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Disillusioned with Freegle/Freecycle

(28 Posts)
FlicketyB Thu 04-Dec-14 07:24:33

We joined our local Freecyle, later Freegle group about 5 years ago. We are mainly givers rather than takers and to begin with everything we advertised were taken by people who clearly wanted our goods for their own use.

But over the last couple of years we have found that more and more our offerings are clearly being asked for by people who intend to trade them and make money. DH offered a violin that he had since childhood and found it as one of the lots for sale at our local village hall auction. The person who took it, said it was for a child who wanted to learn the violin at school, but didn't have an instrument.

This weekend I offered an electric fan heater. Within minutes someone had responded, I waited a day and contacted them. They wanted me to leave the heater on the doorstep in a bag, even though I said I would be in. Instead I went into the front garden to rake the leaves around the time he was due to turn up. I feel, if you are getting something for free you should interact with the donor and say thank you. Needless to say the person concerned either saw me and drove on or didn't bother to collect at all.

I offered it then to somebody else who had expressed an interest, they to said 'yes, please'. I sent them collection details and I haven't heard from them since.

This type of behaviour seems to be the norm for Freecycle/Freegle now. I have decided not to use it anymore for anything that could possibly be sold or traded, even if it means putting it in the recycling bins at the tip.

Liz46 Thu 04-Dec-14 07:35:38

Yes, we used to have a really friendly, busy local group and I got to know many of the regulars one of whom came to collect something bearing a bottle of wine for me. Now we have to operate through facebook and it has tailed off and is nowhere near as good. We used to have an internet cafe where we could chat and this was stopped when we changed to facebook.

shysal Thu 04-Dec-14 08:49:06

I too have difficulties with Freegle. I sometimes offer an item, receive dozens of replies, and I try to contact them in order of response. However I rarely receive a reply back. Why ask for a free item then make no effort to receive it? Nowadays I choose any reply that includes a mobile number so that I can text them to arrange collection, which usually works well. I also take the trouble to let all responders know when it has gone.
My first donation was a simple CD player, for a child. The mother was willing to take several bus journeys to collect, but I offered to deliver. To show her gratitude she gave me a bunch of daffodils, which touched me. Since then I have always given a small gift (e.g. one gift-wrapped cupcake or chocolate bar) when taking an item.

soontobe Thu 04-Dec-14 09:10:41

I often think that bad behaviour can manage to seep into most things in life, and can ruin good ideas.

Charleygirl Thu 04-Dec-14 10:02:14

I refuse to give to the "gimmee brigade". Never a please or a thank you and I agree if they do bother to turn up one then gets the feeling that the item will be sold.

I remember a woman on Freecycle wanting an item that I was happy to give away. She made arrangements but did not bother to turn up. I could not understand it, because she was the one putting in the "wanted" advert. My local charity now takes in electrical goods as well as clothes etc. so that is where my items now go.

I also found that the person would arrange to come at eg 2pm and appear around 3 hours later, no email or apology. Please and thank you also appear to be archaic words.

Eloethan Thu 04-Dec-14 10:16:15

It's a great shame if something which was set up to help people is being used by those out to make a quick profit. I wonder how common this is.

Brummiegran Thu 04-Dec-14 10:30:09

I think you will find that freecycle was set up to help the environment, not people. Even dealers are serving the main purpose of avoiding adding to landfill. That said it is best to be clear that items are not for resale. This won't stop the resellers but it means they can be banned if caught at it. You can also check their history before donating. Someone who is always ' wanting' and never 'giving' is likely to be using for profit, especially if they ask for saleable items or particular brNds/ colours. You don't have to give to the first or the biggest sob story. Best to give to most local, more likely to turn up and more environmentally friendly too.
Some people are just plain weird, my sister sold stuff on eBay and people paid and didn't collect! (Confused)

Handynan27 Thu 04-Dec-14 23:17:22

I've had mixed experiences with Freecycle. I get fed up when people email to say they want something I've offered and then don't follow it up - if it's not what you want, tell me and I'll offer it to someone else!

On the positive side, I've picked up some useful items for the garden and I offered a nearly new mattress which was taken by a young couple with two small children (and not much money) who sent me a lovely thank you note.

anniezzz09 Fri 05-Dec-14 10:23:46

I had exactly your experience FlickertyB. When we moved house we had quite a few items which simply didn't have any space so I used Freecycle and was a bit taken aback at the piranha like response. I've used it at other times and again had the same response of someone instantly saying they want something and then not turning up. I suspect there are people who just say yes in order to get in first (as with sales in the shops) and then having reserved your item, they change their mind at their leisure.
I've also heard a few tales of people collecting things and then selling them on Ebay or similar so I'm afraid I've stopped using Freecycle now and I use charity shops instead.

rosequartz Fri 05-Dec-14 11:01:14

Our Freecycle group was very good but we have given up looking or offering at the moment. When it first started DH offered some electronic equipment and the people who wanted it seemed genuine and brought me a lovely pot plant as a thank you.

