Facebook users buy, sell items

By Ravyn Adams
Contributing Writer

 — COLUMN —

Facebook Marketplace, similar to eBay Inc. or Craigslist, gives users an opportunity to buy and sell unwanted items. Users post photos of the item with a price, description and location. The item is then available for all other Facebook users to see, comment on or message the seller about. Marketplace is available on both desktop and mobile versions for Android and iPhone.

Evan Henry, a Brookhaven College darkroom lab technician and self-proclaimed Marketplace expert, has bought and sold from the page for more than two years. Henry said a great thing about Marketplace is users can browse someone’s profile prior to buying from them. He said that being able to view someone’s profile gives people the opportunity to see if sellers are legitimate and investigate if sellers and buyers share any mutual friends, adding a certain level of security. 

Finding things to buy on Marketplace is extremely easy, Henry said. However, there are a few hiccups in the process. He said there are definitely times where a buyer receives items whose quality is worse than advertised. Henry said he feels no loss because he obtains them at a very cheap price. Facebook does not currently offer insurance for purchases that go wrong. 

“If that transaction goes bad, you lose that money and you don’t get that item,” Henry said. 

Aside from quality being below advertised, there are often communication problems with customers, Henry said. It is a hassle when contemplating meeting someone new, agreeing on a meeting location that is equal distance for both parties and weeding out the less than serious inquiries, he said. Those who want to use Marketplace should meet in public, well-lit spots where all parties can be sure they are safe, he said.

Selling on Marketplace for the last year and a half, being flexible with pricing is a good way to attract customers. I often label items OBO, a common online shopping abbreviation for or best offer. This gives potential customers the opportunity to feel like they have a say in the purchase and adds security for them, ensuring they are not getting ripped off. Aside from gaining customers’ trust, adding OBO opens the door for more customers. More people are likely to approach sellers if they know the seller is willing to negotiate a little and be flexible for someone who might not be able to quite meet the desired price. 

When shopping on the Marketplace, upload clear photos of items from every angle. Being able to clearly see items will attract more customers, and wave off scam concerns. There’s nothing worse than meeting up with someone to buy an iPhone and finding scuffs and scratches.

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