9 Craigslist car shopping hacks to keep you from tearing your hair out

Craigslist is a blessing and a curse to the automotive world. It’s one of the best ways to find affordable project cars and daily drivers and occasionally it can turn up amazing finds. Anyone can use it to shop, and anyone can use it to sell. That’s the curse. “Anyone” includes all sorts of annoying sellers trying their best to get their car into your search, making finding what you want more difficult. The result are some common pitfalls, but there are ways to avoid these problems. Here are my biggest gripes with the platform, along with some solutions to avoid them.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2019/03/25/craigslist-car-shopping-hacks

How about searching ads for a Chevrolet C10… Chevrolet, Chevy, Chev, C10, C-10, half ton, 1/2 ton, pickup, pick-up, truck… Ugh. So painful.

Another irritating Craigslist issue is the number of dealers that “list” their cars under the “For Sale By Owner” category. Some do that but at least admit they are dealers during the call, but I have encountered others that continue with the “owner” charade. I was looking at a car from Craigslist once, and the “owner” was telling me it was his father-in-law’s and talking about how meticulously maintained it was. I sent a photo to my wife, who happened to work at an auto auction, and she told me to look closer at the parking lot the car was in. It was the auto auction where she worked, and the guy was a dealer who had just bought it from the auction and was trying to pass the car off as a "for sale by owner,’ but making it even worse by concocting the father-in-law’s car story. I’m not sure what Craigslist can do to preclude dealers from listing as for sale by owners, but I would like the site much more if I did not have to deal with that deception.


The peeve: Using or over using the word “Hack”.

Why it’s annoying: This is obvious.

How to fix it: No need to use the words: hack, throwing shade or clapping back :slight_smile:

This post is spot on.
The scammers in general are out there in every aspect of life. Especially the car market.
It’s quite sad that honest people are forced to deal with the low life’s of society every day.

One owner means only one person is responsible for this POS.God knows how many people actually drove or wrecked it.

craig list shine…recently hosed off car with either wet cement or garden hose in photo


Imagine seeing your car for sale on Craigs List. I did. While at a car show with my Vette a friend said he saw it “for sale” on the list and it was in Rhode Island. YUP, there it was. My Vette was a very rare "78 Indy Pace car, one of 6 known to exist that were L-82, 4 speed cars exported to Canada. It appeared in VETTE magazine 10/12. The person who placed the Craigs List ad took 5 pics out of the magazine, posted them and was asking $25,000. Claimed it has 3K original miles. His ad appeared 8/9/13.

CL pet peeve #1 - The “dirty finger over the license plate” pic. If you don’t want your license plate number in the pic, put a towel over it, or better yet, learn how to use the editing software that comes with your damn phone.

CL pet peeve #2 - The used car dealer who parks his car in front of a nice house and pretends to be a private party seller - until you see the interior pics that include the “Thank you for your business” paper floor mats.

Payment in advance? Simple. Tell the seller that the funds will be sent to the nearest police station to be held in trust. Once they show the proof of ownership to the cops, they receive payment. Tip off the cops of a potential scam in advance. If legit, so be it. If not, the scammer will balk at the idea or be caught in the act (hey, no one said criminals are smart).

Spammed kyewords are prohibited by Craigslist rules. So, yes, you can use search titles only but I prefer to hit prohibited on any and all that I find. You may have noticed spammed keywords are used far less today than they were a few years ago. That prohibited button is your friend so use it often. Same goes for the clowns who list their car four, five, six, a dozen times at once. Also prohibited.

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How about “NEED GONE”???

Why on earth can’t folk learn to hold their "smart"phones HORIZONTALLY?
We get to see plenty of sky and pavement, and very little car.
The same is true of all the stuff sent to TV stations, where they wind up adding blur-curtains on the right and left sides.
Come on, folks; horizontal is correct in over 75% of your imaging.

When posting for sale items, I add a blurb for an interested party to include a phone number and reply by Craigslist e-mail only. No text, no e-mail, no screened calls, no voicemail, no other forms of communication. I only speak to a real live person. If I get an answer without I delete as a scam.

How about, “Just testing the waters”.

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@tahend - That is one I can’t stand. I’m not going to waste my time talking with you if you are just going to change your mind at some point and say “never mind, not going to sell it.”

Some guys list the same car six or eight times at once. It’s easy to scroll past the multiple ads but imagine if every seller did that-Craigslist would be worthless.

I hear ya, if you don’t want to sell don’t list it.

Both the sellers and buyers need to do all they canto know who they are dealing with. Text messages don’t get it unless you have already talked with the interested party. CASH ONLY !!!

A heads up re: Craigslist…if you hit “Prohibited” too liberally, your IP name will be put on a “time out” list for a while which will prevent you from getting the “Contact” info link to open.