Selling stuff you receive via Freecycle? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 31 Old 02-24-2007, 03:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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What are the ethics on this? I mean, I know there are no official guidelines, but is this something people do? I have seen people say they don't want resellers picking up a certain item for whatever reason. If someone is really broke, isn't the ability to sell the stuff they pick up helping them out just as much, and the original owner still has their need met as well?

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#2 of 31 Old 02-24-2007, 03:56 PM
 
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I know that when I was active on freecycle it was a HUGE no-no. People that take the free things and then re-sell were taking everything and not giving others a chance. Some even had an auto posting thing going on that would respond to every single offer the second that it was posted.
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#3 of 31 Old 02-24-2007, 03:57 PM
 
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I give stuff away all the time and I never set a condition that the person cannot sell it. That would be fine with me if they did.

I've never used Freecycle. I guess if the rules allow it, the person giving is allowed their preference. But I think that makes the whole thing too complicated!

ETA I see CP's point that it can get out of hand.

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#4 of 31 Old 02-24-2007, 04:21 PM
 
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Ethically, I would consider this a no-no. I would Freecycle it again. But ethics are an individual characteristic. What are your ethics?
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#5 of 31 Old 02-24-2007, 04:44 PM
 
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Yeah, what candipooh said. It makes it impossible for the people who actually need stuff to get it when every time anyone posts baby clothes or equipment or whatever, they get 25 responses in the first 5 minutes, most from people who are just going to attempt to resell the items at the consignment store or a yard sale or whatever. It is frustrating.

Our local Freecycle doesn't have any official rules about it, but does request that if you plan to resell items, you inform the person who is offering the item of your intentions. That way if they would prefer to give it to someone who actually needs those specific items, they can.

I don't get things from Freecycle specifically to resell, but I think a few Freecycle items may have made it into our consignment basket on occasion. My feeling about it is that as long as you are not deliberately taking stuff just to resell it, it's okay to resell it at some later date when you are done using it yourself.
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#6 of 31 Old 02-24-2007, 04:57 PM
 
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My feeling about it is that as long as you are not deliberately taking stuff just to resell it, it's okay to resell it at some later date when you are done using it yourself.
Ditto that!
I once got a huge bag of cloth diapers. I was floored by this woman's generousity as she could have sold them for lots of $$.

I used the covers until DD grew out of them, which was quite a long time. I really wished I could have gave them to someone else via FC, or on the diaper fairy board here. Unfortunately, I needed bigger covers, so I sold them and used the money to buy some.

I felt guilty about it, but it's not like I immediately resold them, or used the resulting money for a spa trip or something. I just think of it as the gift that kept on giving. I was and am still grateful, as everytime I sell and buy new diapers, I think of that woman who allowed me to start CDing in the first place. :

(And the prefolds she gave me, I still use to this day. They are falling apart and threadbare, but I'm still using them!)

But IMO, getting stuff off of Freecycle to immediately resell for profit is not cool.
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#7 of 31 Old 02-24-2007, 05:00 PM
 
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It would really bother me. I usually freecycle our stuff so it'll go directly to a family who needs it rather than passing through a middle-man like Value Village, etc. If I knew someone was trying to make a buck off it, I would definitely pass over them to find someone who actually needs the item. To me, it seems incredibly dishonest to claim a need for an item (thus depriving someone else of it free of charge) and then sell it for a profit (making the other person in need buy it).
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#8 of 31 Old 02-24-2007, 05:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I don't really know what my ethics are, I'm conflicted, really. What if the person needs the buck they're making off it more than they need the item, KWIM? I guess I feel that, if someone wanted something to go to a charitable source, they would make the effort to donate it to one. For example, I Freecycle stuff I know my local charities won't take or can't really use, and I bring the rest to the charities myself.

And how do you know the people who pick up are actually in need anyway? I gave a lot (A LOT) of baby stuff I could have sold to someone who posted Wanted all over the local Freecycle groups. She was due with trips and seemed really in need, so I made a huge effort to pull all this stuff together for her. After she had the babies, she sent a link to a site she had made about the babies and highlighted the outrageously expensive, fully outfitted nurseries they had put together. So she could easily have afforded to buy the stuff I gave her.

