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A Case Against Buying from Craigslist

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A Case Against Buying from Craigslist

Old 07-27-18, 06:52 AM
  #26  
MRT2
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Originally Posted by Litespud View Post
It's all fine and dandy to say "check the serial number against a database", but when in the buying process is this supposed to happen? I can only speak for myself, but if I were selling a bike and a potential buyer flipped it over, jotted down the serial# and said he was off to check if it was stolen, I would likely invite him to go f**k himself and not to bother returning. The best way to ensure that the seller is actually the owner of the bike and not some bozo who "acquired" it recently is to engage him in conversation about the bike and cycling - you'll quickly determine if (i) he's a cyclist, and (ii) he knows something about this bike. If you smell a rat, you can choose to walk
Exactly. I have bought two bikes off Craigslist, and each of them had a back story. For example, some years back, I bought a a mid 80s Schwinn LeTour. It had a sticker on it from a bike shop that is now out of business. I met the guy at his residence, which was a working class neighborhood. The bike itself looked in clean condition, but with a lot of really old consumables, like tires and brakes. And he had a backstory. His Dad bought two identical bikes back in the 80s when he was a teenager to ride in a big once a year charity ride in June. The seller and his Dad rode together in that ride for about 15 or 20 years, until his Dad gave up riding, and since then, the seller also gave up riding, and the bike was more or less just sitting collecting dust in his basement.. I gave the guy a somewhat lowball offer, and the seller balked, saying he had 2 or 3 other people interested in the bike. A couple of hours later, the seller called me back (I guess the other buyers didn't show) and asked if I could meet him in the middle, which I did, and we made the deal that night.
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Old 07-27-18, 09:57 AM
  #27  
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It is asinine to avoid Craigslist because the bike
may be stolen. A person with a modicum of common sense should be able to detect suspicious circumstances when meeting the seller. Take precautions. Meet at a central location preferably a police station. Ask the usual questions as if purchasing a car. Walk away if things don't add up.

I have purchased several bikes on Craigslist and it is an excellent source for bikes. Typically quality bikes being sold because the seller discovered they were in over their head and cycling is more difficult than it first appeared.

Also, I will print the ad from Craigslist and use it to as a receipt by writing all info and having seller sign.
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Old 07-27-18, 10:21 AM
  #28  
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I remember reading several years back that as a conservative estimate, almost 50% of bikes listed on Craigslist are stolen. This was along with a host of tips on identifying ads likely written by thieves.

In the Twin Cities there is an active group that recovers stolen bikes from Craigslist ads and other online meet-and-sell venues, in cooperation with the police. I’m a bit surprised that people are so very critical of the OP in this regard, though maybe it would have been better to say “learn to recognize ads written by thieves and be VERY cautious and skeptical with Craigslist, as many/most bikes are stolen.”
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Old 07-27-18, 10:45 AM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by toast3d View Post
Craigslist doesn't exactly have a good reputation for a large number of reasons, many of which have nothing at all to do with the bicycle listings specifically. Feel free to correct me on that, but I don't think it's controversial. I realize this might be a bit of a sore spot for some of you, because you've bought used bikes and parts from craigslist in the past, and will probably continue to do so in the future. I'm posting this topic to plead with you to stop doing that.


The reason for this is simple: you're much more likely to end up with something that's been stolen. Bike theft is a huge problem, especially in areas with a high population and a high percentage of cyclists. A lot of people quit riding bikes altogether because of theft. It's a major factor in slowing the long term growth of cycling.


By purchasing used bikes and parts from cragslist, you run the risk of supporting bicycle theft.


Please, if you do want to keep using craigslist, don't buy anything unless the seller has the original receipt. I know some of you love getting vintage bikes from CL, but please stop. You could be supporting thieves and fencers. The next time you're tempted to go digging on CL for a great deal, try to think about how it feels to have your bike stolen.


If people stop buying used bikes on CL, theft should in theory go down because it won't be worth the thief's time to steal a bike in a lot of cases. High end bikes will probably still get stolen, but it may significantly reduce mid-to low end thefts if less people are willing to use CL. I believe CL is probably one of the largest places where stolen bikes end up.


Just consider it, please.
I disagree! People should be smart enough to know if what they are buying matches the surroundings. I mean if your looking at giving $3000 for a used bike in section 8 housing, somethings probably wrong with that scenario. I think Craigslist, if used properly, is a great source to get items sold or bought. I also know for a fact, that police in my area monitor craigslist for stolen property.
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Old 07-27-18, 11:04 AM
  #30  
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I think it is not only CL where the bad guys try to go - there are offerup, facebook and tons of free market out there.
So, not buying on CL won't really do anything - as someone mentioned it is just punishing the good guys our there.
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Old 07-27-18, 11:19 AM
  #31  
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What about buying used bikes and parts at local bicycle co-ops? Might they be stolen bike fencers and chop shops in disguise?
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Old 07-27-18, 11:38 AM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by phtomita View Post
I think it is not only CL where the bad guys try to go - there are offerup, facebook and tons of free market out there.
So, not buying on CL won't really do anything - as someone mentioned it is just punishing the good guys our there.
Yeah, it's a fair point.

