About the Marketplace Newsletter
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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:
- Donations for Non-Profits: requests from schools, hospitals,
shelters, womens' and childrens' programs, and the like
- Barter/Trade: goods & services offered in exchange for other goods & services
- Free: giving away kids' and household items, pets, etc.
- Garage Sales: individuals as well as schools and other organizations
- Housing: housing, housesitters,
house shares, rentals, etc. (more info below)
- For Sale: items you acquired for your personal use that you no longer need
- Wanted: seeking specific items, free or not
- 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.
- Prohibited items
In general, we follow
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.
- 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.
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.
- 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!
If you are buying
- If you make an arrangement with the seller to come look at or purchase their item,
stick to your agreement. If something comes up,
please phone or email to say you aren't coming. The seller probably has
other interested buyers.
- Don't expect to get a reply to your inquiry to a seller. If you don't hear
back, it's probably because the item is already gone. Sellers can receive
dozens of responses and will not have the time to reply to everyone.
- Don't count on being able to ask lots of questions,
or look at it first, or think about it for a few days.
If it's a really good deal, there will be dozens of other
parents who are also interested, and many of them will tell the seller they will
take the item sight unseen.
If you are selling
- Be specific - include the size, color, brand, etc. so
that potential buyers don't need to ask you for details before deciding
whether they want your item.
- Be prepared for hundreds of emails or phone calls if you are offering
something desirable for free or at a great price. A free climbing
structure posted a few years ago had 237 responses.
- Be honest with buyers about your intentions.
Don't tell people you'll hold something for them if what you really
want to do is to sell to the first buyer who shows up.
- Don't post if you are not sure you really want to sell it at the
price you gave in the post. It isn't
fair to buyers to change your mind about the price once you have posted it.
Tips from subscribers:
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.
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!
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.
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
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
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.
- Bundled software (programs that came installed on your computer) cannot
be sold separately but it is OK to sell the computer with the software on it.
- Academic versions of software can't be sold unless you are still
a student/faculty/staff because academic versions were usually obtained for a much
lower price that non-academic versions based on their use in an academic setting.
- Software you didn't buy usually can't be sold. Examples include
copies & backups, unauthorized versions,
downloaded copies, promotional and beta versions.
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
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.
this page was last updated: Oct 23, 2013
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