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Is Mercari Legit or a Scam? Mercari Review 2023

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Online marketplaces have made business easier and more convenient for buyers and sellers. Mercari, for instance, is a popular platform for buying and selling used items. The platform originated in Japan and has recently risen to popularity internationally.

If you’re thinking about buying and selling on Mercari, but many questions about safety are holding you back, this is the post for you.

I’ll answer all your questions, like is Mercari legit? How does it work? You’ll also learn about tricks to selling on Mercari safely and avoid getting scammed.

How Does Mercari Work?

One of the most important things you need to understand is that Mercari just connects buyers and sellers. It does not sell its own goods.

Mercari is simply the middle-man, facilitating trade in a safe environment for a commission. Here’s a breakdown of how Mercari works:

  • Sellers sign up for a Mercari account for free
  • They list their items using photos and descriptions
  • When a sale is made, the payment is held by Mercari, and a 10% commission is deducted
  • The seller then has three days to ship the item to the buyer
  • The seller must confirm shipment after shipping the item
  • Once the item is received, the buyer has three days to either confirm the order by accepting it or requesting a refund because the item is missing, damaged, or different from the description.
  • If the buyer fails to confirm the order within three days, the funds are automatically released to the seller.
  • The seller can request payment via a direct deposit to their bank account, which takes up to five business days at no charge, or instant payment, where it’s deposited to their debit card for a $2 fee.

Several safety measures protect both buyers and sellers, but it ultimately comes down to you as the user to ensure you’re trading safely.

Is Mercari Legit?

Yes, Mercari is a legit online business platform. The platform makes its commission based on sales made on the platform, so it’s in their best interest to guarantee safety. There’s a strong buyer protection guarantee in place, where sellers only receive payment once the buyer confirms receipt of the item purchased.

Mercari is generally safe for both parties, but you must remember there’s always a degree of risk for any online transaction. It’s, therefore, possible to get duped even with safety measures in place.

Provided you follow the platform rules and use common sense, trading on Mercari should be smooth sailing.

Extra Reading: Apps Like Mercari

6 Tips to Avoid Getting Scammed on Mercari

While Mercari is legitimate, you should still practice caution when trading on the platform. Here are a few tips to help you trade safely on Mercari:

1. Only Make Payments Within Mercari

Avoid making payments outside of the platform. Some scammers advertise products on Mercari that are not actually for sale. These advertisements are used to convince people to make payments outside the platform, and the seller gets to keep the cash.

To be safe, avoid transactions and communication with sellers off the platform. Genuine Mercari sellers abide by the platform’s rules for their safety and yours.

2. Check Item Photos and Read Descriptions Carefully

You can easily tell if a seller is genuine based on the product photos and description. Buy items from sellers with multiple photos of the same item from different angles.

The product descriptions are also helpful when rooting out scammers. The seller cannot be trusted if the description is vague or misleading. Always avoid sellers who give inadequate and ambiguous details about the products. If the product attributes are not clearly stated in the description, it’s advisable to avoid that seller.

3. Check Seller Verification

You should only buy products from sellers with a verified profile. These are usually certified members who’ve been on Mercari for at least one year and can be trusted.

Also, Mercari allows buyers to ask a seller a question before placing their order. This is good practice as it allows you to confirm that the item is available and the seller is active. It can also help you determine the legitimacy of the seller. If they’re shifty and fumble with the answer or fail to respond completely, you’re better off with a different seller.

4. Avoid Overly Cheap Items

One of the biggest red flags when purchasing items online is when the price is too good to be true. Scammers typically use overly low prices to attract buyers, so you might think you’re getting a great deal, but in the real sense, the products don’t exist or are damaged.

Stick to reasonably priced items when shopping on Mercari. Some sellers do have great deals, but the price should not be extremely below the retail price. If you’re unsure of the retail price, check what other sellers are charging for the same product.

5. Check the Tracking Number

Once you’ve paid for the item, ask the seller for a tracking number. Sometimes the seller forgets to update the tracking details after the shipment has been confirmed, so you should message them and ask for the tracking number.

If the seller does not provide a tracking number, allow seven days for the item to arrive. If it does not arrive in seven days, you can cancel your order and get a refund even if the seller sends the item.

6. Confirm Your Order within 3 Days

After the item has arrived, you have three days to confirm the purchase. If you fail to confirm within those three days, Mercari pays the seller automatically, and you cannot get a refund at that point.

As such, it’s essential to check your purchase carefully. If the product is damaged or the description is misleading, you can return it within this timeframe and get a full refund.

How to Buy on Mercari Safely

Now that you have the answer to the question, “is Mercari legit?” next, you have to ask yourself how you can safely purchase items on the platform.

The best practice is to only make purchases from sellers who are verified by Mercari. You should also check the seller’s profile and the reviews they’ve gotten from other customers. If the reviews are mostly negative or too few, that’s a no-go seller.

