How to Item Trade on Craigslist

By Jen Cordwainer

Craigslist supports bartering in addition to item sales.
i Goodshoot/Goodshoot/Getty Images

Bartering on Craigslist allows you to exchange unwanted goods for wanted goods. This can be a good alternative to sales, especially if you do not have cash on hand. You can trade items on Craigslist by posting in the "Barter" or "Wanted" sections of Craigslist. Additionally, you can also contact sellers to see if they are open to trade propositions.

Barter Listings

Visit the Craigslist page for your city and click "Post to classifieds." Select "For sale by owner" and choose "Barter." Enter a posting title that describes your item within a single line. The price field is optional -- you can fill this in if you're also accepting cash for a bartered item. Fill in the specific location, postal code and contact email fields. List items you're willing to trade for in the post description. By default, the Craigslist contact relay is selected, scrambling your email address so that you can remain anonymous. Click on "Continue" and upload optional images of your item. Click "Done with images" and select "Publish." Before your listing is added to Craigslist, you must check your email for a confirmation message and click on the "Publish" link to verify your email address.

Wanted Listings

Click on the "Wanted" link in the "For Sale" section on your local Craigslist page. Type the name of your item into the search bar and click "Search." If someone is looking for your particular item, then his posting will appear in the search results. Select a listing and see what he has available to trade. If you are interested in the items, contact the user via the email or phone number listed in the post description.

Sales Listings

If you are interested in both trading and selling an item, you can specify this in a sales listing. The advantage to "For Sale" listings is that you can further categorize your post by item type, such as "Antiques," "Books" and "Electronics." These subcategories are not available when you post "Barter" and "Wanted" listings, which can limit your exposure to viewers scouring category posts. Click on "Post to classifieds" and click "For Sale by owner." Choose a category and fill in the mandatory post title and contact fields. Make sure to note that you are open to both sale and trade in the Posting Description.

Trading Safety

Participants in Craigslist trades are generally private owners, which means that you do not have the same consumer protections that retail stores and business entities provide. For safety purposes, Craigslist recommends setting up meetings in public, well lit and highly trafficked areas. You might wish to bring a friend along to inspect trade items, especially for items such as electronics or automobiles -- they might have defects that won't be obvious to a layperson.