You read the description several times, ask all the right questions, and fall in love slash buy the item you’d been lusting after. But after it arrives you discover the picture that had been painted in your head was a magnificent work of fiction. It happens, and I must admit that sometimes I get so hungry for the next best thing that it’s hard to remember to stop and really check the item before giving the seller that glowing review. Sometimes online thrifting can feel like a gamble, but these sites want buyers to return and when you play by their rules, you won’t be taking any losses.
I have purchased hundreds of things on Poshmark, and about a dozen have had a flaw or sign of wear that hadn’t been mentioned in the description (from barely-there pilling, to stains & holes). The most shocking was when I purchased a tunic that turned out to have a quarter-sized hole in it. Instead of accepting the order, I notified Poshmark immediately and they reviewed the case & provided a free return shipping label at their expense (putting that 20% seller’s fee to work). After I returned the item to the seller, they refunded me for 100% of my purchase including the initial shipping fee. I wasn’t out a dime! I’ve never had them decline a return due to an unwelcome surprise upon receiving the item. It must be done correctly though. Here’s a stroll through the steps you’d take in the unlucky case that your item was misrepresented:
- Don’t accept the order or attempt to give a rating
- Report the problem within 72 hours upon receiving the item.
- To report the item in the app, go to @yourusername (bottom right), & then “My Purchases”. On the next “My Purchases” screen, select the appropriate item (illustrated above).
- Select Order Not As Described and then on the next screen, select item is broken/damaged/stained (if that’s the case).
- After reporting the problem, they’ll review your case, provide you with a printable shipping label (if approved), and give you a refund after you ship the item within 5 days. As a side note, I like to use the box the item was shipped to me in, to return it.
I recently bought a beautiful pair of Tahari wedges and was heartbroken when I realized they were half a size bigger than listed. Unfortunately I had already accepted the order on Poshmark (and given the seller 5 stars because they looked fine) so I was stuck with them, regardless of the clear misrepresentation (re-posh here). Moral of this story – always check to make sure the item arrives as described before giving a rating/accepting the order.
A few things to consider before accepting an order…
- It’s best to go ahead and try the piece on. If it doesn’t fit quite right, check the size tag and if the seller provided measurements, check to make sure they are correct. This is essential because items that don’t fit are yours for keeps unless the sizing was misrepresented. When reporting the item, focus on the fact that the sizing was misrepresented, rather than it not fitting.
- Check the garment carefully for any signs of wear (pilling, stains/sweat stains, scuff marks, loose threads, holes, strange odors) that weren’t mentioned.
- Check to make sure the item is authentic (as best you can) and not from a factory outlet. I’ll post more about how to check for this later.
- If the seller provided any specific details that are of relevance to you, such as care instructions or fabric content, check that too!
- Check for any missing buttons, snaps, zippers etc.
- If the item does have zippers or snaps, check to make sure they work properly. To test the fly on jeans/slacks, I’ll wear them for an hour to make sure it doesn’t fall down on its own.
- Check to make sure the labels haven’t been cut/ripped out, if this is important to you.
- If you ordered multiple items, check to make sure they’re all there!
As a side note, the ratings you give on Poshmark can be edited but this doesn’t have anything to do with reporting a misrepresented item or getting a refund. Once you’ve accepted the order (or procrastinated for 72 hours), it’s yours for good! Also Posh doesn’t release payment to the seller until they’ve received a rating or the 72-hour period has passed.
I’ve made dozens of purchases & sales here and I’m fortunate enough to never have had to experience a misrepresentation (knock on wood), so I can’t rave about how safe I feel from experience as I did with Posh, but their Buyers Protection Guarantee here sounds similar to Posh’s policy (refrain from rating the seller & instead report the misrepresentation promptly here). They will in turn give you a prepaid shipping label to return it to the seller & issue a refund.
Hoping I don’t jinx myself, I think that I have yet to receive a dud on Mercari because the calculated rating score is openly displayed by the sellers’ names and there’s an option to leave negative, neutral, or positive comments, which I read (as many buyers do) before buying and stick to sellers with at least 4 stars.
Tradesy’s policy is slightly different. Buyers can still get a full refund for misrepresented items, but also have the option to return accurately represented items for any reason and receive a store credit. When an accurately represented return is made, the seller still gets paid (score!) but may have to wait until the item is done being reviewed. More info here
Not on Poshmark, Mercari, Tradesy, or ThredUP yet? Look below to save money on your first purchase!
Join me on Poshmark – use code NEUOK to save $5 off your first purchase.
Join me on Mercari – use code TZQHMB to save $2 off your first purchase.
What I’m wearing
Gap peplum top $5, here
AE moto neon coral jeggings $5, here
Louis Vuitton Riviera gifted to me, similar here
Adidas Superstars purchased new because I don’t buy secondhand tennis shoes, here
What about you? I’m happy to answer any questions you have as a newbie to the online world of thrifting! You may even give me an idea for next week’s topic! Feel free to post your questions or experiences below.