Let's say for the sake of discussion that everybody suddenly stopped using CL. Well then some other site would get boosted because the market still exists and there is still a supply/demand, and the thieves and fencers would follow to that next site along with everybody else.

So I guess ultimately just try to be more wary if you are going to use CL. Just because the problem isn't going to go away, it doesn't mean that you shouldn't take steps to be a bit more responsible in trying to avoid contributing to it.
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Old 07-27-18, 11:43 AM
  #33  
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The nature of bicycles being small, light, easily transportable, easily disassembled and having immediate street value to a large audience, means that they will forever be relatively easily fenced as stolen property.


Look at how much paperwork and extra cost goes into titles and registration for verified, government-regulated car ownership, and there are still almost a million cars stolen in the United States every year.
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Old 07-27-18, 11:45 AM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by toast3d View Post
If people stop buying used bikes on CL, theft should in theory go down because it won't be worth the thief's time to steal a bike in a lot of cases.
.
Theft won't go down. The thieves will either take the bike to a pawn shop, trade it to their dealer for some meth, or find some other way to unload it.
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Old 07-27-18, 11:50 AM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by Milton Keynes View Post
Theft won't go down. The thieves will either take the bike to a pawn shop, trade it to their dealer for some meth, or find some other way to unload it.
Yep.
You want bike theft to go down? Legalize meth, heroin and every other recreational drug so that it becomes so available and cheap that every addict ODs before they resort to stealing.
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Old 07-27-18, 11:52 AM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by toast3d View Post
I also never said that buying bikes from CL was the same as supporting bicycle theft.
Um...

Originally Posted by toast3d View Post
By purchasing used bikes and parts from cragslist, you run the risk of supporting bicycle theft.
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Old 07-27-18, 12:10 PM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by Milton Keynes View Post
Um...
If you can't see the difference between those two statements, I don't think I can help you. You're just going to have to figure it out by yourself somehow.
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Old 07-27-18, 12:38 PM
  #38  
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I saw a really nice table on CL but didn't buy it because maybe it was stolen
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Old 07-27-18, 12:49 PM
  #39  
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Originally Posted by toast3d View Post
If you can't see the difference between those two statements, I don't think I can help you. You're just going to have to figure it out by yourself somehow.
Here's what you said in context:

"you've bought used bikes and parts from craigslist in the past, and will probably continue to do so in the future. I'm posting this topic to plead with you to stop doing that.
The reason for this is simple: you're much more likely to end up with something that's been stolen. Bike theft is a huge problem, especially in areas with a high population and a high percentage of cyclists. A lot of people quit riding bikes altogether because of theft. It's a major factor in slowing the long term growth of cycling.
By purchasing used bikes and parts from cragslist, you run the risk of supporting bicycle theft."

In that context, saying "you run the risk of" and saying "you are" has no substantive difference. If you are telling people to take the relatively extreme step of not using CL at all, you are either asserting that that "risk" is so high, it's almost a certainty, or your plea is completely illogical.

Quit splitting hairs--you're calling for a boycott of CL, how is being weaselly about the wording of your rationale helping your case?
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Old 07-27-18, 01:22 PM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
Here's what you said in context:

"you've bought used bikes and parts from craigslist in the past, and will probably continue to do so in the future. I'm posting this topic to plead with you to stop doing that.
The reason for this is simple: you're much more likely to end up with something that's been stolen. Bike theft is a huge problem, especially in areas with a high population and a high percentage of cyclists. A lot of people quit riding bikes altogether because of theft. It's a major factor in slowing the long term growth of cycling.
By purchasing used bikes and parts from cragslist, you run the risk of supporting bicycle theft."

In that context, saying "you run the risk of" and saying "you are" has no substantive difference. If you are telling people to take the relatively extreme step of not using CL at all, you are either asserting that that "risk" is so high, it's almost a certainty, or your plea is completely illogical.

Quit splitting hairs--you're calling for a boycott of CL, how is being weaselly about the wording of your rationale helping your case?
You're equivocating, and I'm not getting sucked into some angry search for a "gotcha" moment, which ultimately doesn't change anything about what's being put forward for discussion anyway. It's petty.

You either agree that there's a significant risk or you don't. You either choose to use the site or you don't.

