Last Updated: September 1, 2022
Interested in buying or selling on Mercari but afraid of getting scammed?
You’ve come to the right place!
In this article, you’ll learn EXACTLY whether it is a legit platform or a scam and the things you need to be AWARE of before buying or selling anything there.
Let’s jump right in.
Is Mercari Legit?
Mercari itself is a legit e-commerce marketplace to buy and sell products. However, there is no guarantee that the people buying and selling on it are also legitimate which means you must verify the buyer or seller before dealing.
Although it’s a legit platform, there are definitely possibilities of getting scammed by sellers and buyers on Mercari.
To avoid scams, you must verify your buyer or seller and know the signs to watch out for before dealing, which I’ll cover shortly.
But first, let me clarify one question just in case you’re asking:
What are the proofs that Mercari is a legit platform?
First and foremost, Mercari has been in business since 2013 and if it weren’t a legit platform, it probably wouldn’t be around today.
Secondly, they are not running their business anonymously.
Furthermore, Mercari has over 20 million monthly active users.
On top of all that, their marketplace contains over 2 billion listings, with 350K+ listings added daily by sellers.
So to conclude the question, is Mercari legit? I would say:
An online marketplace that has been around for over nine years, not operating its business anonymously, used by millions of people, downloaded over 100 million times, and has positive ratings on its mobile app is certainly a legitimate platform.
Despite Mercari being a legitimate platform, this doesn’t mean there are not any drawbacks and you’re completely safe to buy or sell there.
Then, How Safe Is Mercari For Buying And Selling?
To understand that, you must know that Mercari is not an online shopping website that sells its own goods, but rather an e-commerce marketplace which means it just connects sellers and buyers.
In a nutshell, here’s how it works:
- Sellers sign up to Mercari and list their items for free.
- Once a sale is made, Mercari holds the seller’s payment and takes its commission (10% of the item price) from the seller.
- Now, the seller has 3 days to ship the item to the buyer.
- Once shipped, the seller confirms the shipment.
- Upon receiving an order, the buyer has 3 days to confirm the order to either accept it or request a refund if the item is not as described, damaged, or missing.
- Until then, Mercari holds the seller’s payment but if the buyer fails to confirm the order within 3 days of delivery, Mercari will release the payment to the seller.
If the buyer requests a refund for a valid reason (item not as described, damaged, etc.), Mercari will refund him or her.
On the other hand, if the product is as described in the seller’s listing and the buyer confirms the order then both parties rate each other, and the payment is released to the seller.
Basically, Mercari works as a middle-man between the buyer and seller, providing an environment for both parties to trade safely and securely for a percentage of the fee.
Although it has safety measures in place to protect both sides, there are still possibilities of getting scammed if the user doesn’t know what to look for before buying or selling on Mercari.
And the answer to the question, how safe is Mercari largely depends on how good you are at verifying your seller or buyer when dealing.
Luckily, you don’t need to worry!
I am going to share my top tips with you that will help you prevent getting scammed when buying and selling on Mercari.
Firstly, here are the:
7 Tips For Buyers To Avoid Scams
The first tip for you is to:
1. Never Buy If The Price Seems “Too Good To Be True”
One of the most common methods scammers use to attract buyers is by keeping their item’s prices too low.
At first glance, you might think you’re getting a great deal, but you’re probably looking at a scam. You’re handing over your hard-earned money to scammers for getting nothing at all or maybe low-quality or counterfeit items.
Of course, you’ll find great deals on Mercari but if the price for the item seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Therefore, you should always avoid buying if you see an item on Mercari selling for an extremely low price than the retail price.
Once you found an item selling for reasonable price then you should:
2. Check The Product Photos
The second safety measure you should keep in mind is to check the photos of the product.
Always buy from sellers who uploaded multiple photos of their item from different angles and the images appear to be real.
After that, you should:
3. Carefully Read The Description
Sometimes scammers try to trick buyers with misleading or vague descriptions. Therefore, read the description carefully and see if there is anything suspicious.
