Katy has sold clothing on Mercari and Poshmark for years and does most of her thrift shopping online using eBay, Poshmark, and Mercari.
What do buyers need to know about shopping on Mercari?
My experience with buying from Mercari in 2018 is generally positive. I would recommend it to anyone looking for good deals on used clothing who is willing to put in a bit of work. I frequent Poshmark and Mercari both as a seller and a buyer. I use both platforms for different aspects of used clothing shopping.
Though my review is generally positive, there are both pros and cons to shopping with Mercari:
- Many shipping options
- Great deals
- Email alerts for search items
- Directly, privately contact seller
- Buyer protection and easy returns
- Allows very used items
- Lower end items aren't worth the shipping price
- Not all sellers communicate
- Search filters are limited
The Pros of Mercari
Let's go in depth with all the good things about using Mercari for shopping.
The seller sets the shipping price on Mercari items. Why did I list this as a pro? Unlike platforms like Poshmark with a flat shipping rate, shipping on Mercari can be more affordable for cheaper items. The flexibility a seller has in setting shipping prices is passed on to the buyer. Light but cheaper items like tops or small dresses can ship for a reasonable price. Or the seller can absorb the cost in the listing price and give you free shipping.
This is important for buyers looking for single, light items. It's hard to get a good deal on those from Poshmark after their $6.49 shipping
Items on Mercari are heavily discounted compared to retail. They claim up to 70% off, which is accurate in many cases. Read the description and review photos to understand the condition of the item.
A handy tool in Mercari is email alerts. eBay offers this, too. Set up a specific search with filters, and then set it to email you with new items. There's a blue "Save Search" button that pops up on desktop and mobile for every search. This will notify you via email when new items meet that criteria. Right now, I'm looking for a new pair of black moto boots. I picked out a few styles from brands I like. So I set up an email alert with the style as the search term and my size, the brand, and the color black selected in filters. Now I only get emails from Mercari for the items I want.
Contacting the Seller
You can contact a seller on Mercari if you need more information on a listing before buying. This is useful for items like dresses and pants where the fit is important. You can ask for measurements of the item to see if it matches similar items from your closet that fit.
Mercari doesn't release your payment to the seller until you receive and approve the item. Poshmark operates the same way. Buyers carry less of the risk this way.
The Cons of Mercari
There are some drawbacks to shopping on Mercari. Here's a summary:
Allows Very Used Items
Mercari does allow sellers to list well-worn items. You can filter these out of search results by using the Condition filter.
There are more off-brand and heavily used items than Poshmark. But the listing price usually reflects the condition. So this can be a great marketplace for bargain shoppers.
Many sellers list items and abandon them until they sell. Understandably, it's a lot of work to reply to all buyers' questions. So sometimes even when you submit a question, you don't get a response. That's annoyed me when I would have bought an item with a little more information.
Limited Search Filters
The search filters on Mercari are not very specific for clothing. There are larger categories like sandals or dresses, but it's hard to specify the style.
Also, there are only standard sizing filters. No petite, plus, or juniors options. "Medium" is lumped in with "8–10". These filters are better on Poshmark or eBay.
The Mercari app is pretty easy to use. Search results are displayed as thumbnails with prices. You can "Like" items and get notified when prices drop. This adds the item to a list of "Likes" you can reference later.
It can be difficult to navigate and tedious to start new searches. When I first started using it, it took me awhile to understand why I couldn't filter by size. The clothing category (like Tops or Shoes) has to be selected before you can select a size.
My experience with Mercari’s customer service was much more pleasant than similar platforms. Both Poshmark and eBay are so difficult to get in touch with! But Mercari has their phone number listed right on the site. Customer service reps quickly resolve any problems, for both buyers and sellers.
Is Mercari Safe for Buyers?
Mercari ensures that your personal and payment information is secure. Sellers will only receive your shipping address and no payment information.
As with any type of online shopping, it's easy to buy something and be disappointed with what you receive. It's up to you as the buyer to understand the item and the quality of the seller before making a purchase. Mercari will not issue you a refund as long as the item is as described.
Mercari vs. Poshmark or eBay for Used Clothes
You have other options when buying used clothes online.
- Poshmark specializes in new and used clothing, especially for women. Learn about buying on Poshmark.
