I use CL exclusively. Maybe not so effective if you're not in a major urban area, or if you're in a hurry. I've never had a no-show (but plenty of email looky-loos and a few 'can you send the lens to Nigeria' obvious scams).
You have been lucky. I once had a "buyer" on CL who sounded like a normal human being on the phone who lived far and wanted to meet at a Starbuck's half-way, with cash price already agreed upon. It was a half-hour drive there, then another 45 minutes wasted waiting, with another half hour drive back. No answer on phones, via CL, etc.
There have been multiple jokers of various ilk on CL I've run into over the years, and yeah, you probably can get more money than via ebay, but one can waste quite a bit of time in between.