Buying an Apple Watch on craigslist without getting ripped off?

Hi All.

So I’d like preface this thread by stating that under most circumstances I am a pretty well-balanced young woman. I’m not obsessive or impatient or anything like that…except when it comes to cool toys like the new Apple Watch.

I didn’t manage to get a midnight order in to in order to snag a spot in the first shipment (coming out April 24th to May 8th) mostly because I wanted to try them on first and see how they worked (I subsequently did so and was impressed).

So rather than being patient like a normal person, I’d like to have one close to the launch date (because why not? I have some disposable income and toys are fun).

I have negotiated a purchase of what was originally a **$400 **apple watch for **$675 **(not bad considering market prices). The vendor is in New York, I’m in Toronto.

Here is how the deal is going to go down

  • I will first verify via like skype screensharing that the vendor does have a confirm order (he will login to to show me)
  • upon verification of the above, I will pay a $425 deposit via Paypal
  • as soon as vendor receives the watch (hopefully April 24 but could be slightly later dending on Apple), he will re-ship via Fedex to me
  • on May 1st I will pay the remaining $275 and the deal will be complete

I have already verified the vendor’s Twitter & Linkedin and they have a decent reputation (reputable workplace and normal career history, does not fit the profile of a crook). I feel confident about this transaction but am just trying to take smart steps to further mitigate risk (without going completely overboard or wasting too much time or money being untrusting).

So do you think there are any additional steps I should be taking in this scenario? Feel free to share any non-risk related opinions about the whole deal too.


Craigslist is for face to face transactions. Why don’t you buy one on eBay?

How do you know this person is actually who he claims to be? He could simply be pointing you toward someone else’s Twitter and Linkedin account. Everything you are discussing could easily be faked, including the screen sharing session.

That said - if you run this as an actual Paypal transaction for a physical item, Paypal should protect you. Make sure that the Paypal transaction accurately describes what you are paying for - if the seller asks you to tell Paypal it is a “gift” (to save him money on the transaction fee), then Paypal will not protect you if he never ships the watch.

Personally, Paypal protection or not, I would never consider using Craigslist for anything other than a local transaction where we can meet face-to-face in safe place, like the lobby of a police station. There are just way too many scammers - Craigslist has no authentication or protection whatsoever. I second the suggestion to find something on eBay - or just wait until next week and see if someone local to Toronto receives their pre-order and wants to flip it. You could also post a “Wanted” ad on Craigslist and see if anyone bites locally.

Absolute: I tweeted to the corresponding Twitter user and he confirmed the person I had been emailing was him

I don’t think Apple is going to honor a warranty if you don’t buy this from an authorized Apple dealer. How are you going to return this if there is something wrong with it? Apple has a pricing policy that all authorized Apple vendors must sell the products for the same price. Even if the seller is being honest, he/she might get a shipment of fakes.

I know you don’t want to hear this, but just wait to get one from Apple.

“This is just a cheap digital watch wrapped around an apple.”

“But the apple is a McIntosh!”

You are going to get dinged with HST, probably a brokerage fee, and possibly duty when FedEx ships it up here.

I’d be VERY wary of a Craigslist transaction like this.

Absolute: I didn’t realize Paypal had buyer protection, this is awesome an exactly what I need. I will follow your instructions and this should alleviate any minor concerns I had.

FinsToTheLeft: You’re almost-certainly right. I will have to pay HST. I’m not getting a bargain with this transaction. But I am getting a watch fasting than would otherwise be possible in Canada. And the only prices I’ve seen for local people advertising similar watches are many hundreds of dollars higher than what I will be paying even after the fedex and HST costs.

I will let you all know how it works out!