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Old 10-25-09, 12:50 PM   #1
mumei
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Craigslist Vigilantes

I suspect a good number of people who frequent this forum also spend a decent amount of time on their local craigslists. So, I was wondering what people thought about "craigslist vigilantes". In other words, those people that call out others on craigslist for overposting or inflating prices. The former-overposting-is easy to quantify, the latter-inflating prices-is of course subjective. I for one don't believe in the inherent value of something, rather value is determined by the seller and the buyer. Even though I believe this, I also don't like it when sellers prey on the ignorance of potential buyers. Contradictory: Yes, but that's the way I am.

Anyway, would like to hear your opinions on this topic.
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Old 10-25-09, 12:55 PM   #2
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I think some people have way too much time on their hands. Craigslist is what it is; an electronic form of the old bulletin board that we often read at the grocery store and laundromat. I would tell vigilantes to mind their own business with the exception of a known subject running a completely illegal scam.

As with everything, caveat emptor.
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Old 10-25-09, 12:57 PM   #3
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IMHO they are wasting their time. unlike here CL has no real way to responed to a seller in a way that other 'buyers' can easily read you comment. chances are the seller would not care anyway.

several of here have made comments to a seller on ebay about mislabeling Campi parts he basically told me to...... well never mind *blushing*. but some people like TRADERJIMK on ebay are just crooks.
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Old 10-25-09, 12:58 PM   #4
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The only time it irks me is when they are selling something for more than it costs new.
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Old 10-25-09, 01:03 PM   #5
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The only time it irks me is when they are selling something for more than it costs new.
Yeah, but that goes with the "buyer beware". If the buyer refuses to do his or her due diligence, then they deserve what they get.
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Old 10-25-09, 01:04 PM   #6
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The only time it irks me is when they are selling something for more than it costs new.
+1 When I see someone selling a Walmart bike used, then stating they paid $600 for it, I will call them out. Asking a high price is one thing, outright lies are over the top.
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Old 10-25-09, 01:12 PM   #7
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Yeah, but that goes with the "buyer beware". If the buyer refuses to do his or her due diligence, then they deserve what they get.
True, the buyer didn't do their research and perhaps got "ripped off", and got what they deserved. (And if they're happy with their purchase, good for them.) But then, did the seller who took advantage of the buyer's ignorance get what they deserve?
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Old 10-25-09, 01:15 PM   #8
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I agree with wrk (for the most part). When people radically over price their bikes, they usually don't sell. Eventually the market teaches them to lower prices. If someone is willing to make a major expenditure without doing the preparation, I agree that it's on them. The top posters annoy me like they annoy everyone, but calling them out for it just creates MORE spam and never gets them to stop anyway. I think the proper technique is just to flag them.

The exception to me for when things need to be called out is when a seller is being outright dishonest...like painting Cinelli on a varsity, lieing about condition or deliberately obfuscating their ad to confuse newbies. The other exception is when something is clearly dangerous...like a heavily damaged frame or fork.
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Old 10-25-09, 01:20 PM   #9
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Well I used to flip a ton of cheaper bikes, but then post a friendly warning in my listings about other people profiteering selling similar items.

There was one obnoxious flipper who offered "fully restored" huffys and the like for $100 and up. I sold similar bikes for $40... I didn't specifically call him out, just noted that In my mind, restoration does not simply equate to a tune up and repacking of bearings.
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Old 10-25-09, 01:34 PM   #10
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I have routinely flagged sellers who tried to hold auctions on Craigs List (and will continue to do so).
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Old 10-25-09, 01:44 PM   #11
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There's a fine line between helping out and a personal vandeta.

There is stuff like this..

My first thought is why didn't you call the police and make a report?

http://portland.craigslist.org/mlt/bik/1436639401.html

MISSING A STOLEN BIKE IN SE??? - I know where it is... - (SE Madison)

Today will live in infamy as the day I expose the biggest most brazen bike thief in southeast pdx. If you have lost a bike, especially in the SE Portland and Hawthorne areas, then I know where your bike probably is. This thief is a full blown kleptomaniac - stealing everything in sight. I recently caught him in the act cutting our bike lock cable with a cable cutter and taking two of our bikes, in broad daylight, in front of a chuch, five minutes after we had just locked them up. I had been cased and targeted by this bike thief while in the process of locking up my families bicycles!

