opinion

"I’m selling a phone on Facebook, and cannot believe people's responses."

Facebook Marketplace is amazing, right? So much stuff, no listing fees, and generally things sell pretty quickly. But oh my goodness it also turns people into monsters with no manners, and I’m pretty sure criminals are looking to buy my phone.

I recently upgraded my phone as I was at the end of my contract, which nicely coincided with the release of the latest range of iPhones. I’m a sucker for a shiny new gadget and couldn’t wait to get my hands on the new one.

It’s also a great time to make a bit of much needed extra cash by selling the still-perfectly-good old phone, just in time for Christmas. So I turned to the trusty Facebook Marketplace and listed it for a bit more than the lowest price I’m willing to accept, because I expect negotiation.

In my head, negotiation is a fine art. It involves politeness (a “hi” before “GIVE IT TO ME FOR HALF THE PRICE YOU HAVE LISTED” is generally considered polite), and gently leveraging your advantages.

For example, you could say “Hi! I’m interested in purchasing this phone. Due to its age and the small crack in the screen, I’d be willing to pay X (reasonable, no ridiculously low) amount. What do you think?”

And then the buyer and seller can haggle a bit and find a nice middle ground that works for both. Instead, I’ve had a plethora of frankly appallingly rude messages demanding I hand over the phone for next to nothing.

Here are a few of the messages I have received in the past 48 hours (for context, the phone is listed for $400).

“$250 cash”.

That’s. It. Were you raised by wolves? If you can’t even say “hi”, young man, I’m not even replying.

“$300? That’s the best I can do.”

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“$350 is the lowest I will go.”

“$325 would be a great deal for the both of us.”

Would it, Aaron? Because that doesn’t sound like a great deal for me. I admire your confidence though.

Then there was the rather terrifying message I got from Jayden after 8pm on Tuesday, offering me $340 cash if he could come and pick it up immediately. When I replied that it’s a little late, but he could pick it up tomorrow, he said he was “just after a quick buy”.

Who is looking to purchase a phone IMMEDIATELY on a Tuesday night? Drug dealers. Drug dealers are looking for phones for cash on a Tuesday night.

I almost forgot about the man who offered $300, and when I refused, he started begging me to give it to him. I don’t know this person. Begging doesn’t work for me when my own kids do it, so it sure as hell won’t work for a random stranger on Facebook.

Two people so far have negotiated a lower price and said they will buy the phone, and then they sent me their address to drop it off to them. That’s… not how this works. They actually seemed really surprised that my going out of my way to deliver to the outer suburbs after they pay less was not on the cards.

I’m at the point now where I’ve gone full “mum” and won’t reply to people who are rude right off the mark. In fact, I’m willing to do a great deal for the first person who says please and thank you (and preferably isn’t going to use it for criminal activities).

Is there something about buying second-hand online that brings out the worst in people?

Have you had any bad experiences with rude buyers online?

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