When we offered some furniture a couple came in a large van and I was told that they have a second hand furniture shop in a large town not far away.

vampirequeen Fri 05-Dec-14 17:37:46

If you suspect someone is selling or trading stuff off Freegle you need to report them.

I would have very little furniture if it wasn't for the generosity of fellow Freeglers. My sofas and dining table came from there. As did the dehumidifier and the children's beds.

tiggypiro Fri 05-Dec-14 18:12:06

I too am fed up with everything mentioned in previous posts. I only use it now to get rid of things which would be difficult for me to take somewhere else ie tip or charity shop.
On a positive note the people who use it as it should be used are generally lovely appreciative people.

rosequartz Fri 05-Dec-14 18:15:25

Which is how it should work, vq

FlicketyB Fri 05-Dec-14 19:35:43

At least one of the really genuine Freeglers, has stopped and had a cup of coffee. but it is just sometime since I saw that kind. Seeing DH's violin at the auction sale, and the guy last weekend, wanting the goods but not wanting to make any contact with me were the last straw.

vampirequeen Fri 05-Dec-14 21:04:26

I can understand why you feel disillusioned but people like me rely on people like you flowers

janerowena Fri 05-Dec-14 21:48:14

I still do it, although I have had quite a few people not turn up lately. Even a children's home said they didn't want three bikes because they needed new tyres!

We get rid of and rarely take in items. I have caught out a couple of people in lies, they tell dreadful sob stories to seem the most deserving and then turn up in amazing cars. However the vast majority of people have been really nice, and it has been a pleasure to meet them. I have no qualms about leaving items on my front lawn though, sometimes I would rather be out the back gardening and my garden is extremely long. It means that none of us have to stick to a set time.

I have on occasion bombarded people who haven't replied to my queries as to why they hadn't turned up, with sad in every way emails, guessing wildly as to why they haven't replied. I have offered to pay ransoms for their release, wondered if they are stuck on the M25 and can't find a way off (to people coming from 5 miles away) and presumed that they have a terminal illness. (felt a bit guilty about the last one!)

The excuses a few came back with were extraordinary, but I know that usually they simply found what they were looking for elsewhere and were done with me.

Brummiegran Sat 06-Dec-14 17:00:52

That is really funny smile. I'll try that next time!

janerowena Sat 06-Dec-14 18:59:28

When I am annoyed it does tend to come out as a rather twisted sense of humour.

chocolatepudding Sat 06-Dec-14 19:50:03

As a Freecycle moderator I have heard so may "no show" cases that I can only suggest you report to the moderators of the site. Moderators keep notes of persistent offenders and will remove members who do not follow the rules.
I have offered many items on Freecycle and I am appalled at the lack of manners shown. I will not consider anyone for an item if the word please is not in the email.
I have had many members turn up at the right time and are grateful for an item. I met a lady who works for the local women's refuge who was very grateful for all the household items I gave.
Some you win, some you lose!

rosequartz Sat 06-Dec-14 20:15:42

I kept looking for a child's little bike for DGD to use at our house but have never seen one. (DH would service it and make sure it was safe!)

I knew someone who sold a child's bike at a car boot first thing in the morning, then she realised that the man who bought it had put it with his own things for sale at quite a bit more than he paid for it!

janerowena Sun 07-Dec-14 18:24:57

I did get a little bike three years ago rosequartz. I got it in advance for him to grow into, which he did last summer. I haven't seen another one since, I would like one for his little sister. However we went to our local recycling centre a few months ago and they had loads of bikes there, for only £5 each. If I hadn't managed to find homes for our old bikes eventually, they would have gone there.

I can't believe people were turning up and rejecting bikes that cost hundreds, were in good condition and just had split or cracked tyres. I had put it in the advert but they still turned up anyway, then changed their minds. People are weird.

rosequartz Sun 07-Dec-14 18:29:02

I never thought of going to the recycling centre, not sure if ours sells stuff. I will find out, thank you.

I could double up my Tesco vouchers and get a new one with them. However, have already bought the Christmas presents, but I could always keep it at this house for when DGD comes.

janerowena Sun 07-Dec-14 18:31:11

That's what we do.

rosequartz Sun 07-Dec-14 18:37:04

It would be something else to do outside when she comes to us each week.

janerowena Sun 07-Dec-14 18:58:00

We built a teepee. I had loads of hazel branches, DBH sharpened them and drove them into the lawn and I covered it with lengths of that coated tablecloth stuff, with another bit on the ground. My old cushions go in there. They love it. Sometimes I use an old tent lining instead.