And I don't exactly NEED the expensive shoes I just responded for But I do really want them! So what defines a need anyway?

I don't know, I guess that's why I asked here. Devoid of any context, my ethics would be the same as if I spotted the item sitting outside a dumpster--mine to keep or donate or sell or trash if I felt like it. However, now I do have context, and as it turned out, there was even a file in the Files section about it (always forget about that thing), and they do request that you disclose if you're planning to sell stuff. So I won't be doing it. It's actually moot anyway, since I never get a single offer I respond about even though I am always polite and write complete e-mails (and not e-mails consisting solely of "Can pick up at 2:00" with no name, or please, or thank you, or niceties at all, argh!), and despite responding the exact same MINUTE that the post appears on the board. But that's a whole other post

Thanks everyone, for your input!

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#9 of 31 Old 02-24-2007, 06:22 PM
 
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As a teeny little example of why I love FC: dh bought a nice pair of shoes that just didn't fit his weird feet. A high school teacher picked them up for one of her students. I doubt she would've bought them for him. He couldn't afford them. We don't need them. So...we're all happy now.
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#10 of 31 Old 02-24-2007, 06:42 PM
 
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Our freecycle has a rule against reselling. You aren't supposed to do it and can be banned if caught doing it.
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#11 of 31 Old 02-24-2007, 07:39 PM
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Originally Posted by frogguruami View Post
Our freecycle has a rule against reselling. You aren't supposed to do it and can be banned if caught doing it.
I've been on three freecycles, and all had the same rule. Selling stuff you get is really a major violation of the spirit of freecycling, IMO.

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#12 of 31 Old 02-24-2007, 07:49 PM
 
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I have never gotten anything from FreeCycle and sold it straightaway. I have, however, gotten something from FreeCycle, and fixed it or used it or decided it wasn't what I needed after all, and then sold it at a later date.

I don't feel that what I did was unethical. However, if someone knows of a rule against this, please tell me.

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#13 of 31 Old 02-24-2007, 08:55 PM
 
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I'm appalled by the idea that someone would take something from freecycle with the specific intention of reselling it right away without informing the person who offered the item.

I know when I give things away on freecycle, it's with the idea that it will go to someone who really needs it. As a result, I generally don't give it to the first responder, but rather to the person whose story about why they want it appeals to me the most. I definitely wouldn't give something away to someone who told me they planned to sell it, unless they were the only responder and I didn't feel like selling it myself.

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#14 of 31 Old 02-25-2007, 03:55 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm appalled by the idea that someone would take something from freecycle with the specific intention of reselling it right away without informing the person who offered the item.
Really? I guess I don't really understand why. I've never thought of Freecycle as any form of a charitable organization. In fact, I've always thought of it in terms of the goal stated in the second sentence of the front page blurb of both my local groups--to reduce waste and the number of items going to the landfill. And neither of my local groups bans reselling. I wasn't aware that it was frowned up by quite so many! And I never, ever have gotten stories from the people whom I've given to (in that no one ever volunteers one), I've always just given to the first person who responds and shows up. In fact, the one person I did get a "story" from via their Wanted post turned out to not be particularly needy!

Hmmmm, food for thought, I guess...

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#15 of 31 Old 02-25-2007, 05:26 AM
 
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I used to be a moderator for our local freecycle, and it was a huge no no to get something and then sell it. I mean, you get something off of fc and use it and a year or so later sell it, well, that's different. But if you get something, realize you can make money off it so you ebay it or sell it? That's just wrong. I give things away on fc so that other people can use items I no longer need. I do this to be kind. If someone intends to sell the item I'm giving them I'd rather sell it myself or fc it to someone else. Personally, I think it's greedy and taking advantage of the kindness of others to do so. But, that's JMO. I hope I don't offend anyone!

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#16 of 31 Old 02-25-2007, 11:15 AM
 
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Personally, as someone who has mostly just given stuff away on freecycle, I don't really care. When I freecycle the purpose is to get the thing out of my house and to keep it out of the landfill. If I think its worth selling, I generally do it myself, so nothing I freecycle really bothers me if someone else sells it and gets a few bucks, they at least prevented me from having to dispose of it another way.

