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Sellers Choice 2021 Marketplace Ratings: Craigslist

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Craigslist slipped one notch and placed 9th in the 2021 Sellers Choice Awards for Online Marketplaces. Craigslist was found to be one of the more profitable places to sell – especially locally – and excelled in Ease of Use, but as they have for the past five years, Craigslist finished last in Customer Service and Communication.

In January 2021, EcommerceBytes readers rated the marketplaces on which they had experience selling. An introduction to the Sellers Choice survey along with a summary of the overall ratings can be found here, along with links to results for each of the 10 online marketplaces included in the survey.

craigslist - 2018 Sellers Choice Awards

Profitability:

Customer Service:

Communication:

Ease of Use:

Would you recommend:

craigslist
Year Established: 1996
Description: Online classifieds; general merchandise, real estate, help wanted
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Summary:

Craigslist came in 9th in the 2021 Sellers Choice Awards.

Year after year, sellers make it easy to see the overwhelming appeal of Craigslist: it’s free! That’s a critical advantage of this grandaddy of online classifieds sites, according to many sellers.

But with free comes challenges, including no-shows (transactions are predominantly handled in-person, so sellers don’t appreciate having their time wasted when buyers don’t show up). And, as with several other sites, sellers complained of “low-ballers” who make unreasonable offers that are well below sellers’ list price.

Some said they were also leery of sketchy buyers – creeps and scammers, one seller said they had to watch out for. Others said they have to deal with people unjustly flagging their listings. (Craigslist lets users police the site – “If you see a banned or illegal post on Craigslist, you can flag it.”)

For large or hard-to-ship items, the local aspect of Craigslist transactions is also appealing, many sellers said.

And sellers can forget about the hassle of dealing with returns – as one seller wrote, “Everything is sold absolute, as in an auction. I love that, as I sell for other people’s estates.”

Craigslist doesn’t offer the kinds of tools online sellers want – not being able to relist items is a problem, for example – and it’s difficult to keep track of when listings expire. It offers no customer service or means of communicating, according to sellers.

One seller said sales had dropped off significantly – with the same amount of listings – over the past year. One reason may be related to COVID-19. “Since we meet in person, I stopped listing when the pandemic became increasingly bad in September,” one seller wrote, which could indicate that some buyers are leery of in-person transactions.

“We have had many items sell through Craigslist; however, we are not using Craigslist at this time until the Covid-19 pandemic is over,” wrote another seller. Overall, however, there was little mention of pandemic fears in sellers’ comments about Craigslist, and from what we can see, little has changed about sellers’ attitudes about selling on Craigslist from years past.

Craigslist received a 5.78 in Profitability; a 3.92 in Customer Service; a 3.99 in Communication; and a 6.77 in Ease of Use. It received a 5.69 from sellers when asked, “How likely are you to recommend Craigslist as a selling venue to a friend or colleague?”

Reader Comments: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

You can’t beat the price. Many sales. Simple forms.

Hey, it’s all free – great place to sell all your big stuff locally.

Craigslist is better for local sales and definitely more profitable as a seller. While less transparent than other marketplaces because you need to make arrangements for sales and are somewhat less protected, the payoff is greater.

They are very good at what they do, unobtrusive, and incredibly easy to use. I don’t use them for profit as much as for redistribution of stuff I don’t want to waste.

Craigslist is relatively easy to put up your post of the items that are being sold. Easily to also be contacted or notified if a customer is interested in the item.

I have had few reasons to use Craigslist in the past – usually if I am selling items in which shipping weight would be prohibitive. It is pretty straightforward and simple to use but customer support was basically non-existent on the one or two times I needed it (customer/seller assistance) It is highly effective in quick sale of aforementioned items – but there are increasing safety concerns with in-person interfacing with unknown potential buyers.

I like CL because it gives us plenty of photo slots for each listing. It also allows us to choose to have our other items shown on the site. No seller costs. I sell well on CL.

Easy to use, no cost to use this service.

I find Craigslist very useful when one wants to sell items that are in good shape but no longer needed but cannot be shipped for one reason or another. However, you are on your own and need to be aware of the many scams such as someone offering to buy something sight unseen and paying with checks, etc. Craigslist does not guarantee anything and leaves it up to the seller to use their own judgement. I have successfully bought and sold many things on Craigslist without incident and always used cash. They are a great venue for local markets.

I sell furniture on CL so I count on the local area for sales. I don’t want to ship large items by freight or other shipping methods.

It’s free! It has an excellent following.

Craigslist is made for local selling.

Great place to sell practical things or super underpriced items.

I sell on Craigslist, but there is little communication with them; however, we don’t need anything in that capacity. It is a cut and dried site. Everything is sold absolute, as in an auction. I love that, as I sell for other people’s estates.

I never had to deal with their customer service – that’s how easy it is to use and, for me, trouble free. I’ve sold everything I’ve ever listed. And, it’s free.

I do not sell DIRECTLY on CL; instead, I list my items and give contact information for the antique group shop where I have them placed for sale. I have found this very effective for driving customers into the store. I include store hours in my listings and the store phone number. This has stopped the very questionable emails I was getting in the beginning from who knows who wanting to come to my home. I would NEVER, ever allow CL respondents to come to my home.

