Facebook Marketplace is a Waste of Time

Have you tried selling something on Facebook and found the experience extremely frustrating due to the number of time wasters?

Well, you are not alone. 

For the past few months, I have been using a combination of GumTree, eBay and Facebook Marketplace for second-hand parts. What I have found, frankly has been no real surprise to me and probably you too.

Facebook is full of time wasters, GumTree is slow, almost pointless and eBay, besides a few niggles, eBay just rocks.

The lure of Facebook Marketplace

If you didn’t already know, you can sell all your wares on FaceBook for free via their “FaceBook Marketplace. Using this crude “Marketplace” you can add a limited number for images, set a location and add a description & price for what you’ve got to sell.

In theory, it’s a really good idea, billions of potential buyers, localised results, no fees (a massive lure compared to say eBay, Amazon or Etsy) and a messaging app natively built into the site too.

Is this not what we have all been dreaming of for years? A competitor large enough to challenge eBay, Amazon or even take a swing at Etsy.

What could be wrong with such marketplace?

Basically everything.

Since February I have used the FB marketplace extensively and what I’ve found has been less than delightful.

Out of all the messages received, 95% of them have been from time wasters.

They are time wasters on the FaceBook marketplace for many different reasons, here are a few of the common ones I came across:

  1. Never replied after saying hello
  2. Only read the title and missed important information in the description
  3. Started a messenger conversation with a silly low offer (not even a hello most of the time)
  4. Used the marketplace post shared in a group to show how much of “an expert” they are
  5. Were guessing on compatibility
  6. Were plain rude or insulting (see photo for a recent example)
  7. Just plain didn’t turn up

Don’t get me wrong, I have met some lovely people because of the FB marketplace. Enthusiasts from around the UK and some really funny people too. I’ve certainly had some laughs along the way. 

However, the amount of time wasted to just get that far has been obscene. 

I frankly do not know how anyone could seriously use the FB marketplace to promote their products or services via in any shape or form. It’s been THAT bad.

People just are not on Facebook to buy

This is the fundamental flaw with the Facebook Marketplace is that people are not there to buy.

If you are on eBay, Amazon or Etsy, your purpose of being on these two sites is to buy or are about to buy a product. Both these sites are for the best part “product-oriented”. 

Facebook is not product-oriented.

Note: Yes I am ignoring Amazon Video, Audible and other Amazon variants.

It’s totally understandable that Facebook added a marketplace to their offerings, in many ways it makes really good sense. An existing platform with an obscene number of users, a messenger app and the ability to send notifications to users and share things with other people.

In theory, it makes for a really good idea. Almost genius! 

However, the reality is far, far from a good experience when compared to the likes of eBay, Amazon or Etsy. 

With those marketplaces, they facilitate the whole buying experience. They allow a buyer to make a purchase and control the process the seller and buyer go through. Simply put, you actually buy something on these sites.

Whereas on Facebook marketplace you’re left to your own devices and this is where the wheels just fall off. 

There is no buying option, there is no straightforward buying process, payments are left to “whatever” and accountability is pretty much lapse.

No wonder buyers aren’t committed to a purchase when the “marketplace” (which is not really a marketplace at all, it’s just a load of items random people have added with no real order at all and then left to sit) is not there to back anyone up. The buyer or the seller.

Combatting Facebook Marketplace time wasters

Soo…. if you are you are still interested in using or have been using the FB marketplace and want to spend less time with the time wasters, these tips should help you along the way, the last one is the key tip to culling time wasters in their tracks.

Tip #1 A Clear Product Title WITH the Condition

Unlike eBay or Amazon where you have to keyword spam the titles, with FB you can be more lapse and keeping them human-readable is the way to go.

Unless it’s completely obvious that the product is used or new, include the condition in the title at the beginning. This is definitely the right way to go as sometimes the person reading the title is not the sharpest tool in the box. 

Tip #2 Use ALL the Images

Wow, this sounds like old-school eBay advice, however, it’s still applicable here for the FB marketplace as it is eBay & Amazon. Use every single image slot available to you.