I locked our family bikes outside the church on SE 35th and Madison. Only minutes later I saw this jackass cut my cable while I sat and watched from a vehicle fifty feet away. He then rolled the bicycles across the street and into his backyard. When I confronted him he did not want to return the bikes because he said "they did not look like they belonged to me". This means he watched me lock them up. He then lied and said they were unlocked when I had just locked them up myself. Only when I threatened him did he reluctantly return the bikes. Then when my family arrived back a few minutes later and found out what had happened - he mouthed off to them - the woman and little girl whose bikes he had just stolen. Outrageous!

While retrieving my families stolen bikes I glanced into the door, windows and backyard of this persons house and saw literally hundreds of bikes of every kind imaginable piled up to the ceiling. Everything from treks, cannondales, specialized and schwinns to little girls and boys bikes, even trikes, scooters and wagons. You name it this guy has it stuffed in this house. If you are missing anything with wheels from your SE Portland yard then its probably in this guys house. The bikes and stuff is piled up in every room and window and backyard. If you don't believe me then please - go see for yourself!

According to reviews there have been a tremendous amount of bicycles disappearing from the SE Hawthorne area lately. I did some research and found out that the person in mention rebuilds the bikes on different frames and sells them right off SE 35th and Hawthorne with a for sale sign. He locks them up with multiple shackle locks and angle iorn. This is probably just one of his fencing operations. He is the most brazen thief I have ever encountered and is absolutely shameless and indignant in his words and actions. He thinks he is beyond repute and has the right to steal.

I considered reporting him to the police. Then I realized the best way to neutralize this problem is to expose him to the people in the community he steals from. I also hope to give the many victims a chance to try to recover thier stolen merchandise. You may catch a glimpse of your missing bike from the many uncovered windows of this house full of hot bikes. He probably has roomates you can talk to. I only caught him stealing our bikes. However from how brazen he acted in doing so he is obviously a seasoned professional. He cut our lock in one swoop so he knows exactly what he is doing. He watched us lock them up so that is how he operates. He cases people locking up thier bikes then watches them walk away then goes up and then confidently pops the lock just like its his bike. You can't even tell he is cutting it. He thinks he is above being caught - well I caught him in the act and got 2 bikes back!!!

This is the se pdx bike thief. I took these pics from the sidewalk as I walked away from recovering my daughters bike. You can barely see my friend holding the other stolen bike we recovered in the background of the third photo. The first picture is the house on Madison where he stashes all his stolen bikes. Its just one block off of Hawthorne Street and 35th. There must be dozens if not hundreds of hot bikes in this guys house. The fourth picture is how a bike thief locks up a bike he is selling. Good luck getting your ripped off bike back!

Click for location: http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&sour...99,0.15398&z=1
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Old 10-25-09, 02:31 PM   #12
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i love the creative, humorous vigilantes on the ever-busy philadelphia listings...i wish one could actually have comments below listings....
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Old 10-25-09, 02:34 PM   #13
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"fully restored huffy" does that mean he loosens the cables and untrues the wheels?
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Old 10-25-09, 02:45 PM   #14
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UB - interesting. I've found both the vigilantes and their targets to be poorly educated, barely literate buffoons in Philly. The whiners post as much, or more, spam than those they complain about.

I actually had one very odd encounter just now...we have a guy in Philly named Joseph S who is constantly putting up vintage parts with no photos or descriptions. I often end up asking him (without realizing it's him) what the things are since you can't tell from his ads. Once I realize the stuff is his, I invariably show no further interest since the guy's stuff is always over priced and in very poor condition. He just sent me this incredibly rude email complaining that I always ask him what he has and apparently assuming I was harassing him or something.

Here are a few of his ads...
(please feel encouraged to email him asking what the stuff is)

http://philadelphia.craigslist.org/bik/1437136005.html

http://philadelphia.craigslist.org/bik/1437130479.html
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Old 10-25-09, 02:57 PM   #15
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UB - interesting. I've found both the vigilantes and their targets to be poorly educated, barely literate buffoons in Philly. The whiners post as much, or more, spam than those they complain about.