If you do use the site, then I hope you at least take the time to be cautious about it. Checking serial numbers on bike frames is probably the least amount of effort you could put forward. There are posters in this topic who seem to fancy their selves to be amateur detectives, able to spot a suspicious seller. I don't know how much stock I'd put in that. But being more wary of the people selling stuff on there is not something I'd object to.

Have a nice day.
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Old 07-27-18, 01:34 PM
  #41  
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Originally Posted by toast3d View Post
If you can't see the difference between those two statements, I don't think I can help you. You're just going to have to figure it out by yourself somehow.
You're the one who made the claim that bike theft would go down if people stopped buying bikes on Craigslist. How that's not saying that buying bikes on Craigslist is supporting bike theft, I have no idea. You can argue semantics, but "buying bikes on Craigslist supports bike theft" was the basic gist of your entire post.
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Old 07-27-18, 01:47 PM
  #42  
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Originally Posted by Milton Keynes View Post
You're the one who made the claim that bike theft would go down if people stopped buying bikes on Craigslist. How that's not saying that buying bikes on Craigslist is supporting bike theft, I have no idea. You can argue semantics, but "buying bikes on Craigslist supports bike theft" was the basic gist of your entire post.
I think you will find that I did not make that claim.

I have played this game before. The rules are simple. Find/fabricate the most unfavorable interpretation of what someone has posted, and then use that interpretation to attack the person. It's not productive at all (unless your goal is to derail and disrupt), and I refuse to play.
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Old 07-27-18, 01:59 PM
  #43  
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Originally Posted by toast3d View Post
I think you will find that I did not make that claim.
Um...

If people stop buying used bikes on CL, theft should in theory go down
I'm worried that you might be suffering short term memory loss.

Find/fabricate the most unfavorable interpretation of what someone has posted, and then use that interpretation to attack the person. It's not productive at all (unless your goal is to derail and disrupt), and I refuse to play.
I'm not attacking you. I'm just pointing out inconsistencies in what you said.

Mainly, though, I find the idea that everyone should refuse to buy bicycles on Craigslist (and presumably all other internet message boards/forums/social media) because there's a chance a bicycle being offered for sale may be stolen. The problem with a boycott of Craigslist is that even if everyone on BF agreed to never buy another bike offered for sale there again, there are plenty of people out there who are perusing the ads looking for bikes. And presumably will be getting pretty good deals if the demand goes down. But even if bike thieves can't sell stolen bikes online, as I pointed out they'll find other avenues to unload them. A thief doesn't care how he gets rid of it as long as he gets something for it.

And it's really pretty silly when you consider that it's easy to pay attention to your mind when red flags start popping up during a bike sale. True, some people might get burned, some might accidentally buy a bike which was stolen. But if a bike seller seems shifty, you can always walk away. 9 times out of 10, though, the ad will be put up by a legitimate owner.

But basically it's like saying that if we'd stop buying bike parts on Amazon, then unscrupulous manufacturers would stop making counterfeit ones and selling them there.
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Old 07-27-18, 02:06 PM
  #44  
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*sigh*

Originally Posted by toast3d View Post
If people stop buying used bikes on CL, theft should in theory go down because it won't be worth the thief's time to steal a bike in a lot of cases. High end bikes will probably still get stolen, but it may significantly reduce mid-to low end thefts if less people are willing to use CL. I believe CL is probably one of the largest places where stolen bikes end up.
Originally Posted by Milton Keynes View Post
You're the one who made the claim that bike theft would go down if people stopped buying bikes on Craigslist.
Originally Posted by toast3d View Post
I think you will find that I did not make that claim.
^
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Old 07-27-18, 02:25 PM
  #45  
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*sigh* And yet he kept playing....so much emotion, semantics, faulty logic.


This thread really needs to be closed.
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Old 07-27-18, 03:18 PM
  #46  
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OK, so he didn't say that crime would go down, just that "in theory" crime "may" go down. Whatever. I don't want to play the semantics game.
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Old 07-27-18, 03:45 PM
  #47  
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good thing no stolen bikes or parts ever end up on eBay. i think i'll just shop there from now on.
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Old 07-27-18, 05:09 PM
  #48  
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Absolute nonsense , offerup and otger selling apps have way more stolen goods face book too .
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Old 07-27-18, 05:49 PM
  #49  
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We should close this thread...
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Old 07-27-18, 05:54 PM
  #50  
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Originally Posted by Teamprovicycle View Post
Absolute nonsense , offerup and otger selling apps have way more stolen goods face book too .
I didn't even know people were using facebook to sell bikes, and I've never heard of those apps.

Maybe you should post a topic about that. I'm serious. Or maybe there should just be a general bike theft topic and people can discuss how they can try to avoid buying stolen stuff.
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