Online Selling Hassles

When I got my new drone a few months ago, I decided to sell my old one over Facebook Marketplace. I’ve never liked selling things online, but since it was worth more than $200, I figured I should give it a go.

Related: What’s Your Time Worth?

I posted it on a Friday at about noon and it didn’t take long to generate interest, since I put a good price on it and it was a well-known make & model. I immediately had a bunch of questions roll in (and some low-ball offers), including people wanting to see the quality of the photos & video it takes. Unfortunately, Facebook compresses pictures, so they didn’t look too great and I spent too much time going back-and-forth with people on its picture specs.

Nonetheless, by about 4pm, I had three people saying that they wanted it and asking for my address. I let all of them know that others had expressed interest too, and Suddenly all three of them said they were “getting in their car and on their way”. Two were coming from almost an hour away, so I decided the best I could do was let them know others were coming and sell it to whomever put cash in my hand first.

While I waited, a couple of them texted to give me their status, like “should be there in 20 minutes”. I just responded that “no one has gotten here, yet” so they they were reminded that they had competition. I looked online at an article for advice and it said not to “offer to hold merchandise” for anyone, because they might not show up or decide they don’t like it when they arrive.

After about 45 minutes, a guy from a close-by town was the first to arrive. I briefly demo’d the drone for him, landed it, and he put cash in my hand. Immediately, I texted the other two prospective buyers to let them know it was too late.

Of course, they both sent bitchy texts back saying about how far they had driven and how close they were. “I was almost to your street. Thanks for ruining my weekend” texted one of them. The other guy said “You should have told me before I drove for an hour and wasted my gas.” I did warn them both that others were coming, but that’s not what they wanted to hear.

That’s the pain of selling things second-hand. If you give someone a good deal (to sell something quickly), it draws a lot of immediate interest and people get mad that they can’t get there fast enough. I don’t know these people and will never see them again, but I hate the tension and crankiness that inevitably comes with these kinds of transactions.

Related: Garage Sales – Our Old Crap Can Be Your New Crap

This weekend, we decided to get rid of my son’s old dorm futon and I didn’t even think about selling it. Too much of a hassle. We just gave it away free to another university parent that had a son starting this fall. Our FIRE finances are good enough that I’m not going to deal with petty prospective buyers if I don’t have to.

What has been your experience with selling stuff online? Do you do it often, or not at all?

FYI … I know some folks will ask …

Old drone was a Holy Stone HS720; New drone is DJI Mavic Air 2

Image Credit: Pixabay

9 thoughts on “Online Selling Hassles

    1. Yeah – eBay is a good option. It adds some complexity with the shipping component, but the less contact aspect is better. I buy a lot of stuff on eBay, but don’t sell much there.

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  1. Never. There’s nothing I own that would be worth my time to sell, online or otherwise. Some love the game. Some want the cash. I protect my time and mental energies for pursuits that deliver more value to my life. Regarding things, we give them gratis to those we know who want or need them.

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    1. Good approach! In addition to the futon we gave away, I also gave away a pressure washer recently. Ive got a bike to get rid of next. I think maybe I should just give away anything worth less than a used car.

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      1. I thought I knew what my time was worth until I was hired to be an Expert Witness for a Federal Court case. When I quoted a fee to the lawyer, he replied: “That’s not enough. The judge won’t believe you’re an expert at that rate.” I asked how much I should charge. He told me. I raised my eyebrows, and agreed. I prepared, submitted my expert opinion in writing, the judge accepted me as an expert witness, I testified, and we won. If you’re ever hauled into Federal Court, Chief, I’m your man: Perfect batting average!

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      2. Good point! I charge a lot for the occasional consulting or board work. I guess I should value my goof off time more! 🙂

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  2. Thanks for the perspective. When we (finally) move, we will have a bunch of furniture and kitchen stuff to get rid of… some quite new and most good quality. Just not needed as we have good quality stuff already in our second home – we even had the conversation about which blender is better! I was contemplating “do I try and sell” but hated the idea of dealing with negotiations. Your experience pushes me more to donation – offer up to friends and family and then find a worthy cause. Like you, our finances are in good shape and my mental health is worth more than the $1000 I might get from everything!

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    1. Another reason to declutter far in advance of moving! We have a friend that did an estate sale for his mother’s house – with ‘priceless’ antiques. Turns out, hardly anybody today wants second half stuff anymore. They all go to IKEA. The proceeds barely covered the cost of the estate sale company.

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