car seat

17 Things You Should Absolutely Never Buy on Craigslist or eBay

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car seat

Too Good to Be True

When it comes to shopping sites like eBay and Craigslist, the super low prices can be tempting and a lot of times there are truly great (even wacky) deals to be found. But there are things that are too cheap to seem real and, in many cases, they are just exactly that: too good to be true. From scams, to germs, to downright unsafe products, there are a handful of things that you should just pass on. Take a look. 

Related: 20 Vintage or Common Household Items to Sell for Extra Cash 

baby crib


There are several reasons not to buy a used crib, but the biggest reason is that new cribs are always safer. The standards are constantly changing for the better and buying used might mean you aren't getting the safest crib for your baby. A good example of this is drop side cribs, which prior to 2011 were acceptable, but after several resulted in infant deaths standards were changed. Even with the new standards and recalls, that doesn't prevent items from being sold second hand.

Related: 30 Practical Gifts for Parents (and New Babies) 



It's never a good idea to buy a mattress through Craigslist, simply because you can never know from pictures and a description how clean it actually is. Think cleaning it the minute you get it home will solve the problem? Nope. It could still harbor dust mites, bed bugs, and allergens. For sanitary reasons, you are better off buying a mattress new, and you can even get one easily online. Ick factor aside, a used mattress will likely have formed to someone else’s body and will be lumpy and uncomfortable for you.

Related: The Best IKEA Mattresses

bike helmet


Any type of helmet is likely unsafe to buy from Craigslist or eBay. Like mattresses, you can't know how clean it really is. A second-hand helmet could harbor head lice, which isn't worth saving a buck or two. As far as safety goes, you won't know the bumps and mishaps it has seen which would make it unsafe for you to use. Play it safe and just buy new.

Related: Best Bike Helmets Under $100

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make up


Please don't buy makeup with the seal broken or makeup brushes. No matter what the seller says, you just have no way of knowing if it has been used, and there is no way to truly get a make-up brush or applicator clean. Makeup and makeup brushes can harbor bacteria that can lead to pinkeye or other infections. Don't risk your vision and overall wellness for a cheap deal.

Related: 21 Skin Care Tips to Keep You Looking Young for Less 

Eugeniusz Dudzinski/istockphoto


Supplements and vitamins are something to steer clear of on eBay. Yes, the seller could have a wonderful storefront with excellent reviews, but the bottom line is that these are discounted for a reason. You have no idea how they've been handled or if they have been made with substandard products. Fake brands of some supplements are often sold on eBay. They may look like a brand you recognize, but on closer inspection (after you've bought them) you might discover you have a knock off.

Related: 11 Diet Supplements: Do You Really Need Them?

woman with oxygen mask

Medical Supplies

Medical supplies can be tempting to get on Craigslist for less, but be wary. If you're buying a device that is life dependent, you need to know that it operates correctly. There is no way to be sure with a secondhand item until you use it, which may be a costly, or potentially life-threatening, risk.

Related: Essentials You Can Buy With an FSA Now to Keep the Money From Going to Waste



Anything you would ingest is probably not a good idea to buy on eBay or Craigslist. Yes, these things are allowed to be sold, but you have no way of knowing how the food item has been handled, stored, or even its source. Additionally, food items might be sold because they are about to expire, which means that you would be getting food past its prime, if not spoiled.

Related: 18 Things to Skip at the Dollar Store

men pushing strollers

Strollers and Other Baby Gear

Just as with cribs, the standards for strollers and other baby gear are constantly improving. If you aren't following stroller recalls, you have no idea you're buying a recalled stroller when you're buying second-hand. This affects other baby gear, too. Five million inclined sleepers were recently recalled due to infant deaths, but that doesn't mean used sleepers aren't on the market.

chanel bag

Designer Brand Anything

Craigslist is a melting pot of designer duds, but how do you know what's authentic? The truth is that there is no way to know for certain until you get the item, and there are plenty of reports of scams. Getting your money back isn't likely, as Craigslist has no oversight of the payment process. You are better off using a website or trading group that guarantees the authenticity of the designer brand.

Related: 14 Dead Fashion Brands We Miss

music festival tickets


Craigslist in particular is a risky place to buy entertainment tickets. Unfortunately, the site has plenty of scammers waiting to take your money for fake tickets. Worse, there is no way to get your money back if you do fall for a scam. The most you can do is report the listing. It's just not worth taking the risk.

Related: 16 Ways to Save Money at the Movies



You can't sell pets on eBay or Craigslist, but on Craigslist you can "rehome" pets for a small fee, which means you can get a pet on Craigslist. That said, it's probably something to bypass. There are many stories of pets being rehomed and having behavior or health issues — something you have no way of knowing through a Craigslist ad. Even if the ad doesn't mention any behavior problems, that could be a lie by a frustrated owner hoping to unload a pet quickly.

Related: 15 of the Most Expensive Dogs, Cats, and Other Pets to Own

kid in carseat

Car Seats

Car seats are not something to buy on Craigslist, eBay, or from any second-hand vendor. If a car seat is involved in a car accident in which the airbags deploy, the car seat is deemed damaged and unsafe. While a car seat could appear as if it's in mint condition, buying it second-hand means there is no way to tell if it has been through an accident in its past. There are, thankfully, other ways to save on car expenses that don't put your little on at risk.

vacuum cleaner

Vacuum Cleaners

You have no idea about the actual history of the vacuum cleaner, and it could be more unsettling than you think. Has it been used to clean up bed bugs, bodily functions, pet hair, or other concerning things? You also don't know how well it works until you actually bring it home and try it out. Why risk buying one from Craigslist that could do little more than add dirt (or creepy critters) to your home when you can get one for cheap?

Related: Best Cheap Vacuum Cleaners



There's a difference between refurbished computers and used computers. Refurbished computers are used but have been inspected and are allowed to be resold by reputable dealers. Used computers are more of a gamble. They could have unsavory software or could have been dropped or exposed to water. Instead of buying a possibly stolen or damaged computer with little recourse to get your money back, seek out refurbished models. You'll still save money, but you'll be getting a machine that has been vetted for resale and will likely have a return policy you can review.

Related: Best Cheap Desktop Computers

stuffed animals
Stefan Malloch/istockphoto

Stuffed Animals

The potential for lice should be just one of the reasons to hesitate before buying stuffed animals from eBay or Craigslist. Bacteria, second-hand smoke, bedbugs, cockroaches, and other creepy crawlies are also potential "extras" that could be included in your purchase. Get stuffed animals new or from trusted friends and family.

Related: 25 Most Dangerous Toys of All Time

man with fedora


One word: lice. Buying a used hat from Craigslist or eBay opens up the risk of getting head lice, which spread very quickly and require the purchase of special shampoos, hair combs, and sometimes professional intervention to send packing. A hat, no matter how stylish it is, just isn't worth it.

Related: Everything You Need to Know About Lice

dress shoes on feet

Second-Hand Shoes

Used shoes can be very tempting to buy from places like eBay or Craigslist, but don't. Shoes are designed to conform to a person's foot and if they are used, they've likely already conformed to someone else's foot. Your cheap purchase can leave you with foot and back pain and the expensive treatments required to fix the problem.

Related: Best Cheap Walking Shoes for Women and Men