Tip #3 The first sentence is ALL they see 99.9999% of the time

The way in which the FB marketplace shows a product description is extremely limited.

This is not just because of the severe lack of formatting options or the restrictive length of a description you can add, but because FaceBook limits the description to the first paragraph and then chop off the rest and show a “More” link that most people miss.

So if you’ve not been extremely clear in the first few words, yea, that buyer most likely did not even see the link to “More” let alone read what you wrote for the product description.

Side comparison: On eBay etc… the buyer has to scroll down. In some cases that can be too much even for an eBay buyer. However, on Facebook, the user must make a click action to click on that “More” link. That is probably too much for the average user browsing the FaceBook marketplace.

Tip #4 Copy & Paste Reply to ALL Messages

This tip alone has saved me hours of wasted time dealing with dead-beats. 

Literally, copy & paste the below and then wait to see if they come back, if they do… chances are they’re not another lame Facebook marketplace time waster.

Hi, thanks for your interest. Due to the number of time-wasters I’ve had on FaceBook for other items, I have to ask, have you actually read the description for this item? 

This one copy & paste reply I kid-you-not has saved me hours of not having to deal with time wasters or not having to answer things that were already covered in the description.

In conclusion

I am sure I am not the only one that has been dying for a new contender to appear to take on the likes of eBay, Etsy or even Amazon as a new sales platform. We all want that right? Especially a free one to use platform too!?

In theory, the Facebook Marketplace is a really good idea. I even suggested earlier, a genius one at that. However the reality is that there is no process for a buyer or seller to flow through, so what is left behind is utter carnage with frustrated sellers and half-hearted buyers.

Yes, I’ve sold a few items via the FaceBook marketplace, however, it has been a very, very painful process.

I cannot believe that I am about to say this… (and I’ve sold over 100,000 items on eBay in the past)

eBay buyers were a delight to work with compared to the Facebook marketplace time wasters.

Running at the same time, eBay outstripped sales compared to the FB marketplace by at least 70 times and with a lot less hassle too. Yes, we had the odd daft buyer along the way over there too, but generally speaking, eBay frankly ROCKED!. 

Facebook marketplace, not a good experience.

So that’s my findings from the past few months with the Facebook marketplace. I do not see much hope for it improving any time soon due to the lack of buyer/seller processes that are inground into the likes of eBay, Amazon, and Etsy. I wished it could be better news. 

One day FaceBook marketplace might be taken seriously, instead of faffing with cryptocurrencies and just getting the basics right.

READ MORE: eBay, PayPal, Facebook, Uber, Lyft, Mastercard among founding members of new Libra cryptocurrency

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21 Comments

  1. Just from listing items privately, (used/free or very low value/make offer items), we have had a lot of time wasters as well via FB. You summed it up re: buyer mind set. When a buyer is on an ecommerce platform such as ebay/amazon they are either in buying mode or at least could be tempted, whereas on FB it is very more casual!

  2. Absolutely the most painful experience ever trying to sell on Facebook marketplace!! It’s drives me up the wall and after reading this it’s so obvious as to why it’s so unreliable. I’ve been previously suspended from marketplace because I used some choice words towards a very rude individual and I’m thinking I might just go out with a bang as my finale. F*#K you marketplace and all you time wasters.

  3. Omg YES. Thank you for writing this. I’m so incredibly frustrated with the caliber and rudeness of time wasters on fb market place.

    I’m at the stage of just donating items now, instead of dealing with fb marketplace. I don’t have the time or patience anymore. The amount of insulting low ball offers, people who don’t read the description. I just had someone tell me they will pick up an item in the timeframe I advised them I was NOT available.

    I’m glad I’m not the only one feeling this pain!! I’m never selling on fb marketplace again.

  4. I’ve been on Facebook Marketplace just three days and it has so far been 100% time wasters!
    In fact I’m convinced Facebook wrote the book on Time Wasters.

    Some guy messages me that he wants the item. It’s sure, it’s definite. He will definitely message me in the morning. No, he’s not changing his mind.

    The next morning: crickets.

