Swindled?

>> 6.23.2010

Remember when I was all excited about the $20 (but really $500) light fixture I scored off of Craigslist?

Well, I did my best to check that everything was in place when I picked it up. I mean, everything even had boxes... how was I supposed to know that anything was wrong with it?

First clue: the price
If it's too good to be true...
Second clue: the seller's comments
 "you can just call the company if you need extra parts"
Third clue: the unusual amount of leftover wire

We realized after reading through the instructions...
...that the wires attached to the fixture were too short! They needed to be long enough to feed through the "hanger loop" and "nipple" according to the set-up above.

Our theory is that the guy I bought the fixture from attempted to put it up in his home, but cut the wires too short and had to face getting it rewired. Then, instead of paying to get it rewired (if it could even get rewired) he decided to make a quick $20 by listing it on Craigslist... and that's where I came in.

Oh, but guess who figured out a way around the little wire issue?
Yep, I realized that the current wiring would be the perfect length if we just drilled a new hole to put it through. Who is the swindler now?! It looks like Mr. Craigslist-scammer unnecessarily tricked someone into buying his $500 chandelier for $20!

Here's a glimpse of it hanging in my soooo not even close to finished living room.

And a picture I dug up of the old fan and popcorn ceiling:
It's crazy looking at this picture from almost a year ago because the ONLY thing that I still have in the room is the couch... oh, and the boyfriend!

Have you ever found "a great deal" that turned out to be a scam? OR Have you turned "broken and worthless" into something useful in your home?

While I'm back on the topic of buying from Craigslist, I'd like to elaborate on one of my Craigslist buying tips that sparked a bit of debate the other day: offering a lower price when you get to the seller's home.
There are times when this is an appropriate strategy and there are times when it is not. If I feel like I understand the condition and value of the piece based off of online pictures and email conversation with the seller, I'll negotiate the price prior to picking it up. I'd say that this happens more than half of the time, but there are many cases where making a blind offer can end up hurting me in the end. If I want to go into the sale risk free, I'll simply ask the seller if I can come over and "take a look" at their listing. After seeing the item, I'll offer what I'd like to pay.

I believe that no person should be forced to buy OR sell something at a price that they don't see as appropriate. With this said, I do think that people are more likely to change their opinions of what a fair price is when they're faced with the real possibility of getting the junk out of their garage. Because of this, showing the seller that you're serious by driving to see the listing is usually a good strategy in negotiation.

11 comments:

The Brick Cottage June 23, 2010 at 10:26 AM  

I don't think you were scammed. I'm sure he thought you'd have to re-wire it which is why you got such a great deal (one made even better due to the fact that you didn't have to re-wire it). Heck, even if you had to re-wire it, $20 is one heck of a deal for such a large fixture!

Kasey at Thrifty Little Blog June 23, 2010 at 10:33 AM  

@The Brick Cottage~ I knew buying a light fixture without testing it was a bit of a risk, but I figured it would be worth it for only $20.

Even if it was only $20, I still think that the seller knew he was giving me an unusable fixture so lying about the fact that it worked was a bit scamish. I looked into rewiring it before I came up with the hole drilling idea and I found that there are some fixtures that can't even be rewired and become trash when the wires are too short.

chacha June 23, 2010 at 11:38 AM  

Nice solution!

The other option which depends on how much chain is left, is to have removed a link or two and that should have freed up some wire length...

Craigslist is always a risk - comes with the territory. eBay is a little safer but the deals are not as good.

Danielle and Clint June 23, 2010 at 12:17 PM  

Great solution! You can hardly tell that you had to drill that whole. I will say that I don't seem to have as good as luck as you with Craigslist. I have kind of given up on it because of the slimmy people I meet. But you sure showed that scammer!

Sara @ Russet Street Reno June 23, 2010 at 12:54 PM  

Ooooh, cutting the wires too short sucks! Good thing you showed him, haha!

dogsmom June 23, 2010 at 3:34 PM  

CL around here is not as generous as I have seen through blogs.
Maybe I am just an in person thrift salen type of girl.
I have even been ripped off buying in person, but that's when I follow my heart as not my head.
I think you still got a decent deal and it looks great.

Mrs. Chic June 23, 2010 at 4:56 PM  

Good thinking!! I like your fireplace!

Kim @ NewlyWoodwards June 23, 2010 at 9:36 PM  

I'm so glad you made it work. That would have torked me off.

Carole June 24, 2010 at 9:28 AM  

glad the light worked out, it looks great! love your fireplace and the cute chair, makes me curious to see the rest of the room (finished or not :)

Alexis L., The Studioist June 25, 2010 at 2:50 AM  

I can safely say that I never would have figured out how to make that work. Kudos!

Anonymous,  June 29, 2010 at 6:47 PM  

I don't think you were scammed either. Paying $20 for a $500 light fixture is quite a deal. So you had to make it work - clever lady that you are, solved the problem.

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