However, I feel that if you plan to sell the item, you should state that in your original request and let the person who is giving it away decide.

However, there is a huge problem with folks responding to everything but not having time to pick everything up and so you get a lot of responses that never get responded to because they autorespond when the email is received and then they must decide its not worth selling and never email you back.

I usually see freecycle as the place of last resort. Freecycle is where I send things that I can't sell on ebay, can't sell on craigslist and can't donate to a charity.

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#17 of 31 Old 02-25-2007, 11:28 AM
 
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I generally don't give it to the first responder, but rather to the person whose story about why they want it appeals to me the most.
I would probably do the same (if I Freecycled, which I haven't yet) but in a way we are rewarding the person who is the best writer/storyteller.

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#18 of 31 Old 02-25-2007, 11:35 AM
 
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I've had a lot of rewarding freecycle stories too and I have yet to feel like those were ingenuine. I've given away things to folks who didn't tell me about themselves and that was fine too - I just don't give away anything I really want to go to someone less fortunate, I give those to charity.

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#19 of 31 Old 02-25-2007, 01:02 PM
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This is from the main freecycle site basic rules and etiquette files:
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If you are an EBay seller, thrift store owner, or a reseller of any kind, FULL DISCLOSURE OF YOUR INTENTION TO SELL ITEMS RECEIVED FROM FREECYCLE MEMBERS IS REQUIRED UP FRONT. You MUST disclose your intent to sell either in your original Wanted post or when responding so the gifter can make an informed decision with all the details and facts. Members have the right to inquire as to the intended use of any item they offer.

ANYONE FOUND SELLING ITEMS OBTAINED ON THIS LIST ON EBAY, THE CLASSIFIED OR OTHER YAHOO GROUPS WILL BE BANNED AND REPORTED.
Seems pretty clear to me... if some local freecycle groups aren't following the rules, that's their bad.

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#20 of 31 Old 02-25-2007, 01:20 PM
 
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My feeling about it is that as long as you are not deliberately taking stuff just to resell it, it's okay to resell it at some later date when you are done using it yourself.
I agree with this. When I respond to freecycle offers, it's because we could use that item. Usually when we're finished with it, I offer it on freecycle again, but occasionally an item will end up in our yard sale pile. That's usually after a no-show, though.
I love passing things on through freecycle. We had a rocking horse that we got from another woman on freecycle and we offered it on FC when dd had finished with it.. every few months I see it offered again to someone else Pretty cool.

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#21 of 31 Old 02-25-2007, 01:32 PM
 
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. Selling stuff you get is really a major violation of the spirit of freecycling, IMO.

dar

Well said. Selling the stuff just ruins the spirit of it all.
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#22 of 31 Old 02-25-2007, 01:32 PM
 
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i would be really PO'ed if someone sold something they got from me. seems like it goes against the whole point of freecycle.
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#23 of 31 Old 02-25-2007, 01:32 PM
 
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I wouldn't sell anything that I received on freecycle. I think that if someone is purchasing things with the intention of selling them that is unethical. There are certain circumstances that I personally think are acceptable.

That said, I thought freecycle was just that.... 'free' 'cycle' I posted a wanted for old/dirty dolls, barbie, ken, gi joe type for a college art project and recieved a very nasty e-mail from another member stating that what I was asking for was unethical and inappropriate because I was asking for 'vintage' items. I had no clue and informed her of that in an e-mail and proceeded to post to the group that what she stated was not my intention. This woman really hurt my feelings and I stated so in my response to her. Anyway, I proceeded to go to my local goodwill/salvation army and got what I needed for .50 cents a piece. That is .50 cents a piece that I didn't truly have to spend on an college project but I did it anyway. So much for being vintage and worth alot of money as she stated.

My point is that this woman's comments were rude and totally off the mark, some people need to take things as they are and not read into them.

