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About the Marketplace Newsletter

Berkeley Parents Network > Help & Frequently Asked Questions > Marketplace Newsletter

Policies for Marketplace Tips & Guidelines Questions about Markeplace

What goes in the Marketplace newsletter?

The Marketplace newsletter is a way for parents to buy, sell, trade, or give away items directly to/from other parents on the list.
Here are the categories in the Marketplace newsletter:

Marketplace Policy

  1. Personal Items Only - No Business Transactions
    The items that are sold in the Marketplace newsletter must be items that you acquired for your personal use and don't need anymore, not items you are selling as a way to make money. Therefore, subscribers are limited to one posting per newsletter, and a maximum of 3 postings, per BPN's policy on Repeated postings and multiple postings
    It is a violation of BPN's policies to acquire items on BPN in order to sell them elsewhere, or to run a business on BPN, such as acquiring items in order to sell them on BPN. Marketplace postings should conform to the policy on advertising and commercial use. When we discover that someone is posting items for a business, or buying items for resale, we unsubscribe the address.

  2. Prohibited items
    In general, we follow eBay's policies for items that can't be sold, traded, given away, or requested. This includes: (1) Prescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs, homemade remedies, and the like, even if you are giving them away, and (2) Requests for or offers to donate embryos, sperm, eggs, babies to adopt, or surrogacy situations.

  3. The "Housing" Section
    This section is for families who are looking for or offering housing, including rentals, sublets, shared housing, temporary housing, house and pet sitting, vacation rentals, timeshares, etc. BPN does NOT accept postings from businesses, agencies, or individuals who provide housing services, such as rental agencies, petsitters, and housesitters.

  4. Privacy Policy
    BPN's privacy policy applies to the Marketplace newsletter, just the same as for all the other newsletters. This means that members may not send unwanted email to someone who posts to Marketplace, such as complaints about a posting, or anything that could be construed as unsolicited advertising for a business.

  5. BPN's Disclaimer
    We ask people to please keep in mind that BPN has no control over the transactions that arise from Marketplace postings between members. We have no way to guarantee that prices posted in the Marketplace are fair, or that the condition of items for sale is accurately reported. We cannot regulate the negotiations that take place between buyer and seller, or the etiquette that is practiced on either side. While we offer the guidelines below, we must give this warning: Let the buyer beware!

Guidelines for Buying and Selling

If you are buying

If you are selling

Tips from subscribers:

Dec 2003

In response to the Marketplace Message from Members about callers not showing up, I too was frustrated with people who called but never showed up. Even though I have only sold a few items, I finally gave up on the idea that the 1st opportunity for buying should be offered to the 1st caller (or the 2nd caller when the 1st didn't show up, and so on.) Instead, I now offer everyone the same opportunity and hopefully the seriously interested one(s) will try and show up ASAP.

Multiple offers: first-come first served?

First-come first-served is not always the fairest way to choose a buyer when you have multiple offers for an item you're selling. Keep in mind that many parents don't read incoming email immediately, and some subscribers may receive their Marketplace several hours after others because of delivery delays at their email service. We suggest that you hold off making a decision about whom to sell to for half a day. Then think about what criteria you want to use in choosing a buyer.

Some sellers are looking for a student family or low-income family or non-profit organization when they have something to give away or sell at a good price. Some sellers choose a buyer because their email offer was friendly-sounding or humorous. Some people are looking for someone who can pick up the item immediately. Others choose someone they know, someone who works where they work, or a family that lives nearby. Often sellers will skip over emails that ask for more information if they've received offers to buy the item outright. We think all of these methods are reasonable, and it also fine to use first-come first-served, or just pick someone randomly. We leave this up to the seller.

Another option suggested by a subscriber is to send email to everyone who expressed interest in your item, telling them when they can come by, and that you will sell your item to the first person who shows up and buys it. This takes care of the problem of people who make an appointment to look at your item, and then fail to show.


How often is the Marketplace mailed?

Please see Marketplace posting form for info about when the Marketplace newsletter is mailed.

Does everyone get the Marketplace at the same time?

Marketplace is mailed to everyone on the BPN list at the same time. However, we have no control over when your email service delivers your mail. Some email providers have a history of holding up delivery of BPN newsletters for as long as 24-48 hours. Sometimes, a BPN newsletter is blocked entirely and not delivered, because of spam policies at the email provider. See Delivery Problems for email services that do this. We have no control over this, sorry!

Can you ask sellers not to use "first-come first-served" in fairness to the people at the end of the list?

See the guidelines about Multiple Offers above. Here's a tip: don't assume that an item is gone just because you are reading the Marketplace a day or two after it was mailed. Sellers often do not make an agreement about selling right away. It also happens that agreements fall through and sellers are looking for another buyer. We know someone who recently obtained a free play structure two days after the Marketplace was mailed, because the original buyer had changed her mind.

How can I include a photo of the item I'm selling?

We don't accept attachments for newsletter postings. However, you can put your photo on a website, and provide the URL in your posting. Check the newsletter for examples of this. Or, you can offer to email a photo to interested people.

Selling or giving away old carseats

Please be aware that that you should not recycle, give away or sell a carseat that 1) has been damaged, or 2) is past its expiration date. If you are posting a car seat to the Marketplace, please include the expiration date in your post. Expiration dates vary among manufacturers, but you can usually find the information in the user manual online. The expiration has to do with the integrity of aging plastic parts, not how well you care for or how heavily you use the seat. More info here.

Is it legal to sell/give away used software?

In general it is OK to sell software that you bought orginally for your own personal use. Under the copyright laws, the owner of a particular copy of a copyrighted work (a book, a video, a piece of software) is generally entitled to resell the particular copy they own. However, some items are restricted by licensing agreements and are not legal to sell. Therefore they can't be offered on the Marketplace. We follow ebay's policy (

The following items cannot be sold:

Licensing agreements vary; check your license to make sure.

Why do you allow pets to be given away for free?

Every so often we get a letter like this:
"You should not allow people to list "free" cats. Without extremely thorough screening the animal is potentially exposed to being used as pitbull bait, sold to a research laboratory, or worse. Please, is there some way these free animal announcements can be stopped? I do not consider it an appropriate use of the newsletter. "

Many families have or want pets, and it is useful and appropriate for the BPN to provide families with a way to find new homes for a pet that isn't working out, or to obtain a pet from another family.

The BPN is a private, subscribers-only email newsletter. It is not the same as publicly available websites like craigslist. The implication in the letter above is that one of the parents who subscribes to the BPN might be reading the Marketplace newsletter in order to get free cats to use as pitbull bait or sell to a lab. That level of distrust of fellow parents on the list indicates a basic misunderstanding of how the BPN works. The success of the BPN depends on us trusting each other with sensitive information about our children and families. If we don't even trust each other to not harm animals, then how can we support each other in parenting? We make the assumption that the parents who read the Marketplace can be trusted with free pet ads, and we encourage and support these kinds of postings.

Please take note: a couple of times in the past, people who object to free pet ads have contacted the people who posted them to voice their objection. This is strictly prohibited under the BPN Privacy Policies. We take the privacy rule very seriously and, in order to protect others on the list, will unsubscribe members who are unable to follow the privacy rules.

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