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Is Mercari Legit? How To Buy and Sell on Mercari Safely

Best Things to Sell on Mercari

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Mercari has made a name for itself by connecting sellers and buyers from all over the world. 

This e-commerce platform provides an excellent opportunity to make money online by starting a selling business or decluttering your home for quick cash. 

For buyers, it offers various items at affordable prices to help you revamp your home without breaking the bank.

But the question is, is Mercari legit? How do you avoid scams by fraudulent buyers or sellers? And how does Mercari assure its users of the quality and authenticity of transactions?

Whether you’re looking for a steady income as a full-time e-commerce seller or seeking a few items to add to your collection, you’ve come to the right place. 

Drawing from my own experience on the site, I’ll delve into how to use the app and avoid scams as a seller or buyer on the platform.

What Is Mercari?

Mercari is a popular online marketplace that connects sellers to buyers worldwide. 

The Japanese company began in February 2013 with an aim to “create value in a global marketplace where anyone can buy and sell. Mercari has offices in Japan, the US, and India. 

All you need to do to sell on the platform is create an account and profile and then list your items. Once you post your stuff, wait for potential buyers to contact you. 

Is Mercari Legit

The app lets you sell virtually anything legal, like jewelry, clothes, antiques, and sneakers. Mercari is the best place to be, regardless of your chosen niche. 

On the other hand, the purchasing process is pretty straightforward. You can easily search for your desired item and place an order. 

You can download the Mercari app for free on Google Play Store or the App Store.

Over 10 million people have downloaded the app on Google Play, making Mercari a fantastic way to reach a broad audience and find various items.

Is Mercari Legit for Sellers?

Yes, Mercari is a legit app that lets you make money by selling stuff online. The app has a 4.8 rating on Google Play and numerous positive reviews. Over 10 million people have downloaded the app on Google Play alone, further proving the app is legit. I’ve sold some items on Mercari recently and cashed out shortly after getting a buyer.

One of the advantages of selling on Mercari is they don’t charge you for listing items. This way, you have nothing to lose by joining the app. 

However, you’ll incur some fees upon completing a sale. I’ll expound more on these charges later. 

Also, Mercari discloses the applicable percentage transparently before you make the sale so you can adjust your pricing accordingly. 

I also like that Mercari has a strict seller protection policy that dictates the terms of return of items and shipping protection. They provide insurance of up to $200.

Despite the advantages of reaching a large pool of buyers and increasing the chances of making sales, Mercari has a few notable downsides. 

Firstly, several sellers have expressed concern over Mercari’s failure to enforce their seller protection policy consistently. 

Sellers report cases where Mercari compensated buyers for damaged shipments while the seller wasn’t refunded. This suggests that the site is potentially biased towards buyers.

There’s also a claim of accounts getting shut down for no reason. Ensure you sell only legal items to avoid getting banned from the app. 

Mercari has a list of prohibited items. Reviewing this list as you decide what to sell on the platform is crucial.

Among the most common complaints is that Mercari seller fees are ridiculously high, making selling items costly. 

Selling your item on Mercari may not be worth it if you make losses. That’s why it’s vital to determine seller and shipping fees before listing your item. This way, you can factor them into your pricing.  

Mercari’s customer service is unresponsive to user issues. Most users complain that the team sends an automated message instead of solving problems. 

Also, communication with Mercari’s customer service team is limited to texts and emails; there’s no way to call them. 

I went through user reviews on the App Store for this article. Let’s dive into the feedback provided by three users:

  • StefaneeDay says: “Overall, this is the best app I have used to sell and buy items. The only thing I wish they would improve is maybe a live agent to talk to instead of waiting days for an email about your issues.”
  • Webtoons says: “Easy app to buy and sell items. However, it would be nice if there was a dispute option for ratings. I received a low rating from a buyer with the feedback that I need to improve on my ship time. They purchased an item at night and I shipped the following morning. Yet I received a low rating with no context rather than improvement feedback.”
  • StaceyAnn78 says: “… they make it easy and provide the shipping labels and clear instructions to help get the best review for yourself as a seller.”
Is Mercari Legit

Overall, Mercari is one of the best platforms to sell second-hand items. As a seller, ensure you abide by the laws and ship products in time to encourage your buyers to leave a good rating. 

The higher your rating, the higher your chances of getting new and repeat buyers. This is especially important if you intend to start a buy-and-sell business.

Extra Reading: Tips To Sell on Mercari Faster

How Does Mercari Work for Sellers? 

I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of running an online business without setting up a brick-and-mortar shop. 

With the numerous platforms around, it’s difficult to tell which is legit. I tried the app to help you determine if it’s worth your time. 

Generally, selling on Mercari is easy. I sold my items a few days after signing up, and setting up a seller account was straightforward.

Here’s how the app works:

1. Download the Mercari App

Downloading the free mobile app from Google Play or the App Store is the first step to making money on Mercari. You can also sign up on their website. 

After installing the app, create a seller account to start selling. Ensure you create an attractive profile to appeal to buyers. 

Adding a profile photo is also crucial in boosting the buyers’ confidence. Most sellers without profile pictures often seem fraudulent. 

2. List your Items 

Once your account is running, list your items to attract potential buyers. 

Mercari lets you make listings for free, so you have nothing to lose since you won’t pay anything till you make a sale. 

The process is straightforward. You only need to upload photos of your stuff and provide detailed descriptions. Taking photos in the best angles and lighting improves your chances of selling the items. 

