it with me in it. He does a thorough inspection. He negotiates the price with me for a while. He asks me to hold the car for two days so he can get the money and come pick it up. I agree – a two day hold where I won’t sell it to someone else.
Two days later, James follows up and we meet again – mid day, normal neighborhood in an urban city. James and I test drive the car one more time. He gives me a Chase Bank cashiers check, which I said was fine. I tell him he needs to come to the bank with me to cash this check and to get the title notarized over to him. This is when he starts acting nervous. We’re pulled over on the side of my street discussing this – James in the driver seat and me as the passenger. I figured if he was gonna steal my car he would have two days earlier. Now I’m fairly comfortable with him. He asks me to do one more car inspection with him then we’d go to the bank. I agree but I’m very set on doing the transaction at a bank. As we both get out to inspect the car again he jumps back in and floors it as I try to get back in with him. He pulls away quicker than I can react, passenger door wide open.
I tried to run after him and then realized I’m not as fast as a car. There are bystanders and I hysterically ask someone to call 911. One guy does (I had my phone but my adrenaline was through the roof and didn’t even think of it). As I’m on a stranger’s phone with dispatch, an undercover cop car with two officers pulls out of an ally 5 feet from me. I wave them down and hysterically explain my story. They tell me to hop in the back of their car, which I do.
I implore them to hurry and we can catch this guy – he just drove off. I explain the car and plate and everything. They assure me that they will not go on a high speed chase with me in the car but will radio it in to all surrounding officers, which they do.
The guy gets away and the officers drop me off at the police station to file a report. I file an insurance claim too and am so mad at myself for letting this happen. I suppose it’s better than if I was in the car with this guy, but I’m still mad. Of course, “James'” burner cell phone doesn’t work as soon as he had left.
I go through insurance and their protocols to ensure I’m not committing fraud for about 3 months. The week I’m supposed to get paid, I get a call from police. They found my car… 3 states over.
“James” was working with a partner in crime (don’t remember his name, let’s call him Josh). James stole the car and gave it to Josh to sell so it wasn’t traceable back to James and Josh would have plausible deniability if he was ever questioned. Well Josh sold my car to an Average Joe who actually did have a daughter in college who needed a car. The daughter tried to register her new car at the DMV and it came up as stolen. So the cops arrange for me, the Average Joe, and Josh (whose contact info Average Joe had, as he paid him with a check and there was a paper trail) to meet with them at the station for a little chat.
Josh denies any involvement with James but agrees to give us the money back that average Joe paid him if he can just leave without any problems. We all agree to this. Average Joe and I say his daughter can keep the car and I’ll take the money from Josh.
So eventually I got paid for my car. But this experience sucked balls and was very stressful. Since then I have bought and sold cars on Craigslist again. So no lesson was learned (except now I take a photo of the drivers license of all people I interact with at the start).
I got GTA V for the PS3, but then got a PS4 about two weeks later since I got surprised by an extra large paycheck and had money to blow. So I decided to sell my PS3 copy for $40. As soon as I put the listing up, I legit got a text not even ten minutes later for a guy that wanted to meet in half an hour to pick it up. I wasn’t busy, so I decided to do it. The guy was about ten years older than me, incredibly skinny (to the point of ribs practically showing through his shirt), and had a tick. Anyway, I make the transaction and think that’s the end of it.
On my drive home texted me, wanting me to come over to his place and play it with him. I politely decline. He then goes on to text me a novel about his life story and his time serving in Afghanistan and his PTSD and depression. I felt bad for him, but still didn’t want to go hang out with a stranger I meet on craigslist. He then starts asking me when I’d be free to hang out and tries to make plans. I explain politely that I’m not really looking to make friends through craigslist or anything. He tries calling me. I turn off my phone and go to sleep. I turn it back on in the morning and I’ve got twenty-something missed calls and over sixty text messages from him, getting increasingly more angry, violent, and threatening as they went along. I installed an app to block his number and that solved it, but for a good week or two I was afraid of accidentally running into him again.
This is just a taste of the insanity! Have you ever done a deal through CraigsList that went weird or entirely bad? Shout out in the comments below.