I do the majority of my clothing shopping on apps like Poshmark, Mercari, & Tradesy because it makes a ridiculous amount of sense for budgeting and for the environment. Before my thrifting days, I’d buy one or two new outfits every season, but now I’m constantly buying (and selling) stuff. I stay motivated to sell so I can buy more, while keeping an organized closet. The catch? Just like anything else, there’s always the chance of encountering a bad apple. In the world of online thrifting, there are several ways that someone could be up to no good. Let’s look at the different possible situations, along with the red flags for each one.
- Undisclosed damage or flaws: Unclear photos (bad lighting, parts of the item not visible, etc.) or the use of only stock photos can be warning signs that the item is being purposefully misrepresented. If this is the case and you’re still interested in buying the item, it’s OK to ask for clearer photos or photos of the actual item in the comment section. It’s also fine to ask the seller for additional details (including condition) of the item. When an item arrives that has been misrepresented in any way, these apps give the buyer an opportunity to report this for a full refund, as I described in this post.
- Replicas: People selling replicas tend to show similar red flags as sellers trying to hide damage – the photos may be unclear, blurry, or stock photos. Also the item may be priced unusually lower than similar items on the app. If something seems suspicious it’s acceptable to ask for a clear, up close photo showing the stitching and hardware. The stitching should be even and the hardware should be symmetrical, with even spacing between any brand’s lettering. I like to compare these details to that of the item’s stock photo. There shouldn’t be chipped paint/lettering/etc. on authentic items with relatively light wear. I also check out date codes, if that applies. It’s OK to politely ask if an item is authentic. I’ve noticed some people selling replicas that have used very subtle language to say they’re not authentic. I imagine this is because these websites don’t permit sales of replicas.
- Scam artists & thieves: I never engage with buyers or sellers asking to take a transaction away from the selling app, offering their personal email or phone number. I’ve never fallen for this, but the circumstances usually make it appear to be a buyer’s attempt at receiving a pricey item for free. Regardless, all transactions should be kept within the selling apps.
- Creeps: Usually I have no problem modeling an item so a potential buyer can see how it fits, but when I get requests on the overly revealing clothing, I find a stock photo or politely decline and offer to provide measurements instead. You just never know who’s hiding behind the computer screen asking to see you in a mini-dress!
COUPON CODES for your first purchase at Tradesy, Poshmark, ThredUP, & Mercari!! Some only work when signing up for the first time in the phone apps.
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
- Liz Claiborne pleated skirt $18, here
- Tory Burch flip flops (old), similar here
- Kate Spade cuff bracelet $20, here