I have sold items on craigslist many years, there are ALOT of no shows and HUGE amounts of time wasters. But when something sells, the profit is all yours, I figure you have to deal with the idiots to get it sold.

Ease of use is a big draw but it lacks exposure in preferred markets. Customer service is non-existent but so is the micro managing of content. Good for local pickups of larger items.

Easy to use but I’m not a fan of in-person sales.

Craigslist is a good free site, but their communication skills and service are lacking.

I do not trust buyers or sellers on Craigslist.

The only downside to selling on Craigslist are buyers. Between haggling and being super sketchy, it’s difficult to sell sometimes.

Useful for real estate sales, but consumer service is bad, and listing-flags with no explanation.

The only thing I dislike is that the listings totally disappear after 45 days. To relist a seller has to start from scratch because NOTHING is saved to repeat. Lots of work.

I’ve used this a couple of times and have had good results, however, I’m still leery of the creeps out there and there are always scammers when you list something.

CL doesn’t provide customer service as far as I’m concerned. You have to go to their bulletin board and ask the community for answers. Facebook marketplace, OfferUp and Poshmark are taking a good sized chunk of CL marketshare, leaving more ghouls on CL as higher income folks and women who value safety stick to FB marketplace.

Craigslist remains a throwback to the past, with a Wild West era of few rules, and you’re on your own to play sheriff if a buyer tries to bend or break society rules of manners and morality. Scammers posing as buyers, in addition to the flaky no-shows, eat into valuable time. For the correct inventory tho – this is an amazing and extremely profitable platform for selling items! Results are highly dependant upon geographic location – in addition to buyers physically meeting up as variable, the ease of your listings being Flagged by online trolls anonymously disappearing your postings at their whim makes this a highly unreliable venue to rely on with consistency.

Easy and free to post but lacks customer service completely.

Their rules are arbitrary and depend on others sellers to turn you in if they, the other sellers, feel you violated a rule.

Anytime that I’ve tried to sell on Craigslist, it has resulted in nothing but spam and scam contacts.

Having to relist items is not effective for a selling platform. Wastes too much of my time.

I don’t sell a lot on Craigslist primarily because I find it more for local items that primarily I do not want to ship. It is profitable, though, since what I have listed has no fees.

It’s been losing its appeal in the last year. Sales have dropped off significantly with the same amount of listings. Still a scammers hunting ground. Flagging of ads happens too often for no good reason. There is no customer service!

Because of its format there are a lot of scammers and time wasters on this site. I live in a fairly small town so the demographic is fairly narrow here which makes it more difficult as well to be profitable. Definitely not the best venue out there but ok for a quick flip.

I do have items on this location for sale. I get sales, sometimes. I also have to keep track of when they expire so that I can renew, with over 50 items on, it makes things difficult.

Craigslist is for local selling only. Too many scammers to ship and too many to accept anything but cash. There is absolutely no customer service or communication. Since we meet in person, I stopped listing when the pandemic became increasingly bad in September.

I use Craigslist for items too large to ship or breakable, or collectible items that attract a pickier buyer where having them look it over in person is preferred. Craigslist really seems to have no customer service that I am aware of. I haven’t really needed it.

Zero, and I do mean, ZERO customer service. Forums? A joke! Forums are staffed by other sellers who are unpaid, un-friendly, impolite at best, vulgar and demeaning. Craigslist allows, by lack of blocking, fraudulent, misleading and fake accounts and listings for sellers and buyers alike. Scammers do NOT need an account to attempt fraudulent purchases. With Craigslist’s reputation declining rapidly, I don’t see many honest sellers hanging around much longer.

In my experience, Craigslist caters only to selling locally. It has minimal service as a selling platform. I view it as a way to sell larger items that are used but still useful, and difficult to ship or not worth the expense. It’s not really a true “sales platform”; it’s the local “want-ads”. If you’re cleaning out the garage, it’s a very useful venue.

I have made some sales on Craigslist but only locally. It is very difficult and time-consuming to list outside the local area. Their customer service sucks (sorry but it does) if you get flagged for any reason the listing is removed and there is no recourse even if it wasn’t breaking the TOS. It is all automated.

Craigslist has really deteriorated in recent times. There are too many scammers and spammers using the site for no-good. Between the spam from other parties, attempted scams and the flood of over-priced junk from sellers who relist month after month, year after year, CL has become a joke. I no longer use it.

Craigslist has phonies trying to pull scams, Craigslist isn’t aware that knowing what’s going on with own Website is essential. Everyone needs extra money in these days, but Craigslist is out of touch in the 21st Century. It’s back in the time, old news like Local Pennysavers!

When it’s good, it’s very good. When it’s bad, it’s horrid.

Craigslist is great for selling select items. To my knowledge there is no way for a seller to communicate with Craigslist. Doing listings is quite simple, but I do not appreciate that they do not have an option to hide my email address. There are far too many people aiming to take advantage with email contact on Craigslist.

Sellers Choice Awards:
We thank all readers who took the time to rate the marketplaces. If you have comments about the Sellers Choice Awards, please feel free to post them below.

Ina Steiner on EmailIna Steiner on LinkedinIna Steiner on Twitter
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.

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