I've bought/sold probably close to a 50-60 items on Craigslist... not once did I have as much trouble selling something as I did with a bicycle.
First of all, the POS in question:
The bike is $350+tax at Crappy Tire, so I listed it for a (pretty reasonable IMO) price of $200 (practically brand new condition, although I also bought it on CL a year ago for pretty much the same price).
Within a day I had about a dozen replies from people asking me to deliver this bike to Kits. Fucking hippies, no way am I driving that far. I got a single reply from a guy that was willing to come pick the bike up; he asked me a billion questions, I sent him a hundred pictures (that he requested), and after ten emails back and fourth, he told me he only has $100 to spend on the bike. Half my asking price, and this fucking asshole wasted so much of my time.
After a few days the emails died down, I forgot about the bike, and let it sit for a month or so. I then re-posted the ad explicitly saying I will not deliver the bike anywhere.
Again, within 24 hours my inbox was filled with emails. It was now closer to summer, and there was even more interest in the bike. I got at least 7-8 emails saying they will take the bike. I replied all ads with my phone number, asking them to call me. Zero calls.
I let the bike sit another couple weeks and re-posted it again. This time I added another note, saying I won't respond to emails that don't include a phone number, and dropped the price by $20.
The emails with and without phone numbers were at a good 50/50 ratio. I called back the first phone number I received and the conversation went something like this:
- Hi, could I speak to <his name>?
-- Yeah, me
- Hey, this is <my name>, I'm calling you back about the CCM 700 bicycle I've got for sale.
-- Do you have a receipt?
- Uh, no, I got the bike used.
-- Did you steal it?
- Uh, no, I didn't fucking steal it.
-- Okay, I'll come take a look.
Dude is finally outside my building 30 minutes after he said he'd come. I tell him to buzz me from below and come up to my floor. Ten minutes later he calls me again:
-- Come down to the 15th to get me.
(At this point I'm not exactly happy...)
- The fuck you doing on the 15th floor?
-- Come get me.
- I can't get to the damn 15th floor. Go outside, buzz me, then come up to where I told you to the first time.
Another five minutes pass and this 5'5 new-age hipster clown in green runners and toque is standing in my doorway. Spends (literally) ten minutes spinning the wheels, shifting gears, etc.
- I thought you said the bike was black?
-- When did I say that?
- In the ad.
-- No I didn't. The ad included a picture of a green bike, identical to this one.
He spends another couple minutes pondering this life-shattering decision, then finally orgasms: "Fuck it, I won't take it."
Okay, out the door you go!
I call back another guy, we agree on a time, I email him my address. He proceeds to call me no less than 20 times as he's circling around my building, unable to find it. Then we get to the buzzer; clearly he's never used one before, as it took ten minutes to get the idea of punching numbers into the keypad across to him.
- Hmmm... this bike is a bit sporty for me... I'm recovering from an operation, I thought it would be a "standard" bike.
-- Why would you think it was a standard bike? I posted a picture.
- I went to Canadian Tire and they had standard bikes.
-- Are you fucking kidding me?
- Sorry, I can't ride this.
Out the door with this mofo, too!
The guy who ended up buying it was the polar opposite of everyone though: came on time, handed me the cash the second he walked through the door, barely looked at the bike and walked out with it.
tl;dr: if you have to sell a bicycle, throw the thing off a bridge - you'll feel a lot better in the long run.