Is Mercari Legit? How To Avoid Getting Scammed

Buying and selling stuff on Mercari seems like a good idea, but there might be one thing holding you back. Is it safe? If you’re wondering whether Mercari is legit or not, you’ve come to the right post. 

It’s smart to be wary of online transactions because you never know if you could get scammed. I understand why you question the safety of Mercari despite its obvious popularity. Read on to find out if Mercari is worth your while. 

is mercari legit

Is Mercari Legit? 

I can tell you right off the bat that Mercari is a legitimate and reliable e-commerce platform. Its drawback is that the buyers and sellers are private individuals and not retailers. What does this mean?

Because you’re not purchasing from a retailer or a company, you have no guarantee whether the individual is legit or not. So you have to make the call if the person you’re buying from and selling to is trustworthy. 

To recap, Mercari itself is totally legitimate, but it can’t guarantee the safety of the transactions that go on there. You will have to use common sense. If you find a listing for the latest iPhone, and it’s selling for only $50, then you should be skeptical. 

Like eBay or Craigslist, sellers don’t always disclose all the information about their selling products. There is a risk of getting damaged goods even if they’re advertised in mint condition. You’ll never really know until you receive your order. In a way, it’s like gambling. 

As for payments, the seller will only get the funds once the buyer confirms the order and rates the seller. So there is that small layer of protection when it comes to the releasing of payment. 

The trouble with Mercari is sometimes you’ll get an item that is not as advertised. Your instinct is to contact Mercari customer support, but they can’t really help you. Your beef is with the seller and not the platform. 

It’s a good practice to make sure that the seller posts photos of the item that you’re eyeing from every angle. That way, you get a good look at what you’re going to receive. 

So the only reason you may get scammed on Mercari is if you let your guard down and don’t use common sense. How exactly does this happen? 

Related Reading: Check out these Legit Money Making Apps

How Do People Get Scammed On Mercari? 

Just like most online marketplaces, Mercari has possible lurking scammers. Some people just tend to take advantage of the unsuspecting.

How do you spot a scammer? Well, their profiles are usually new, with no reviews, and items with questionable prices. Too good to be true usually is!

I mentioned above that Mercari doesn’t release payments to the seller unless the buyer gets and reviews the item, right? That should be enough to stop people from getting scammed, right? 

Wrong. Sometimes, a seller might try to contact you on another platform like, let’s say, WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger. If you deal with a seller outside of Mercari, there’s a high probability that it’s a scam. 

Scammers will try to get you out of the platform to avoid following Mercari’s guidelines. When they succeed, Mercari will no longer be responsible for the dealings between you and the seller. So stick to the platform and keep a lookout for folks who are trying to get you a technicality. 

How Do I Avoid Getting Scammed On Mercari? 

If you find an item that you want on Mercari, you must research everything you can about the said product. How much is it going for these days? What does it look like in brand new condition? What are its specs and features? You have to know this stuff to make an informed decision. 

Never make a purchase that’s too good to be true because it will most likely be a scam. Think about it: no one will give you free stuff. Here are a bunch of tips to apply to ward off potential scams: 

  • Don’t share personal information.

It’s good practice never to share your banking information and social security number unless absolutely necessary. If you do so, you run the risk of being a victim of identity theft and straight-up theft. You should also never share your login details to prevent people from hacking into your account. 

  • Don’t deal outside Mercari.

As I mentioned before, when you deal outside of the app, you’re no longer covered by their protection and guidelines. 

  • Be skeptical.

Never buy from someone with a sketchy profile and bad or nonexistent reviews. Make sure you have a reasonable ballpark price for the item that you’re eyeing. If someone is trying to sell you a normally expensive item for much less, it’s a scam! 

  • Use a strong password.

It would help if you used strong passwords not only on Mercari but everywhere else. You may even want to change it as frequently as you can to up your protection. 

  • Decide if you want to keep your received item within three days.

When you get your order, you have three days to assess if the item is damaged or not as described. If you’re happy with it, confirm it and release the payment to the seller. If not, you need to request a return quickly. 

  • Take note of items that you can’t sell on Mercari.

If you attempt to sell prohibited items according to Mercari’s guidelines, your account will be suspended, and all your transactions will be canceled. 

  • Always use your credit credit card and not your debit card. 

Credit card companies offer buyer protection to save you from fraudulent purchases. If you accidentally release payment to someone by any chance, you can call your credit card company to forfeit the transaction. 