    I messaged him a couple of times later and said I sure hope nothing bad happened to him. Still nothing.

    Some other guy engages me in some conversation about the other item I’m selling. Yes, looks like exactly what he needs.

    Next day: ‘ Sorry no longer interested’.

    If anybody is out there and reading this, I advise you:

    Take anything anyone says on Facebook Marketplace with a tiny tiny grain of salt.

    Time Wasters every last one of them.

  5. I sold a Cartier pocketbook and accessories on Facebook marketplace and as of yet I have not received the money and the person I sold it to already paid Facebook marketplace I don’t know where my $500 is but it’s not in my pocket.is Facebook crooked??

  6. How in the hell do I just get paid? FB Marketplace has been holding my payments for sales hostage since the beginning of December. I have literally gone through every hoop at least 7 times only to have some idiot from their company ask me to do it again! I’ve done it so many times that the platform will not allow me to any more. I cannot get in contact with a live body and no one will contact me directly, so I guess I am out $68.35. It’s not a lot but it’s the principle that is has been stollen, I know by whom, and there isn’t anything I can do about it. So angry though!

  7. On the flip side, not all sellers are nice and communicative. I messaged someone about an item and politely asked for their availability. It was like pulling teeth to get a response other than “I’m not available at that time” Ok, well when might you be available so we can come by? “Tomorrow” Ok great, what time tomorrow? Silence. Next day I politely remind her that we would still like to purchase her item listed for sale and when we could come by. No answer for hours and at the end of the day she’s marked it sold without a word to us. It’s maddening. I was nothing but nice and tried to be flexible and don’t know what else I could have possibly done differently.

    I know selling stuff comes with plenty of time wasters but at least as a seller you don’t get your hopes up over an item as you do when you’re the buyer dealing with a crappy seller.

  8. Whenever I try to buy something on FB marketplace I have a feeling I have to browse through ton of rubbish that people are to lazy to bring to the local tip… Other, used items are priced 80-90% value of the new stuff, some even at the same or higher price as the new one in the shop. Many pictures are blurry, cropped so you can’t see anything. As a buyer I have a very bad experience with marketplace.

  9. Hi, I have something to share as well. I started using marketplace last month, since ebay and etsy is not available in India and other “top-notch” websites like quikr and sulkeha is completely useless. I tried marketplace along with OLX. Now, I am agree with you 100%, nobody reads the description, those who do, converts. I made 2-3 sale on FB marketplace and after that they stop giving me any views. Tried every method available on internet, nothing works. End of the world for me because I made a site as well. And why the stop sending listing views? Ads maybe or definetly.
    Tl;dr
    nobody reads description, buyer intent is 1% or less, dead beets, facebook marketplace is broken, 0 views.

    Thanks for this article, for some reason it gives me relief.

  10. I have only sold for cash or Venmo on FB Marketplace. Do I understand that FB has a payment method themselves? How does it work? Good or bad reviews?

  11. Yes time wasters have been a huge hastle but my BIGGEST complaint with marketplace is that it is SO unreliable… One week I’ll get thousands of views in 2 hrs for every item and be selling like crazy…. the next week I’ll maybe get 10 views on my items and few sales… My product is the same always… so it must be fb promoting my items and then not promoting them… all out of my control. ALSO, marketplace is SUPER buggy and glitchy… sometimes the number of views will completely disappear… sometimes I’ll spend forever creating a listing and hit “post” and it disappears… sometimes my items will be stuck in “review” for a month and I have no choice but to erase it and start again from scratch… sometimes an item that has been approved months ago gets flagged as “going against rules” for NO reason (haven’t changed anything) and it won’t let me request a review… what is MOST frustrating is that no one from FB cares about helping sellers with these issues. Also, a buyer sent FB a complaint about something that was completely out of my control (the post office lost her package, I told her let’s give it one more week and then I’d refund her… it showed up on her doorstep in exactly one week and she STILL sent a complaint) now that complaint is on my record for all to see. GRRRR

  12. How do you get paid. I have a couple of hundred dollars worth of sales that I have not received payment from FB MP yet.

