8 Things I Wish I Knew Before Buying Stuff On Facebook Marketplace In Toronto

It's not as easy as it seems!

Mira Nabulsi. Right: Mira's apartment in Toronto.
Associate Editor

Mira Nabulsi. Right: Mira's apartment in Toronto.


This Opinion article is part of a Narcity Media series. The views expressed are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Narcity Media.

Buying things off the Internet can sometimes be quite unsettling, but Facebook Marketplace is the perfect place to find unique items at a lower price. However, there are some things I wish I had known before I became an avid bargainer in Toronto.

Trying to upgrade your home and find new ways to decorate can be expensive, mainly because everything you like is suddenly trendy and thus triple the price it should be.

And if you're not very creative, trying to make that TikTok IKEA hack a reality can be quite the struggle. As a result, finding other aesthetic and cheap options on Facebook Marketplace could be the way to brag about your new decor.

As I continue to upgrade my home into a more adult-looking space and use Facebook Marketplace as my primary shopping site, I've learned a few things about the process in Toronto that could be helpful to other shoppers out there.

Here are eight things I wish I had known before buying stuff on Facebook Marketplace.

People can be rude

Finding something worth your time can be a long process when using Facebook Marketplace, but the worst part is that you have to communicate with the seller to get more information on the item being sold, and they can be so rude.

This one time, I found a cloud chair — you know, the one — and I was eager to find out more information about the item, but the seller kept telling me to read the description, which I did, but the questions were not answered. They were so rude I simply ended the chat and moved on.

Check the location

The location of an item on Facebook Marketplace.

The location of an item on Facebook Marketplace.

Mira Nabulsi | Narcity

I'm located in Downtown Toronto and in a condo building, so finding oversized items such as chairs and tables could be quite a challenge to move from one place to another, but I still do it. However, a lot of the stuff I do end up finding is usually farther away from downtown.

Thankfully, I sometimes have access to a car, so picking things up from outside the city isn't much of a problem. But other times, finding pieces in the city is a score, and it could save you a lot of time and money. So make sure to always look at the item's pickup location before attempting to ask more questions to check if you can actually get there.

A $1 posting doesn't actually mean it's a dollar

An item up for sale.

An item up for sale.

Mira Nabulsi | Narcity

You'll often find Facebook Marketplace postings claiming that the product is $1— don't fall for it. It's just a way to get the buyer to message the seller.

I messaged a seller with a mirror up for sale for $1. When I DMed them to ask if it was available, they responded by saying each mirror was 220$ and $400 for two.

The pictures aren't always accurate

If you find screenshots of the item being sold from the original website like Wayfair or IKEA, ask for real-life images of the product in the person's home. This will help you understand the item's state and what it actually looks like.

And even if they don't use stock images to showcase the product, the images could be old, and the item could be more used and in less ideal conditions, so again, ensure that new photos are sent to you before you buy anything.

Additionally, when picking your item up, you should probably double-check it and make sure it looks as promised.

It's hard to spot the scammer

I haven't been scammed while buying items on Facebook Marketplace thus far. Still, I have been scammed purchasing concert tickets on a Facebook event page, so I am always vigilant when buying things online.

If you read my article about things I learned when selling something, I always recommend asking people for a deposit to ensure they will pick it up, and I have no interest in scamming people. But how do you know that the person selling the item isn't scamming you? Unfortunately, there isn't much you can do besides a Facebook background check.

Some advice:

  • Check the person's Facebook profile, and make sure they are not using a fake account
  • The number of friends and when they joined Facebook matter
  • Facebook also gives you access to their seller's profile to ensure their reliability—check it out
  • Don't send a large deposit.

Act quick

Mira having a conversation with someone about the item being sold.

Mira having a conversation with someone about the item being sold.

Mira Nabulsi | Narcity

By acting and responding quickly, the seller will know you are serious about purchasing their item. So, if you actually want what they are selling, don't slack, otherwise, they will start to ignore you and sell it to someone else.

Also, if you are unsure whether you want the product and want time to think about it, you can suggest they place it on "pending" for you— which would limit other people's activity in buying the item.

Ask for a phone number

Once you have decided to buy the item and planned when and where the pick-up will be, ask for their phone number and call it to make sure it's real.

This may be a little too much, but it's for your own good. Sometimes people hand out fake numbers, and other times the seller doesn't answer their messages in time, so I suggest eliminating all the stress by taking that extra step.

You can always try bargaining

Conversation Mira had with someone selling on Facebook.

Conversation Mira had with someone selling on Facebook.

Mira Nabulsi | Narcity

​It's called Facebook Marketplace for a reason—a place to negotiate prices and bargain for a better deal, so don't be afraid to do it.

For example, when an item is $100 on the platform, don't hesitate to ask if they would sell it for $70. Some people may be open to negotiations, others might not, but it's definitely worth it.

Also, you can always ask where the product is from, do your research and tell them why you deserve to buy it at a lower price to make the negotiation more thorough.

People selling on the app know that it's a marketplace, and it's probably something they do as well, so don't feel embarrassed. You might as well practice your bargaining skills online.

Mira Nabulsi
Associate Editor
Mira Nabulsi is an Associate Food & Drink Editor for Narcity Media focused on all your favourite eats and is based in Toronto, Ontario.