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#24 of 31 Old 02-25-2007, 01:35 PM
 
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I don't freecycle (none around here) but I do give things away FFS. I know once it leaves my hands, I have no control over it but it did hurt when I saw the box of diapers I gave away to a mama on here for sale a few days after the mama received them.
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#25 of 31 Old 02-25-2007, 01:48 PM
 
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My point is that this woman's comments were rude and totally off the mark, some people need to take things as they are and not read into them.



I'm actually a moderator of our local Freecycle group, and let me tell you that there is a certain (thankfully small) number of people out there who live to make complaints about other people. We have one Freecycle user who regularly sends complaints to the mods about Freecycle posts that she perceives to have been in violation of the guidelines. I am talking like 1-2 complaints PER DAY. So don't take these people too personally. I swear some people really must have nothing better to do.

(Sorry, I know that was off-topic, but I hate to hear from people who have bad Freecycle experiences. )
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#26 of 31 Old 02-25-2007, 02:03 PM
 
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#27 of 31 Old 02-25-2007, 02:25 PM
 
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Originally Posted by JanB View Post


I'm actually a moderator of our local Freecycle group, and let me tell you that there is a certain (thankfully small) number of people out there who live to make complaints about other people. We have one Freecycle user who regularly sends complaints to the mods about Freecycle posts that she perceives to have been in violation of the guidelines. I am talking like 1-2 complaints PER DAY. So don't take these people too personally. I swear some people really must have nothing better to do.

(Sorry, I know that was off-topic, but I hate to hear from people who have bad Freecycle experiences. )
I had never had a bad experience before this one. I have only ever received twice, I do post things to give away quite often or respond to requests. We don't have much, but some people have less... that is how I feel.

I did send the woman an e-mail (never heard back) and I posted to the group my intentions so I feel good about it. It was just a shock to open my e-mail and see such a hateful note to me.

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#28 of 31 Old 02-25-2007, 10:53 PM
 
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I hate the idea of reselling things from freecycle. I've given away bunches of stuff on it, a bed, diapers, tons of toys and clothes, furniture. I do it because of the nature of the site. I don't see it as a charity - but as a way to recycle and reuse. Some really cool stuff has been gifted to me and in the same way, if I don't have a use for an item but know that it would be used by another, why not just pass it on.

It is not that I don't want to bother to sell it myself, but I think it is pretty crummy to take it to sell. Different note - I feel the same way about thrift stores and purchasing all the boutique or name brands for resale.

I usually don't post as to not offend anyone, but I feel pretty strongly about this.
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#29 of 31 Old 02-26-2007, 02:38 PM
 
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With freecycle, I have had people ask for silly things that I have and able to give them and I have seen people ask for $, ipods, etc. It happens only once in a while and then you dont see them again. I had someone request something I had and she came to pick it up while a friend was here. My friend saw her getting it and said- hey your people pick up the stuff!! The lady then emailed me thanking me and saying how great it was, her kids loved it.....

I remember about a year ago, the mod saying a person was banned because she was caught picking up stuff and ebaying it asap.

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#30 of 31 Old 02-26-2007, 05:04 PM
 
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Originally Posted by proud mama of 2 View Post

That said, I thought freecycle was just that.... 'free' 'cycle' I posted a wanted for old/dirty dolls, barbie, ken, gi joe type for a college art project and recieved a very nasty e-mail from another member stating that what I was asking for was unethical and inappropriate because I was asking for 'vintage' items. I had no clue and informed her of that in an e-mail and proceeded to post to the group that what she stated was not my intention. This woman really hurt my feelings and I stated so in my response to her. Anyway, I proceeded to go to my local goodwill/salvation army and got what I needed for .50 cents a piece. That is .50 cents a piece that I didn't truly have to spend on an college project but I did it anyway. So much for being vintage and worth alot of money as she stated.
I'm the mod for our local freecycle, as well. If this were to happen in my group, the sender would have received a warning or an immediate ban (depending on the severity of the e-mail). That is not tolerated. It is up to the mods to moderate posts, not the members.

We also have a rule against picking up items for the sole purpose of reselling them. If you really need the money, find another way to get it (there are many other options and organizations which can help you out). Sorry, but that's how I feel. I agree with a pp, that it ruins the spirit of freecycle.
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