  13. I have seen many beautiful items that I would have liked to by but by the time the seller could have answered a question it is already committed. I would like to have a link in the as to pay immediately and therefore get a commitment. I wouldn’t always want to do that but would like the option. Also sometimes items are sold so fast that I have been pressured into committing before I can see the items. Some people want the item removed immediately and therefore I am starting to inquire only within a certain driving range. It is difficult to arrange for pickup with just a few hours notice. Since I have to either put it into my suv the measurements should be there without my having to ask and wait and wait. That being said, people are pretty nice and often prices are really attractive

  14. I am glad to hear someone else knows that fb marketplace is a waste of time and some selling things are pure scammers. I tried to purchase some co!or changing memorial jars for myself and other family members due to the recent loss of my dear sister, and paid for them through cash app and two weeks later I contacted the seller to see when I might expect to receive them and she told me that I never paid for them, and then said I created another post and she didn’t see it, but she and I both know that’s va lie because each time I messaged her she responded back after she got the money she messaged me back for my shipping address so why did she need it if I hadn’t paid? That really hurts my heart that we have people to mistreat and scam others. I am sixty plus years old I don’t even know how to create a different post but my thing is you responded to each message I sent. I read her reviews and talk about red flags. That’s my loss and I advise any and everyone DO NOT order from her she has beautiful pictures of different things on her site but you’ll never get them or if you do some big her reviews says you will be disappointed. So enjoy my money Mandy!!

  15. Face book Market Place started out as a great idea as many normal individuals wanted to sell and buy things close to home. As a result it was like a internet flea market with pretty realistic goods and prices. However it seems to have become more of a professional buyer, seller, resale where individual deals became a eBay fixed price show.
    I have sold and bought things through Market place and am currently looking to buy a item that many buyer resellers are scarfing up on . Nothing wrong with a owner selling making a buck but adding professional resellers only ruins the deal making process.
    My recommendation is Market Place places restrictions on sellers to say for an example three items per month or three ads per month.

  16. Get rid of the auto reply questions
    Not every seller is glued to his phone
    If someone appears to be interested, I offer my phone number

    Can s omeone come up with an improved version

    1. Many sellers are just arrogant bastards .They list rubbish at ridiculous prices, and tell buyers not to waste their time with ridiculous offers. Sellers try to sell Registered vehicle’s with no RWC which is illegal. Many sellers are selling stolen goods on FACEBOOK MARKET PLACE BEWARE

  17. I’m very happy with FB Marketplace and have sold over £1500 worth of items for charity from my parent’s home which had to be emptied. It was especially useful during covid lockdown when I was unable to donate anything to charity shops. 95% of people have been most pleasant and courteous, paying more for the item knowing it was for charity. Yes some don’t read the description or they don’t always answer, but for me this platform has been a Godsend.
    I shall continue to use Marketplace until my garage is empty and I can get my car back inside!

  18. Yes, I agree with many of you here. Almost 90 percent of those are fake buyers and time wasters. I cannot understand the mentality. I will never do this to any one if I am not genuinely want to buy an item. I have unusual experience of meeting some sleazy guy who wants to buy my used stay-ups when I post some new pairs. He promised he will pay $300 for four pairs of new stay-ups and two used one. Actually he wanted me to put on the stay-ups and send photos for him. He asked private questions which I refused to answer. p toHe then offered to pay half if I open up to him. I started to get worried who are those looking at my items on sales.
    I also have people collected the items and not paying; someone returned after paying;, people who lied about not receiving the item in the post. Through my experiences, only items that is below $20 sell quickly. People here are not willing to part even for a couple of dollars. It hurts me when I put up item that is valuable and being offered dirt cheap.

  19. Hi Matt, I am new to Facebook Marketplace, placed an ad today and paid for 3 days of boost, ad appeared looked great, within 3 hours ad had disappeared, very strange, so for the last 3 hours I have tried to email Facebook, tried everything I could think of just to get an email address, as of right now I have given up, and will place an ad on Ebay.
    So I am now siding with you and thinking this Marketplace and Facebook is crap.

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