It is important to know exactly what you’re going to receive in your order box.
Avoid sellers whose listings lack enough details about their items.
Okay, so you came across an item not selling for an unbelievable price, checked the photos from different angles, read the description carefully and everything looks fine.
Well, now you’ve to:
4. Verify The Seller
To verify a seller, here’s what you should look out for:
- Reviews and sales
- Seller Badges
- Profile verification
The first things you should look out for in the seller’s profile are the reviews and sales.
You should check the reviews on the seller’s profile to see how he or she treated previous customers, since reviews can only be submitted by buyers who made a purchase.
Generally, I recommend buying only from sellers who have at least 50+ reviews and sales, the more the better.
Next, check whether the sellers have earned any of these badges:
- Fast responder – As the name suggests, any seller with this badge means they respond fast to their buyers. The sellers earn this badge when they answer chats from shoppers in an average of 12 hours.
- Quick shipper – A seller with this badge means they ship off items within 24 hours, not including weekends or holidays. The badge is earned based on the tracking scan by the carriers.
- Reliable – The badge can be earned if the seller is completing the shopper’s orders as promised with fewer cancellation rates.
Sellers who meet the criteria are awarded these badges to help buyers recognize how hardworking and reliable a seller is.
Therefore, it is recommend to purchase from sellers who have earned all of the following badges:
Lastly, check whether the seller’s profile is verified and how long he or she has been on Mercari.
It is recommended to buy from sellers with verified profile and has been a member of Mercari for at least a year.
Now that you’ve verified the seller and are ready to purchase your first item from him or her, it is recommended to:
5. Always Checkout with PayPal
Mercari does accept PayPal as a payment method, therefore, I suggest you to pay using PayPal because it provides an extra level of protection for buyers.
PayPal has buyer protection which helps in getting your money back if the payment made through their online payment system ends up being fraudulent. For example, you didn’t receive the item or it is not as described, etc.
Once you paid for the item via PayPal and the seller shipped the item, you must:
6. Ask For A Tracking Number
Always ask for a tracking number from the seller once you paid for the item.
There are times, however, when the seller forgets to update tracking details after confirming shipment, so it is best to message the seller and ask for the tracking number of your order.
In the event that your seller confirms shipment but does not provide a tracking number, please allow 7 days for your order to arrive.
However, if your order hasn’t arrived even after 7 days, you are eligible to cancel your order and get the refund even if the item is sent by the seller.
However, do the following if your order has arrived:
7. Confirm Your Order Within 3 Days
Lastly, you should confirm your order within 3 days and make sure it is the same item as described in the listing and looks like what you’ve ordered.
If you’ve received a fake, counterfeit, or not the same item then you have 3 days from the delivery date to request a return.
Otherwise, your order will be automatically confirmed by Mercari and they will release your payment to the seller.
You won’t be able to request a return or refund after that period.
By following these tips, you are unlikely to be scammed by sellers on Mercari.
Reading them is crucial for sellers as well but first, they should keep in mind these:
3 Tips To Sell Safely & Avoid Scams
First and foremost, the sellers should:
1. Never List Items Prohibited By Mercari
Listing any of the items that are on Mercari’s Prohibited items list can have massive consequences for you.
Whenever a seller lists a prohibited item, it will be against their Terms of Service regardless of whether the seller acted intentionally or not.
And, when Mercari determines that a listing is violating their terms of services, they will give the seller penalties such as cancellation of listings, cancellation of any related transactions, removal of listing privileges, termination, or suspension of an account.
Therefore, you should always avoid selling items that are not allowed by Mercari.
Keeping that in mind, you should also:
2. Ensure Your Product Listings Are Accurate
When listing an item, make sure all details in your listing are accurate such as:
You should always use original photos of the products in natural light so that buyers can see the exact color of the items.
Apart from that, accurately describe your item thoroughly in the description and let the shopper know exactly what they’re purchasing.
