Yes, you can use Facebook to play Candy Crush Saga and stay in touch with friends and family, but thanks to its Marketplace app, you can also use it to find your next used car. With a bit of caution and these pointers, you could find a good deal.
Before the Marketplace
Members of Facebook have long used the platform to buy and sell a range of goods, including used vehicles. It all started by accident—people would post something for sale on their feed, which would then spread as other members tagged or shared the post. Users on Facebook eventually began creating “buy and sell” groups, which helped streamline the process.
Members would pay for their purchases with PayPal, ApplePay, or another means of exchanging money, but it was all quite self-regulated, just like eBay in its early days. The simple fact that members’ actions—and potentially harmful reviews—were out there on social media for everyone to see created confidence.
Facebook eventually realized it could profit from this company.
It launched Facebook Marketplace in October 2016, a community that aims to provide all of the benefits of Craigslist without the risk. The site connects buyers and sellers in the exact location, and it attracted both private sellers and used car dealers, as anticipated.
How to Use the Marketplace
Open the app, select “Go To Marketplace,” type “used vehicles” (or “used trucks”) in the search box on the upper lefthand side of the screen, and begin browsing. You can narrow your quest by including private owner sales, sales near you or in your neighborhood, and sales from car dealerships. You can also search by price.
Assume you start your quest by typing “used cars and trucks near me.” This will take you to a page with anywhere from a few to hundreds of posts (depending on your city’s size), each promoting a single-vehicle. When you go to the vehicle’s web page, you’ll be taken to an online “ad” containing essential details about the car and the seller. If it’s a dealership, you’ll be able to read reviews and get a sense of how trustworthy they are.
You can also search for a specific make, model, and year—for example, 2007 Honda Civic—and your feed will display all Honda Civics for sale in your region.
You and the buyer are free to discuss terms, payment, and delivery once you’ve agreed you’re interested in a specific vehicle, just as you would in any other used car purchase.
The ease of buying and selling on Facebook Marketplace is one of the advantages. You can use the app on your desktop, laptop, tablet, or phone at any time and from any place. It’s much more user-friendly than Craigslist, which doesn’t have an app. It’s also better because the buyers aren’t unknown (although you do not need to give out an email address or phone number to make a transaction). Users of the Marketplace must, of course, have a Facebook account to see how long someone has been selling and read buyer feedback. Finally, the app is entirely free to use, with no transaction fees paid by Facebook.
One of the Marketplace’s benefits that it is a trust-based culture is also one of its drawbacks. Since no website is free of fraud and violence, do your homework. Unlike eBay, which protects customers against fraud, the Facebook Marketplace, like Craigslist, is a bit of a free for, with “buyer beware” clearly in effect.
Is It Worth It?
Given the abundance of online and offline commerce sites, one has to wonder if Facebook Marketplace is still essential. Sellers believe it’s worthwhile to tap into the nearly one billion people who use Facebook today, which could work to your advantage as more and more credible sellers join the fray. Even you should consider Facebook Marketplace as just one choice in your quest for a used car.