As if buying a used car isn’t hard enough, the misleading dealership listings that clutter up selling platforms like Facebook Marketplace and OfferUp don’t make things any easier. In an update first spotted by a user on Reddit, Meta announced that it’s limiting dealerships’ ability to list cars on Marketplace, but this likely doesn’t mean those pesky listings will disappear for good (via Jalopnik).
If you’ve ever shopped for a used car online, you probably know the kinds of dealership listings I’m talking about. They often show only a car’s required down payment, or — even more annoyingly — list vehicles at $1 in an attempt to grab your attention.
But starting January 30th, 2023, dealerships will run into a roadblock when trying to post a used car for sale on Marketplace: they’ll no longer be able to list cars from their business page. This is supposed to be Facebook’s way of nudging dealerships towards buying Marketplace ads, but what this will probably do is create an even larger influx of dealers that post free listings from a personal Facebook profile. This could make it even harder to distinguish legit listings posted by someone nearby, versus the dealer-backed listings that are often too good to be true.
On top of that, Meta’s business support page doesn’t explicitly discourage the use of personal profiles for dealerships, either. It describes a list of “other ways” dealerships can reach buyers without posting Marketplace listings from their business page, and one of these solutions is to buy “create Marketplace listings for vehicles, home sales and home rentals from your personal profile.”
There are already tons of dealerships who guise themselves as a real (or fake) individual when posting a listing on Marketplace. And although these listings are supposed to have a “dealership” label below the listing’s photo, this tag is often missing. When I conducted a search for cars near me, I came across several scammy-looking car dealership listings posted by personal accounts, with “Dealerships” tags sprinkled few and far between. The Verge reached out to Facebook to see if it has any plans to address the misleading listings posted by individual accounts, but didn’t immediately hear back.
Meta’s new Marketplace rule applies to sellers in several countries, including the US, Canada, France, UK, Mexico, Brazil, Indonesia, Germany, and Australia. The company’s also extending the rule to sellers who post real estate and rental listings, but only in the US.