I, like a lot of Moms these days, am constantly online. Breastfeeding at 4 AM? I’m on my iPhone trying to keep myself from falling asleep on the job. Baby’s doing something amazing (or amazing to me)? I’m Instagramming it. And you know what else I’m doing? I’m shopping.
Online shopping is a perilous place of impulse purchases and buyer’s remorse. One minute you only need $5 to qualify for free shipping, next thing you know your virtual shopping cart is practically overflowing! In short, it can be hard to be frugal when purchases are just a click away. So I appease my online shopping addiction by going the second-hand route! Second-hand items save money and are better for our planet, so let me share with you one of the many ways I get my hands on used goods for me and my family:
Facebook Buy/Sell/Trade Groups!
Of course, we all know Kijiji for buying, selling and trading used items. But did you know that there are also Facebook groups for buying, selling or trading (“B/S/T” to those in the know) both locally and across the country? Local groups are pretty straight forward: you post pictures and descriptions of what you’ve got and then you and the buyer make arrangements for a pick up or drop off. It’s a bit more personal than Kijiji, and people seem to follow through much more reliably. Canada-wide groups have parents exchanging goods by mail. A particularly popular B/S/T category is cloth diapers. Fluff is flying back and forth all over this country! Many groups use common lingo that can seem like a foreign language to the uninitiated:
PPD = Postage Paid Domestic; the price listed includes shipping.
EUC = Excellent Used Condition
VGUC = Very Good Used Condition
GUC = Good Condition
BNWT= Brand New With Tag
FSOT = For Sale or Trade
MMARO = Make Me a Reasonable Offer
NFS = Not for sale (usually accompanying a picture of a full cloth diaper stash for us to drool over)
ISO = In search of
How do you pay for used goods sent by mail & purchased from someone on Facebook?
Most transactions in groups that work by mail take place using PayPal. As long as you do not send the money as a gift (the “friend or family” option), you can take advantage of PayPal’s dispute resolution program. However, from what I’ve seen so far, most disputes (such as an item lost in the mail, an item not in the condition advertised) seem to be amicably resolved between Moms. Be warned: SCAMMERS are out there. For me it was very hard to believe that moms would actively seek to intentionally rip off other moms, but it does happen. Often times the scenario involves a “trade.” That is, someone offers to trade Item A for Item B. You send Item B, but you never receive Item A and the other person disappears of the face of… well…Facebook.
Protecting Yourself :
- Take a minute to read through any documents in groups your join. Often you’ll see a pinned post at the top of the page outlining any group-specific rules.
- Use PayPal when you buy and sell (When you sell, you can factor in the PayPal fees when setting your item price. Use the PayPal fee calculator.)
- Back up your trades using PayPal.
- Check out my tips for mailing!
- Be polite: I’ve posted about buyer etiquette and seller etiquette.
- When dealing with buyers & sellers in person, play it safe. If you agree to meet somewhere, have it be a public place. If you are going to pick up an item, try to go with a friend, and have someone else home with you when someone’s coming for a pick up. Facebook group transactions are a lot less anonymous than Kijiji transactions, so you will at least have a better idea of whom you are dealing with. If you do have a negative experience with another group member, make sure to let group admins know!
Links to Facebook Buy/Sell/Trade Groups:
Montreal Cloth Diaper Mommas (I administer!)
Montreal Mommy Swap (for giving things away for free!)
Does your local or Canada-wide B/S/T group need more members? Share the link in the comments!