- What will be included in their order
- The exact size, colors, prints, measurements, etc.
- Describe if there are any drawbacks to your item.
If you fail to do these even unintentionally, the buyer may open a dispute against you and claim that the received product is not as described.
In such a case, it is unlikely that Mercari will release the payment (paid by the buyer for your item) to you, and there are higher chances that the buyer will be given a full refund since their refund policy clearly states:
If the item is not as described, the buyer is eligible to open a dispute and get a full refund (more details later).
Therefore, make sure that your listing details are completely accurate to avoid such incidents.
Okay, so you listed an item that is not on Mercari’s prohibited items list and ensured your listing details are accurate then you should:
3. Keep These Things In Mind Once You Made A Sale
Got a sale? Here’s what you should keep in mind:
- Package the item with care
- Ship within 3 business days
- Provide a valid tracking number to the buyer
- Confirm your shipment
First and foremost, package the item you’re going to ship with care so it can be delivered to the buyer safely and you can avoid the disputes of damaged items.
After that, you have to ship your order within 3 business days from the purchase date and if you fail to do so then the buyer will be eligible to cancel the order.
However, if you are experiencing a delay for fair reasons, let the buyer know why you need one or two more days to ship the item so that the buyer doesn’t cancel the order right away.
Once you have shipped the item and confirmed the shipment, you must provide a valid tracking number to the buyer within 1-7 days business.
Otherwise, buyer will be eligible to cancel the order even if sent by you.
Providing valid tracking details are also important in case the buyer open an unnecessary dispute against you claiming of not receiving items but you’ve actually shipped the items.
In such situation, Mercari will check the tracking details to make sure the item is delivered to the buyer and will release payment to you instead of forcing you to refund the buyer.
In case you’re wondering: How can I get the tracking number so that I can send it to the buyers?
When listing an item, you’ll have to choose whether you want to ship on your own or let Mercari handle shipping for you.
If you choose to ship on your own then you’ll have to get the tracking details from your courier and shipping service provider and give those tracking details to the buyer.
However, if you choose Mercari prepaid labels then you’ll get the tracking details from them straight to your inbox with tracking on the app and web included and you can provide those details to the buyer.
For more details, visit Mercari’s shipping page.
That’s it for sellers!
Keeping these tips in mind is crucial for you to sell safely and avoid getting scammed.
However, both sellers and buyers should carefully read their marketplace guidelines and policies as well to prevent other potential issues.
Mercari Guidelines To Be Aware Of
Their first marketplace guideline you should keep in mind is to:
1. Never Deal Outside of Mercari
Dealing outside of Mercari is against their marketplace guidelines. If anyone sends payment to the seller or a seller sends items to the buyer outside of their platform, Mercari is not responsible if it turns out to be a scam.
Therefore, all transactions or shipments must go through Mercari to keep both parties protected.
Secondly, both buyers and sellers should:
2. Treat Each Other with Respect & Honesty
It is important for buyers and sellers to treat each other with respect and honesty. Both parties should keep some of these commonly prohibited conducts in mind:
- Never create multiple listings of the same item
- Never list items glorifying violence or associated with hate groups
- Never provide false information in listings or messages
- Never abuse, threaten, troll, degrade, or harass your buyer or seller
- Never the buyer to rate before he or she received it
- Never encourage buyers or sellers to deal outside of Mercari
- Never send items directly from the manufacturer (avoid drop shipping).
- Never provide an invalid tracking number
- Never ask for personal information no matter whether you are a buyer or a seller
- Never provide false information for tax-related inquiries
- Never open a dispute against a seller without any fair reason
In the event that you engage in any of these prohibited conducts, your account may be suspended or terminated.
For more details, check out their full list of Prohibited Conduct page.
On top of all that, sellers should avoid listing items that are on Mercari’s prohibited items list.
Now that you know their marketplace guidelines, let’s get to know their policies.
