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Best Ways to Protect yourself Buying Off Craigslist?

Postby randomname » Tue Sep 29, 2015 10:36 pm

This weekend I am looking to buy a tank off craigslist which I've never done before what are a few things to watch out for to prevent being scammed and things like that.

The only way I can get the tank to my house is to have them deliver it which i am willing to pay them 50 dollars for (20 miles away). I really don't like the idea of having them come to my house it just doesn't seem safe but it is the only option. I feel like this is just me being paranoid though the only reason I am even allowing it to happen is because my girlfriend convinced me that a thug wouldn't own a fish tank let alone a 125 gallon one.

Now that my dumb worry is out the way, what kind of things should I be looking for tank wise? What is the best way to check the silicon? If the tank is scratched are there ways to remove them? is there anything else to look out for other than cracked braces and what not?
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Re: Best Ways to Protect yourself Buying Off Craigslist?

Postby Samadhikash » Wed Sep 30, 2015 12:26 am

Honestly, make the time to go and see the tank before they deliver it. I would not have someone off craigslist deliver a tank to my house sight unseen. That's just setting yourself up for more stress than anyone should have to deal with. Especially when there is a delivery fee involved. So go see it first. Seriously. If neither you nor the seller can make the time for you to see the tank before delivery then the deal goes in the dumper.

Broken braces, cracks, large chips out of a corner--all those kinds of things would make it a no go for me. Check to make sure there are no gouges or rips in the silicone. Scratches are tough--a tank that is dusty and/or covered in water spots can camo some serious scratches you may not even see in great sunlight (or because of the sunlight)--but will show up big as day as soon as it cleans up and you put water in it with a light. Depending on your willingness to buff out a scratch or just deal with them, having a couple damp rags at the ready to wipe off any spots that immediately catch your eye is not a bad idea, but even then your eyes can be misled.

There's going to have to be a certain level of trust regarding whether the tank leaks. Even if you watch them drain it after seeing that it has no leaks, and you drove it home yourself, you could still get it home and into your livingroom to discover you have a leak. My experience has been that people will tell you if they know a tank leaks (even if they wait until you respond to an ad to explain that's why it's so cheap). To sell a known leaky tank as one that doesn't leak takes a special kind of sociopathic personality that I don't believe is all that common.

You, your girlfriend, a couple of your friends (safety & natural comfort in numbers--but let them know you are bringing a couple extra eyes or they may not let you in their house) go check out the tank beforehand. If you don't like it, it's so easy to say no at that point--and you're out nothing but a couple gallons of gas and some time with people you want to be with anyway--and they haven't hauled a 6' tank into a truck for no good reason.
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Re: Best Ways to Protect yourself Buying Off Craigslist?

Postby randomname » Wed Sep 30, 2015 12:41 am

Samadhikash wrote:Honestly, make the time to go and see the tank before they deliver it. I would not have someone off craigslist deliver a tank to my house sight unseen. That's just setting yourself up for more stress than anyone should have to deal with. Especially when there is a delivery fee involved. So go see it first. Seriously. If neither you nor the seller can make the time for you to see the tank before delivery then the deal goes in the dumper.

Broken braces, cracks, large chips out of a corner--all those kinds of things would make it a no go for me. Check to make sure there are no gouges or rips in the silicone. Scratches are tough--a tank that is dusty and/or covered in water spots can camo some serious scratches you may not even see in great sunlight (or because of the sunlight)--but will show up big as day as soon as it cleans up and you put water in it with a light. Depending on your willingness to buff out a scratch or just deal with them, having a couple damp rags at the ready to wipe off any spots that immediately catch your eye is not a bad idea, but even then your eyes can be misled.

There's going to have to be a certain level of trust regarding whether the tank leaks. Even if you watch them drain it after seeing that it has no leaks, and you drove it home yourself, you could still get it home and into your livingroom to discover you have a leak. My experience has been that people will tell you if they know a tank leaks (even if they wait until you respond to an ad to explain that's why it's so cheap). To sell a known leaky tank as one that doesn't leak takes a special kind of sociopathic personality that I don't believe is all that common.

You, your girlfriend, a couple of your friends (safety & natural comfort in numbers--but let them know you are bringing a couple extra eyes or they may not let you in their house) go check out the tank beforehand. If you don't like it, it's so easy to say no at that point--and you're out nothing but a couple gallons of gas and some time with people you want to be with anyway--and they haven't hauled a 6' tank into a truck for no good reason.


Good point I really should go have a look at it. Now I feel dumb for not thinking about that haha. I am pretty confident this tank was never used from the pictures I've seen the filters and heaters are still in the box and there isn't a single water mark or anything on the glass. Might be the case where the wife said okay to the tank until he got it home and saw how massive it was because that is the only way I could see someone spending all this money on a tank and never using it. They want $375 for a 125 with stand and lights hoods and a canister filter that seems like a fair price right?
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Re: Best Ways to Protect yourself Buying Off Craigslist?

Postby Samadhikash » Wed Sep 30, 2015 1:29 am

It's difficult to second guess how life will hit us next.

Some people will list a beat up 20 yr old 5 gallon tank for $100.

Others will list a new 125 with stand and equipment for $100.

Do lots of searches, understand what you are looking at, understand its worth on the market.

Tanks drop in value faster than your new car. When you see an ad from someone who understands that, pop your line.
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Re: Best Ways to Protect yourself Buying Off Craigslist?

Postby DJRansome » Wed Sep 30, 2015 5:00 pm

Not crazy to worry about Craig's List person coming to your house. A fair price for tank is $1/gallon. Other items 50% of cost new. Depends on the stand...you can get $500 stands and $50 stands.
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Re: Best Ways to Protect yourself Buying Off Craigslist?

Postby nodima » Fri Oct 02, 2015 9:28 am

You might also think about renting a truck from Home Depot or Lowes. They are reasonably priced, and would take your main concern out of the equation.

I'm a truck guy through and through, and I cannot count the number of things I've been able to acquire for a song, just because I had the ability to quickly take the item. Although, I'll have to save a ton more money to even justify my latest truck - dern things are getting expensive.

Most of the people I've met via craigslist, once I've weeded through the scammers, have been solid people, and I've actually become friends with a couple of them.
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