As a frequent Craigslist user, I have bought and sold dozens of items over the years through this wonderfully simple and effective online service. And aside from the occasional lowballer or no-show (which tends to come with the territory of Craigslist’s subculture), I’ve always been very pleased with my transactions on the whole.
Unfortunately, this all changed a few weeks ago when I sold a laptop to someone who has since decided to make it their personal mission to punish me for what they perceive to be a grave Craigslist injustice. I’ll try to summarize the situation and I’d be curious to hear from others what sort of resolution would be appropriate given your experience with the Craigslist community.
So I have a bit of a bad habit of looking for technology deals online; call it a hobby or whatever- I basically surf some bargain sites on occasion and happened to come across a good deal on a Dell laptop for Chris, who was looking for a replacement for a five-year-old laptop of mine that she had been using. Long story short, I ordered it, but through a series of events that isn’t worth explaining, it turned out that we didn’t need it, so I decided to sell it on Craigslist, something I’ve done on numerous previous occasions without any problems.
Buying a computer on Craigslist is tricky in part because you never know what you’re going to get, so as a seller, I’m always careful to list all the available information, specs, photos, warranty info, etc. I’ve found this to be an effective way for a quick sale since buyers rarely have any additional questions if all the info is there up front; and sure enough, within 48 hours of posting, I had a buyer. We agreed on a price, met in person, and both walked away satisfied as I’d done so many times before. Or so I thought.
A couple of weeks later, the buyer calls me with a complaint. It turns out that she’s allegedly having an issue (a “sticky” touchpad) with the laptop, and she does not want to have it serviced even though it is fully covered under the original manufacturers warranty. She claims that I have committed some kind of “fraud,” and she wants her money back. And ever since I (as politely as possible) declined her request for a refund, she has called and emailed me continually with accusations of “playing games,” threats of “calling the police” or other legal action, and in general a lot of angry screaming, name-calling, and other randomly indiscernible outbursts.
The irony of it all is that she and her husband are (relatively speaking) high-level Microsoft employees who are now threatening a lawsuit over a $475 discounted Dell laptop, which they insist is about “the principle” and not the money. Naturally, I’m not all that interested in going to court to settle this, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t tempted to prove publicly that she’s acting crazy and blowing this all out of proportion. So my question to you is: should I stand my ground and if necessary go to court to prove my case (that I am under no legal obligation to give her a refund), or should I be a nice guy and just give her what she wants? I don’t want the laptop back, but I’m confident that it’s a good machine and that she paid a fair price, even in spite of the alleged issue.
Do people offer refunds on Craigslist? If they do, this would be the first time I’ve heard of it…