Mercari Policies To Be Aware Of
When buying and selling on Mercari, it’s crucial for both parties to know these two policies to prevent issues later on:
- Cancellation Policy
- Returns and Refunds Policy
First, let’s talk about the…
Mercari has different cancellation policies for both buyers and sellers. First of all, let’s get to know the:
Cancellation Policy For Buyers
As a buyer, you can request cancellation until the seller hasn’t shipped the items. However, it’s up to the seller to either accept your cancellation request or reject it.
If the seller agrees and Mercari confirms that the order hasn’t shipped, you’ll get the refund.
On the contrary, if the seller denies your cancellation request then you can’t do anything to cancel your order.
However, if the seller didn’t respond to your cancellation request within 24 hours then Mercari will automatically refund you.
In the event that the seller confirms the shipment but you haven’t received the tracking details from the seller after 7 days of purchase, you are eligible to immediately cancel your order from your Order Status page.
So this was the cancellation policy for buyers, now let’s get to know them:
Cancellation Policy For Sellers
Cancellation requests are usually made by buyers but sometimes sellers also have to cancel the order.
The seller can cancel the order by selecting one of these reasons:
- Unable to ship
- Item is damaged/defective
- The item is on hold for someone else
- Item not available
- Change shipping options
- Accidental purchase by the buyer
- Bundling items for buyers
- Incorrect buyer shipping address
However, Mercari may charge you a cancellation fee of 5% of the item price (maximum of $25) to cover the cost of transaction fees and/or shipping labels.
Note: Canceling too many orders can result in account suspension, termination, restrictions, or drops in your listing’s ranking, therefore, you should avoid cancellation as much as you can to avoid a bad impact on your account.
Now let’s take a look at their:
Refund and Return Policy
The most important thing buyers should be aware of is that they can only return and request refunds within 3 days of delivery and only if they haven’t submitted the rating yet.
As a buyer, you won’t be able to request a refund after those 3 days or if you already rated the buyer for your order.
Furthermore, buyers are eligible to get the refunds for fair reasons such as:
- Item not as described
- Item is prohibited
- Not authentic or counterfeit
- Item is damaged or doesn’t work
- Item is incomplete
- Received the wrong item
However, Mercari will deny the buyer’s request for reasons like:
- Change of mind
- Mistakenly selected the wrong size and color
- Bought it offline and don’t need the item anymore
For valid reasons, can request a return from their item’s Order Status page.
Once submitted, sellers will have 24 hours to provide feedback and/or accept the buyer’s return request and if the seller didn’t respond to the buyer’s return request, they will be refunded by Mercari.
However, if the seller didn’t accept the return and provided the feedback, Mercari will handle the rest of the situation between both parties by reviewing the evidence of the buyer and the feedback provided by the seller.
If the seller is at fault, Mercari will accept the buyer’s return request to get the refund.
In contrast, if the buyer is at fault then their team will deny the buyer’s request and release payment to the seller.
In the event that the seller accepts the buyer’s return request then the buyer will have to return the item to the seller within 3 days of approval.
However, the seller will be paid if the return doesn’t receive a tracking scan by the buyer within 7 days of approval.
Once the seller receives the item, they will have 24 hours to review if it is damaged or something else so that seller can report to Mercari.
In contrast, if the seller confirms everything is fine then the buyer will be refunded by Mercari.
Mercari itself is definitely a legit e-commerce marketplace for buying and selling products. However, there is no guarantee that the people who buy and sell on it are also legitimate since Mercari just connects buyers and sellers through their platform.
However, it has buyer and seller protection in place to keep both parties protected but it’s your responsibility as well to keep in mind the tips I listed above as well as Mercari’s guidelines and policies to avoid scams and other issues.
By doing that, you are unlikely to be scammed or encounter any other problems when buying and selling on Mercari.
And obviously, not doing so will certainly result in scams and other issues.
Got any questions or want to share your own experiences with Mercari?
Please, let me know in the comments below.