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Wilson's Auto Restoration Blog

Craigslist App vs eBay vs Facebook Marketplace for Classic Car Parts

Had you asked us just 3 years ago we would have told you that craigslist is one of the best places to look for classic car parts.  We wrote an article recently about where to find parts for your classic car and in it we also mention eBay as another great place to find parts.

For many years Craigslist and eBay have dominated this space and most of us would turn there when looking for classic car parts or even an entire car.   Then around 3 years ago, Facebook launched its new Marketplace where Facebook users can find, and make offers for, items directly through Facebook’s mobile application that other users are selling.

It is remarkably easy to use if you have a part to sell and even easier to search for one.  The only real downfall of Facebook Marketplace is that you need to have a Facebook profile to shop their Marketplace.

Ever since the launch of FB marketplace, other buying and selling platforms like Craigslist and eBay have been feeling the squeeze and the pressure to keep up with Facebook.  We thought we would shed some light on the pros and cons of each.

The cost to use each platform

It doesn’t cost you anything to buy a product on any of these platforms other than the price of the parts or products you are purchasing.  The only additional costs involved are when you are selling a product. On Craigslist, you can sell just about anything without having to pay a fee, they have started charging $5 if you are selling an entire car.  It’s likely due to dealerships taking advantage of the free listings in the past.  Craigslist is acutely now charging $3-5 for all for sale by-dealer categories in the US.

eBay has two separate selling fees… an insertion fee when you create a listing, and a final fee when your item sells.  Every month, you get up to 50 insertion listings for free and would only pay if you were selling more than 50 items. If you’ve used all your free insertions, the fees are:

  • Non-refundable if your item doesn’t sell
  • Charged per listing and per category. So, if you list your item in two categories, you’ll pay an insertion fee for the second category too
  • Charged for the original listing and each time you choose to relist your item
  • Charged per listing if you create duplicate auction-style listings for identical items.
  • Charged only once per listing for listings with multiple items.

There are no fees when selling anything on Facebook, so we think Facebook wins on this matter.

User experience with online app

All three platforms offer a mobile app for buying and selling and each is pretty easy to use when it come to setting up an item to sell or for searching and filtering items you are looking to buy.  I am sure there are pros and cons to each, but overall the experience is quite common.  One of the user experience advantages for Craigslist and eBay are the number of categories available.  Both Craigslist and eBay have 100s of categories to search through. Facebook on the other hand has a limited number of categories.   If the category is popular among users, your post will soon be buried in the Marketplace.

Communicating with a buyer/seller

Facebook is the clear winner here as they give you the ability to chat with sellers/buyers in real-time.  You can also easily share photos or videos as well.  Buyers and sellers alike are notified instantly when a message has been sent. Craigslist and eBay do not offer real-time communication.  You will have to resort to email communication with them both.  It’s certainly not a dealbreaker, but it would be a nice feature to have.

Online Visibility

Facebook has way, way more users that Craigslist or eBay will ever have so there is a massive advantage to using Marketplace to search and sell your goods.  There is a good chance that you will be able to find what you are looking for via Facebook.

On the other hand, Google does not index Facebook Marketplace listings, but the do so with eBay and craigslist alike.  And Google has way more visitors than FB every month.  We don’t think there is a clear winner here.  This point is actually a great argument to use all three regardless if you are buying or selling.

Trust and Safety

One of the advantages Facebook and eBay have over Craigslist is seller ratings.  Both platforms allow buyers to rate sellers. The ratings might not always be great, but at least you can easily tell between genuine and suspicious postings.  Facebook also offers a more personal connection between the buyer and sell as you can easily view their personal profile on Facebook to get a better idea of who you are dealing with.  With Craigslist, you do not get these features.  The gest you can do on their site is report abusive or fraudulent posts.

eBay takes trust a step further by offering the eBay Money Back Guarantee.  It means you’re protected if the item you ordered didn’t arrive, is faulty or damaged, or doesn’t match the listing. You’ll get your money back.

This also brings up our last point about safety.  With eBay, you can buy/sell just about anything without ever having to meet a seller/buyer face to face.  For this reason alone, eBay is the clear winner where personal safety is involved.

With Facebook and Craigslist, it is up to the buyer and seller to decide where to meet.  We have all heard horror stories of people being robbed or even killed when meeting up to exchange money for goods.  Again, with Facebook you at least know who you are meeting up with by viewing the sellers/buyer’s personal profile, but that doesn’t mean those can’t be faked.

To help fix the problem of online deals going bad, many police stations are now offering Safe Trade Stations.  Basically, they are areas that online buyers and sellers can meet to make the exchange.  They are almost always under 24-hour surveillance and are well lit parking lots that criminals will avoid.  Here is a continuously growing list of Safe Trade Stations across the country.

Conclusion

Facebook Marketplace might be the new kid on the block, but we turn to it first when looking for a used part for a classic car or vehicle.  Of course, we normally turn to Classic Industries and National Parts Depot for new parts.   We will however continue to use Craigslist and eBay as well to help us hunt down those harder to find parts.

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