About Marketplace

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About Marketplace

How do I post to the Marketplace?

You must be a subscriber on this website to post to Marketplace. Login to your account, and click "Post a Message."  See How to Post a Message if you need help.  Your post will be reviewed by a moderator within 7 days, and once approved, your post will be published on our website here for 2 weeks. The weekly Marketplace newsletter, mailed on Friday, contains new posts from the past week.

If you want to find out what the status of your post is, you can view a list of all your postings on your account page.  See How to Use & Edit your Account for details. Here you can also unpublish your post when you sell the item or if you need to edit the post.

What types of posts are accepted?

The Marketplace 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:

  • Donations for Non-Profits: requests from schools, hospitals, shelters, womens' and childrens' programs, and donation offers from parents
  • Barter/Trade: goods & services offered in exchange for other goods & services
  • Free: giving away kids' and household items, pets, etc.
  • Garage Sales: at a parent's home or at a community subscriber's venue such as a school, church, or nonprofit organization 
  • 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

See also: Prohibited Items on BPN

What types of postings are NOT accepted? 

  • Services are not accepted in Marketplace.  This includes pet sitting, house sitting, housekeeping, and gardening.  Only items for sale can be offered. 
  • Businesses may not sell in Marketplace. The items that are sold in the Marketplace must be items that you acquired for your personal use and don't need anymore. This includes housing rental business (more info below).
  • There are some items such as prescription drugs that BPN doesn't accept - see Prohibited Items on BPN
  • It is a violation of BPN's policies to acquire free items on BPN in order to sell them elsewhere.

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 them.

Multiple Listings and Repeated Postings 

  • There is a maximum of 3 active postings at a time from the same subscriber, per BPN's policy on Repeated postings.  
  • If you have more than 3 items for sale, unpublish a post when you sell the item and you can then post a new one, or group multiple items into one post, or consider using craigslist or freecycle if you have a lot to sell.  
  • Marketplace displays all approved postings from the past 2 weeks, listed in chronological order with newest posts at the top. Please do not post repeatedly in order to move your post closer to the top of the list.
  • Please do not post the same item multiple times. This gives the impression you are running a business on BPN, which is not allowed in Marketplace. If you have not been able to sell your item after posting it 3 times, please try a different venue such as craigslist. 
  • If you need to make corrections to your post, unpublish it and then create a new one. 
  • When you sell your item, please unpublish your post. 

The "Housing" Section 

This section is for parents who are looking for or offering local housing such as sublets, shared housing, temporary housing, house-sits, and housing exchanges.

NOT accepted in the Housing section:
  • Vacation homes, condos, or timeshares
  • Housing that is not in the SF Bay Area (exception: out-of-town exchanges with Bay Area homes)
  • Posts from agencies, realtors, or other businesses, including individuals who own rental properties
  • Offers of housing-related services such as house-sitting or pet-sitting

Rental scams: A few times in the past, a scammer has pretended to be a local parent in order to subscribe to BPN and then post about a fake rental. (See our page about this: "Rental Scams.") We usually can spot these since all new subscriptions are reviewed by a BPN moderator, and all posts are reviewed too. But please contact us if you notice a suspicious housing post in the Marketplace.

Privacy Policy 

BPN's privacy policy applies to the Marketplace, just the same as for all other content on BPN. 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!

Guidelines for Buying and Selling

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. 

  • 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.

  • Once you sell your item, "unpublish" it on your account page.

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 or giving away. Keep in mind that many parents don't check for new postings continuously. We suggest that you hold off making a decision about whom to sell to for a day or two. 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 additional information about the item 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 can I include a photo of the item I'm selling?

We don't accept images or other attachments. Allowing image uploads can introduce new security risks, and also has the potential to dramatically increase our storage and backup costs. However, you can put your photo on a website, and provide a link in your posting. Check other postings 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 (http://pages.ebay.com/help/policies/hub.html).

The following items cannot be sold:

  • 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.

Licensing agreements vary; check your license to make sure.

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

Many families have pets or want a pet, 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.

However, from time to time 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 BPN. "

BPN makes the reasonable assumption that the subscribers who read the Marketplace can be trusted with free pet ads, and we encourage and support postings about pets. The BPN Marketplace is accessible only to BPN subscribers, unlike publicly available websites such as craigslist. The implication in the letter above is that one of the parents who subscribes to BPN might be reading the Marketplace in order to obtain 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 BPN's mission. The success of 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 torture animals, then how can we support each other in parenting? 

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 disapproval. This is strictly prohibited under the BPN Privacy Policies. We take the privacy rule very seriously and, in order to protect other parents on the list, we do unsubscribe members who are unable to follow the privacy rules.