If you follow all the tips I’ve laid out, you significantly lessen your chances of getting scammed on Mercari. 

Is it safe to buy and sell on Mercari? 

Yes, I’ve had a lot of successful non-shady transactions on Mercari. Just make sure you’re within the marketplace guidelines, and you don’t fall prey to scamming. Mercari is a great way to purchase items for less. If you intend to sell products, you might be better off setting up a Shopify store. 

Related Reading: Is Swagbucks Safe? Read Here.

How does Mercari protect your personal data? 

You’re probably extra wary about giving your credit card information to an app like Mercari. But it turns out that it’s just as safe as any other online retailer. First, you’re safeguarded by the login information you set up. This prevents unauthorized access. Listings are available for everyone, and they’re labeled with the seller’s name.  

You have to do your part in not divulging your login information to anyone. Even if you lose your phone, the thief won’t be able to access your account. 

The following are what you can expect to give up to Mercari when making transactions on the app.

  1. Your name, phone, birth date, email address, and tax identification number
  2. Banking information for making payments
  3. Information about your dealings within the app, your location, and device ID 

These are pretty standard when it comes to online marketplaces, so there’s nothing fishy here. You can check out their privacy policy page if you’re curious. Just keep in mind that it will secure your personal data, but everyone can be hacked as long as you’re on an internet transmission. 

How To Purchase Items Safely On Mercari 

Let’s say you find something you desperately want on Mercari. Great, go through the questions that I’ll provide below to see if you should go for it. 

How are the reviews? 

Go on the product page and the seller’s profile. Check the kind of reviews they’ve gotten. Too few? Or too many? Too negative? Then it should be a no-go. Why should you be concerned if there are too many good reviews on an item? 

It’s a common practice of certain sellers to make fake reviews themselves. It’s a devious move that you have to sniff out. To make sure that a seller is legit, see if Mercari has verified them. Mercari does ID checks to ensure the buyer’s safety. 

What’s the product description? 

Is it vague, misleading, or downright inaccurate? Sometimes, sellers will even upload photos they pulled from the web. Keep in mind that sellers will want to present their goods in the best light, so do some investigative work. 

If you’re not vigilant about checking product descriptions, you may end up with a different item from what you wanted. 

How much is it? 

Remember, there’s no reason why a seller would offer their products for ridiculously low prices just out of the goodness of their heart. If you find suspiciously low prices, it’s a scam. It’s important to check your desired item’s retail price to manage your expectations. 

Sure, a $100 laptop seems like a good deal, but you’ll most likely get something broken, fake, or nothing at all. 

What’s the condition of the item once you receive it? 

Medicare doesn’t release payments to sellers unless the buyer confirms that they received the item and is satisfied with it. You have three days to confirm whether your order is as advertised. 

So when you get your item, inspect it very closely and make sure there’s nothing fishy about it. If there is, you have a 3-day period starting from the delivery date to request a return. If you fail to request a return, your payment is released, and you can’t send the item back anymore. 

How To Sell Items Safely On Mercari 

Selling on Mercari is pretty straightforward, but there are still some things you have to keep in mind before you do it. The following tips can help you sell items on Mercari safely. 

1. Be honest and accurate in your product listings. 

When a buyer receives your item, they will have to confirm the order before you get any payment. If they examine it and realize that it’s not advertised, they will want to return the item, which is going to be your responsibility. 

To prevent this from happening, you need to make sure that all the details in your listings are accurate. Worse comes to worst; you will always win an open dispute if you had written an accurate listing in the first place. 

2. Ship your items correctly. 

When you make a sale, you will need to ship the item within three days of the purchase. You’ll be required to put in a valid tracking number to complete the transaction on the app. Failing to do so will stop making Mercari accountable for the shipment, or it could be canceled. 

Before shipping an item, make sure to package it carefully. Add some protection so the item won’t get damaged in transit. If the order is under 150 lbs, you can use the Mercari prepaid label. 

When you complete all this, the final step is to go on the Order Status page and tick “I’ve shipped it” to let the buyer know that their order is on the way. 

3. Have all shipment and delivery details handy. 

To help a buyer keep track of the shipped item and to make Mercari accountable for it, you have to provide a valid tracking number. If the item doesn’t get to the buyer by any chance, you will have the proof that you sent it. 

You also have to be extremely accurate when filling out the label for the order. You don’t want the package to be delivered to the wrong person. It will spare you the headache and save you some time. 

