Nobody Wants Your Used TV

The typical Craigslist TV ad reads like this:

“55 inch Samsung HD TV — $1000 . . . We bought this TV in August 2011 at the beginning of the school year for $1500.”

The seller thinks, “I bought it for $1500, I’m being very fair discounting it 33% for the next owner.” Unfortunately, the seller does not realize that during the 9 months they’ve been using the TV, it no longer costs $1500 new. Most likely you can buy that TV new today for $1000 or less.

People appear to be anchored to the price they originally paid for the television, not the current market price. This leaves them blind to the fact that the price of a new TV is always dropping precipitously.

— Rohin Dhar at Priceonomics explored why used TVs on Craigslist are so expensive and also why nobody buys them. He found that most listed TVs have only been discounted 14% off the new price (used phones are usually discounted at least 30%) — and that many used sets are listed at prices higher than their current new price.

I bought a TV for $800 in 2006 (dumb). The model is still available on Amazon: $490 new or $250 used, both of which seem way too high to pay for a six-year-old TV called PROTRON. I based my selling price on neither, and went with the easiest option of just giving the thing away.

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