- eBay has more categories outside of clothes, so that can be distracting. But it's also a much larger market with a variety of sellers.
When I have a specific item in mind, I'll search all three websites. I'm willing to use any of them if they have the best deal on what I'm looking for.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2018 Katy Medium
BJB LEE on July 15, 2020:
Mercari is NOT what it appears to be. It is basically a forum where any random person can sell anything. Unsuspecting customers (such as myself) are under the impression that Customer service will assist you if there is an issue, but this is not the case. Each individual seller can make slightly different rule, especially regarding refund. In my case, I accidentally misread a description and ordered what I thought was an apple watch, and upon reviewing the order realized that it was an apple watch BAND! I contacted the seller to cancel it less than 1 hour after placing the order, and the only answer I received, was “too bad” you should read better, that is not my policy to refund. Take it with customer service. Customer service did not do anything, except telling me to resale the item!!! Next, if you try to write a review BEFORE you receive the item (to “complain” about customer service by the seller), you then FORFAIT your right to a refund!!! I have bought from Etsy, Ebay, Amazon and many other online retailers… and THIS IS BY FAR THE WORST SERVICE I EVER GOT. The only time the seller reached out unsollicited, was to complain about my review !!! Keep your money or spend it elsewhere, this is a “gig economy” type business that is perfect (IN MY OPINION)for questionable individuals to run borderline scams. STAY AWAY
Benjamin Aumenta on May 17, 2020:
Just go to The California.(San Francisco) Better Business Bureau and after reading the reviews and you go ahead and do business with this site you will deserve all the bad things that will happen to you.
I was swindled and scammed. Customer Service did nothing but give me a run around for weeks and weeks.
Counterfeit items, misrepresented items. etc., etc...........
It seems that all of the rotten sellers that were thrown off of Ebay and other like sites are scamming people on this site.
STAY AWAY! NOT WORTH THE AGGRAVATION THAT YOU WILL ENCOUNTER!
Luella Krah;;l on March 06, 2020:
Bad experience with Mercari. Ordered a product, order was confirmed and then got a requiest to cancel it. Very disappointed in the process.
Will not return! A Scam.
Cris2487 on October 27, 2019:
Just purchased boots that were listed as women’s and turns out they’re men’s.I opened a return for item not as described and was immediately denied the return.I was told by the rep the listing was accurate,how are men’s boots sold as women’s boots an accurate description?I will never buy from Mercari again absolutely no buyer protection.
Neisha on July 23, 2019:
Scammed 4times in 1 week with iwatches. Was charged three times. The sellers were unresponsive after purchase and then refunded my money back days later. The 4th time purchased a watch from seller AnnaLWebb it shows no scratches in the picture or description. The watch came to me severely scratched up on the apple watch face and Rebecca is supposed to be the support crew. Did nothing! My bank said they will deal with each name of deceitful people and horrible customer service.from seller AnnaLWebb (Anna L. Webb) from Oklahoma City and Danielkok from Florida, Lauren Zapetalfit from Tennesse, bluefacefrank and Rebecca from customer support.
email@example.com on July 11, 2019:
have bought some nice items on Mercari, But no more clothing, was ripped off by a seller, seller sent me a pair of nike joggers with PATCH sewn into seat of pants, should of been easy to work with customer service, pic i sent was as clear as a pic can be, but they wanted more and more photos, to were I just couldnt take anymore abuse. All i could do was give seller poor score, Mercari does not protect buyers!
firstname.lastname@example.org on June 18, 2019:
I tried to purchase Maclaren Twin stroller on Mercari from user "wally27". I negotiated the price and the seller confirmed the purchase. The seller shipped my order but canceled it within one day because "barcode does not scan". The seller also blocked my account so I cannot buy or message him. But the stroller was still available for purchase. So I used my husband account to try to buy it, this time for full price. The seller canceled the second order within few minutes and blocked my other account too. I hope the seller will change his mind and sell me the item otherwise I am going to request the Mercari to cancel "wally27" account due to not complying to web site policy. Actually, I am already talking to Mercari to cancel the "wally27" account and any other accounts associated with this person*home address.
Michael on March 28, 2019:
Theives! Stay away! Ripoff! Scumbucket customer service!