Posting to Marketplace

General Guidelines

Marketplace Policies

Posts that 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 nonprofits: Requests from schools, hospitals, shelters, womens' and childrens' programs, and donation offers from parents.
  • Barter/trade: Goods & services a parent is offering in exchange for other goods & services.
  • Free: Parents giving away kids' stuff and household items, pets, etc.
  • Garage sales, rummage sales, and swap meets that take place at a parent's home or at a nonprofit venue such as a school, church, or similar organization. Note BPN doesn't accept posts about garage sales with an admission fee.
  • Housing: Seeking or offering housing, house shares, rentals, etc. (See restrictions below)
  • For Sale: Items you acquired for your personal use that you no longer need
  • Wanted: Seeking specific items, free or not

Posts that are NOT accepted 

  • Services are not accepted in Marketplace.  This includes pet sitting, house sitting, housekeeping, and gardening.  
  • Businesses may not offer items in Marketplace, including informal resale businesses (more info), and housing placement/rentals (see below). 
  • Prohibited Items on BPN such as prescription or recreational drugs

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.

Guidelines for 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 text or email to say you aren't coming. The seller may have 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.

  • If it's a really good deal, don't count on being able to ask lots of questions, or look at it first, or think about it for a few days.  There may be dozens of other parents who are also interested.

Guidelines for 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.

  • Include a photo.

  • 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 other 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.Some subscribers suggest sending 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.

Excessive Posting 

Marketplace is intended for items that you acquired for your personal use and don't need any more. It is a misuse of BPN to sell items that you acquired for the purpose of reselling them. 

  • There is a maximum of 3 active posts at a time from the same subscriber, per BPN's policy on Repeated postings.  If you have more than 3 items for sale, unpublish one of your posts when you sell the item and then post a new one, or group multiple items into one post, or consider using craigslist or similar if you have a lot to sell.  

  • The same item can be posted no more than 3 times. If you have not been able to sell your item after posting it twice, lower the price, or try a different venue. 

  • There is a maximum of 20 items for sale per year. If you are selling more items than that, BPN considers you to be a resale business. We don't accept posts from businesses in the Marketplace listing.

Using Marketplace for resale

It is a violation of BPN's policies to acquire free or below-cost items on BPN in order to re-sell them.  Parents may not use Marketplace to generate income by posting items acquired solely for the purpose of selling them. BPN considers this to be a resale business, and businesses may not post to Marketplace. The items that are posted on Marketplace must be items that you acquired for your personal use and don't need any more.

If you are frequently posting items for sale, BPN will consider you to be a business. See Excessive Posting above. 

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 above, we add this warning: Let the buyer beware!

Car seats

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 cared for it, or how long you used the seat. More info here.

Fundraisers & Donations

Accepted in Marketplace:

  1. Garage sales and rummage sales hosted by a nonprofit organization such as a public school or a church. 
  2. Requests from a nonprofit for donated items.

Not accepted in Marketplace:

  • Book sales, clothing sales, trunk shows or any other type of shopping experience.
  • School and club sales such as candy, cookies, gift wrap, etc.
  • Fundraising events of any kind (some types are accepted for the Announcements newsletter, however (more info).

The "Housing" Section 

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

NOT accepted in the Housing section:

  • Housing that is not in the SF Bay Area (exception: out-of-town house exchanges with Bay Area families)
  • Posts from agencies, realtors, or individuals that manage rental properties for income
  • 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.") Please contact us if you notice a suspicious housing post in the Marketplace.


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. "

The Marketplace is accessible only to subscribers, and BPN makes the reasonable assumption that the subscribers who read the Marketplace can be trusted with free pet ads. Therefore we encourage and support postings about family pets.

Please take note: a couple of times in the past, people who object to free pet ads have contacted the original poster to express disapproval. This is 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.

Used software

In general it is OK to sell software that you bought originally for your own personal use. Under the copyright laws, the owner of a particular copy of a copyrighted work (book, video, 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:

  • 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.