4. Make sure you don’t sell and send prohibited items. 

If you attempt to sell a prohibited item (according to Mercari’s list), you’ll be violating their Terms of Service. You also have to be careful about your product listings. If you state that you’re selling a prohibited item even if it’s not, Mercari will automatically remove the listing and terminate your account. 

Here is a list of items you can’t sell on Mercari: 

  • Illegal drugs 
  • Tobacco and alcohol 
  • FDA restricted foods
  • Firearms, ammunition, and parts 
  • Digital items such as software and Ebooks. 
  • Stolen information 
  • Insurance
  • Legal documents like licenses and passports 
  • Mystery purchases (gambling/lottery) 
  • Pets and livestock 
  • Human body parts 
  • Pornography 
  • Hazardous materials 
  • Viruses and malware 

If you get caught selling the items above, users may report you. You may either be penalized or have your account suspended. Check to see if your item falls under Mercari’s Prohibited Items Policy before you post a listing to avoid running into trouble. 

Mercari Pro and Cons

 

Like any online marketplace, there are some advantages and drawbacks to using Mercari. Here are pros and cons to consider if you think you’d like to buy and sell there: 

PROS

1. It’s free to make listings. 

Putting up an item to sell on Mercari is completely free. I can’t say the same thing about eBay and other e-commerce sites. Listings are also very easy to make and can be done in a few minutes. 

2. It’s a great place to hunt for bargains. 

Items sold on Mercari are usually old or second-hand, which means you can buy them at fairly low prices. Mercari is a great place to look for a good deal or to get items for a buy-and-sell business. 

3. The selling fee is low. 

Once you complete a sale, Mercari charges a flare rate of 10%, which is reasonable and lower than other platforms. 

4. It’s easy to ship items. 

Mercari’s shipping process is straightforward and reliable. Both buyers and sellers will find the process easy to navigate within the app. 

5. Buyer to seller communication is possible before purchasing. 

If you’re looking to buy a product and you want to know more about it, you can contact the seller on the app. There is a chat option to reach out to sellers, so you don’t have to communicate outside of the app. 

6. You can manage your business entirely on your phone. 

It’s great that you don’t need a desktop or any other device to do business in Mercari. All you need is your phone, which means you can conduct business pretty much anywhere. 

CONS

1. It’s not a place to buy lower-end items. 

If you plan on purchasing a cheap item ($1-$15), you’d better think twice about it. There is a standard 10% fee on top of shipping costs to consider, which makes it not worth it. 

2. Sellers can ghost you or be unresponsive. 

Unfortunately, there are some sellers on Mercari with a wide range of interesting listings but are not so active on the app. It can be hard to communicate with certain people, so it’s frustrating if you want to learn more about an item but can’t. 

3. You won’t get paid unless the buyer rates you. 

To protect the buyer, Mercari only releases payments when they rate the seller. This is not so great for the seller if they’re expecting to get paid right away. 

Final Thoughts 

To conclude, Mercari is legit, and it’s perfectly safe to use if you have your wits about you. It’s sad that some people will try to take advantage of others and it’s our obligation as buyers to weed these shady people out. It’s also our obligation as sellers to conduct our business honestly.

Disclosure:  this article might contain links to the resources discussed.
Some of the links are affiliate links, meaning that I will make a small commission if you purchase a product or service by using the link. You get the same price whether you use our special link or not, and sometimes I’m able to get you an even better deal through my relationships!  More info in my privacy policy.

Brooks Conkle

Brooks Conkle

Brooks is an Entrepreneur, Sponge, Father, Husband, & Follower of the Golden Rule. He has over 15 years of experience as an entrepreneur after graduating with a BSBA in Finance from Auburn University. He’s addicted to growing new business ideas and any food that includes chocolate and peanut butter. Brooks is a firm believer in creating multiple streams of income and creates content here on BrooksConkle.com to help other hustlers in the areas of marketing, online business, personal finance, and real estate. 

Brooks Conkle

About Me

With 15 years of experience as an entrepreneur, I help hustlers build multiple income streams so that they can control their financial future and create a flexible lifestyle.
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Disclosure:  these articles contain links to the resources discussed.
Some of the links are affiliate links from Amazon and other companies, meaning that I will make a small commission if you purchase a product or service by using the link. You get the same price whether you use our special link or not, and sometimes I’m able to get you an even better deal through my relationships!  More info in my privacy policy.

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