I actually had one very odd encounter just now...we have a guy in Philly named Joseph S who is constantly putting up vintage parts with no photos or descriptions. I often end up asking him (without realizing it's him) what the things are since you can't tell from his ads. Once I realize the stuff is his, I invariably show no further interest since the guy's stuff is always over priced and in very poor condition. He just sent me this incredibly rude email complaining that I always ask him what he has and apparently assuming I was harassing him or something.
I've seen his ads and stay away. Can usually smell it when something is not right...
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Old 10-25-09, 03:09 PM   #16
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Ejust...I'm not trying to bug the guy, but he generally puts up stuff that COULD be interesting. He tells you just enough to spark your interest, but not enough to know what the heck he's selling.

If I had a way of knowing it was his stuff, I'd never bother him.

He's clearly a mensa. Here's the email I received:

what do yo u think mavic bone head !some jappy hubs and i dont think it matters wienneman wheelset means what? *BLEEP* wienneman! are you the *bleep* biggest *Bleep* on here or what you answer all my ads and beg for info on crap! yo crap is crap! you will never find carbon hubs if thats what you are hoping for on 27 inch wheels! read a couple books pick up a few mags open your eyes look around~! i dont know go buy wtf your looking for and stop bothering people that put a good description to people that know a little bit about a bike will know what the *bleep* we are talking about! but maybe your just a *bleep* thinking he's doing someone on here a favor by asking for all kinds of stupid *bleep* if you dont know what the *bleep* some one is talking about go the *bleep* on to the next ad, *bleep*! god damn!are you trying to help sell my *bleep* because it all sells
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Old 10-25-09, 03:35 PM   #17
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I have better things to do than get worked up over CL nonsense.
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Old 10-25-09, 03:42 PM   #18
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I believe sellers can ask any price for an item they want.If a potential buyer were to ask me [say a friend asks me about a bikes price] I would tell them what I think.Its a free market,ask what you want and let the market set the price. Buyers should do their homework and investigate what they are putting their money into.
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Old 10-25-09, 08:37 PM   #19
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I enjoy reading the rants. Breaks up the monotony of searching for the same damn things every day, reading the same damn ads for $450 Grand Prix's and 'Vintage Italian Frienzenze's.'

If you want to see anarchy in action, check out the SFBA computer listings. You can't find anything there anymore - too much spam. The spammers and chiselers won, they took over the whole category.

I'm all for the CL nazi's flagging and posting about stuff that pisses them off. Keeps it honest. Er, honester. Maybe I mean a little less dishonest?
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Old 10-25-09, 08:53 PM   #20
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Without bonehead sellers what would we post on the CL thread?
But I will lament the scum that circumvent the rules and set up multiple accounts so they can continually repost the same unsold crap over and over weekly!
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Old 10-25-09, 09:04 PM   #21
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Ditto Miamijim
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Old 10-25-09, 09:07 PM   #22
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For everything except obvious fraud I'd say stay out of it. A price being too high-- yes this happens, but I don't think it warrants sticking one's nose in other people's business. The market does what work it will.

But I will say that if you spot an obvious fraud or a scam (or what you know to be a stolen bike being sold), that it probably is a good idea to warn.
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Old 10-25-09, 09:08 PM   #23
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"fully restored huffy" does that mean he loosens the cables and untrues the wheels?

This HAS to be your best post yet.
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Old 10-25-09, 09:22 PM   #24
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I've said this before and I'll say it again, I call our local CL vigalante the "Village Idiot". Most CL areas have one. Our Village Idiot used to attack almost anything, high prices, someone who picked up a bike cheap off CL, then flips it for more on CL, prices on vintage bikes he didn't agree with. He POd somebody because one dude threatened to sue him. He's been quiet since then.
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Old 10-25-09, 09:22 PM   #25
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While I agree that a seller should be able to ask any price he/she wants, I am going to take a different track.

We are deep into the world of virtual communities. C&V is a very good example of that. Shared interests, friendships, alliances, rivalries developing between people who, in all probability, will never meet face-to-face.

As part of the virtual community, eBay, specialty sellers/buyer forums and, to a degree, Craigslist create a virtual national and international community of specialty buyers and sellers who operate on reputation and trust. In that buyer/seller eCommerce world, your reputation is everything. One or two deals gone wrong, particularly on the bike specific specialty forums, and your are tainted. Therefore, these virtual communities are sort of self-policed.

In this virtual world, the vigilantes are financial gad flies reminding those who lack anything close to perfect market knowledge that many of the asking prices are too high. Are they accurate? Sometimes. Is this an outlet for crazies and malcontents? Yes. But such is the nature of the market and Democracy.

Last edited by RFC; 10-26-09 at 02:06 AM.
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