If you’re satisfied with the seller and you’ve checked the product photos and description carefully, you can make your order and ask for a tracking number.

Once you receive the item, inspect it and only confirm the purchase if you’re satisfied. Mercari only releases payment to the seller after you confirm you’ve received the item and it’s up to code. If the item’s quality is wanting, you can send it back within three days.

How to Sell on Mercari Safely

As a seller, you can also take active measures to help trade safely on Mercari. First, ensure you’re honest and accurate when making product listings to avoid buyer disputes.

You should also be careful during shipping to avoid the products being damaged in transit. To complete the transaction, you have to provide a valid tracking number to the buyer.

Read Mercari’s Terms of Service to avoid listing or selling prohibited items. The platform monitors the platform, and if prohibited items are found on your account, Mercari automatically removes the listing and terminates your account.

Some of the items include stolen information, legal documents, illegal drugs, pornography, and more.

Extra Reading: How to Sell on Mercari

How to Tell if a Mercari Seller is Legit`

There are several ways to tell if a seller is legitimate or not.

  • Check the seller verification: Mercari verifies sellers’ identification on the platform, and this information is made available on the seller’s page. These are legitimate sellers that can be trusted.
  • Read customer reviews: Reading the reviews for the seller and the product will help you get a sense of the person you’re dealing with. If previous customers are pleased with the product and the seller’s service, it’s safe to buy from them. But you should also beware of reviews that seem too positive. Some sellers create fake positive reviews that mislead buyers.
  • Check the seller’s profile badges: Sellers who perform well on Mercari get badges. When looking for a seller, check for badges like Fast Responder, Reliable, and Fast Shipper, depending on what you consider important in transactions.

Mercari Policies

The platform has several policies to protect both sellers and buyers on the platform.

Mercari Cancellation Policy

Mercari allows buyers to cancel an order, provided the seller hasn’t shipped the item yet. Still, the seller is allowed to deny your cancellation request per the policy.

Sellers have up to 24 hours to respond to the request. If they accept the request or 24 hours pass without a response, the order is refunded to the buyer’s account.

Refund and Return Policy

According to Mercari’s Refunds and Returns Policy, a buyer is eligible for a refund if the item is counterfeit, damaged, doesn’t work, is incomplete, is the wrong item, or does not match the listing.

The buyer is required to provide answers to questions about the item and attach photos for proof.

Is Mercari Better than eBay?

For new sellers, Mercari has a better listing process. eBay is a bit tedious, which can be off-putting for beginners. On the other hand, eBay has more traffic and, therefore, more potential buyers.

eBay has been around for much longer, which explains the broader user base. Sellers stand to make more on eBay than Mercari because of the large number of users.

The fees charged by the platforms also differ. Mercari seller fees are pretty straightforward because they charge the same regardless of the products sold. eBay’s fees, on the contrary, are very complicated. Aside from the listing fee (insertion fee), different fees are charged based on the item categories.

To answer the question, Mercari is a better platform for new sellers, but selling on eBay is more profitable because of the wider user base. So as a beginner, you’re better off with Mercari, but if you can, the best practice is to sell on both.


There are several advantages and disadvantages of using Mercari. If you’re looking to buy or sell on the platform, here are some pros.

  • Free listings: Most online marketplaces charge a listing fee, but it’s free to put an item up for sale in Mercari. Plus, the whole process is easy to navigate.
  • Low fees: Mercari charges a 10% flat rate in commission, which is relatively low compared to other platforms.
  • Convenience: Mercari makes trading easy because you can simply use your phone to download the app. This means you can conduct business anywhere and at all times.
  • Effective communication: Mercari makes it possible for buyers and sellers to communicate even before an order has been made. This allows for clarification and helps to avoid returns and refunds.


Like any other platform, there are disadvantages to be considered as well.

  • Unresponsive sellers: Sometimes as a buyer, you need to contact a seller, but they’re inactive on the app. This can be very frustrating, especially if you need the item urgently.
  • Payment delays: As a seller, it’s inconvenient that Mercari waits for the buyer to rate you so the funds can be released. Sellers who prefer being paid right away are better off on other platforms.

Final Thoughts on Mercari

Is Mercari legit? Yes, it’s a legitimate online marketplace that connects buyers and sellers. However, this does not guarantee that you’ll not be scammed on the platform. There’s no way to tell if the people on the platform are legit.

Mercari has policies to protect both buyers and sellers, so it’s in your best interest to familiarize yourself with these policies for your safety. Provided you’re cautious and operate within the stipulated guidelines, there won’t be any issues when buying and selling on Mercari.

Lydia is a personal finance expert and the founder of Sproutinue, a personal finance site helping you find legit ways to make money, save money, and achieve financial freedom. She has been featured on various major financial publications, including Investopedia, Business Insider, GoBankingRates, and more.

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