Keep your descriptions short but detailed. Let the buyers know exactly what they’re purchasing. If an item is slightly damaged, disclose this information in your listing. 

Optimize your titles and descriptions for SEO to make your items more visible when customers search for specific keywords. 

You can sell virtually anything on Mercari if it isn’t on the prohibited items list. Some of the most common items on the platform include:

  • Electronics
  • Clothes 
  • Collectibles 
  • Sports gear 
  • Toys like Beanie Babies
  • Home Decor 

Items that are prohibited on Mercari include:

  • Drugs 
  • Homemade food 
  • Stolen items 
  • Counterfeit products 
  • Weapons 
  • Alcohol 
  • Tobacco
  • Digital products 

3. Set Your Prices

While making the most profit is desirable in this line of work, setting realistic prices is important. No one will buy your product if it’s unrealistically overpriced. 

On the other hand, you may lose more than you gain if you underprice your items. 

Search for similar products to see how other sellers are pricing them. Mercari sometimes provides an estimated price to help you in this process. 

Mercari charges a 10% fee for completed sales. It’s wise to factor this fee into your pricing to avoid losses.

4. Ship Your Products

After listing your items, wait for interested buyers to reach out. Always respond promptly to encourage your buyer to leave a positive review. Mercari’s messaging feature lets you engage directly with your customers. 

Covering shipping encourages buyers to purchase your products. In this case, factor the shipping costs into your pricing to make a profit. Alternatively, you can pass the baton to the buyer. 

Mercari provides affordable shipping through UPS, FedEx, and USPS. Shipping fees are based on the product’s weight. 

The platform provides insurance for items up to $200. It may not be worth it if you’re selling expensive items. 

5. Get Paid 

Getting paid on Mercari is easy. The platform offers payment via Instant Pay and direct bank transfers.

You can withdraw up to $600 per month via Instant Pay. As the name suggests, Instant Pay is faster than withdrawing directly to your bank. 

There’s a $3 flat rate for Instant Pay, and you receive your payment within 30 minutes as long as you’ve verified your ID and linked your debit card.

Cashing out via direct deposit takes about five business days. 

Is Mercari Legit for Buyers? 

Mercari is a legit and widely recognized marketplace where you can purchase virtually anything online. The app has an impressive 4.9 rating on the App Store. The numerous positive reviews show buyers are satisfied with the app’s functionality. 

I’ve purchased a few pairs of sneakers from Mercari. Drawing from my experience, the app is efficient for affordable finds. 

Most of the items sold on the app are in good condition, and Mercari has a pretty straightforward return process in case your stuff is damaged en route. 

I also like that they allow buyers to rate users after each transaction, enabling you to identify legit sellers. I always go for the ones with high ratings. 

Another perk of Mercari is its messaging feature that allows you to speak to the seller directly. This feature lets you inquire about the product if the listing is unclear. 

To top it all off, Mercari adheres to a strict buyer protection policy to protect you from fraudulent sellers. 

One of the most common complaints by buyers on Mercari is unreliable sellers who fail to provide important information in their listings. Also, most users have had their orders mixed up. 

While the company lets you return damaged goods, processing refunds is a nightmare. They have customer service, but contacting them is frustrating since communication is limited to emails and texts.

Here are some Mercari Buyer reviews from Google Play:

  • Del Haw says: “This app and the company are great up into the point something goes wrong or you need your money back then it’s a hellish nightmare! For weeks I’ve had to go back and forth because sellers were not truthful…”
  • Rachel Karr says: “Support was totally unwilling to fully reconcile my issue. The product did not work as the seller promised, and they held me up during the 3 days I had to start a return.”
  • Sofia Robinson says: “Usually able to find most things I’m looking for in New/Like-New condition for a very reasonable price. I’m gradually usining the app more because it’s been so consistent and reliable.”
Mercari Reviews

As you can see from the reviews above, most complaints are about Mercari’s unresponsive customer service and some minor issues with the app. 

Overall, Mercari is a fantastic marketplace offering buyers diverse items. They need to up their game, though. 

How Does Mercari Work for Buyers

Creating a buyer account on Mercari is pretty straightforward. Download the app and provide details like your email and name to create a profile. 

From there, search for your chosen item from millions of sellers. Comparing different sellers is essential to land the best deal. 

Mercari lets you interact directly with sellers through their messaging feature in case you need clarification on the products. 

Once satisfied with the seller, add a payment method to place your order successfully. Mercari accepts the following reliable and secure payment methods:

  • Visa
  • Apple Pay
  • MasterCard
  • Zip
  • Venmo 
  • American Express
  • PayPal 
  • Discover
  • Mercari balance
  • Mercari credit 

After making your order, you can track the shipping progress through the app. Mercari lets you return damaged items within 72 hours after delivery.

The platform also lets you rate the seller after delivery. Ratings are essential in identifying legit sellers. 

Another notable feature of Mercari is its strict buyer protection policy. The platform holds the cash for three days after delivery to give you time to process a return or refund if you’re unsatisfied with the product. 

Note that you can only return an item if the seller’s description in the listing is inaccurate or if it got damaged during shipping. 

An item isn’t eligible for a return under the following circumstances:

  • The listing accurately described the product 
  • Changed mind
  • The item doesn’t fit
  • If you conduct the transaction offline
  • If you make the return request after the 3-day window ends
  • If you request a return after rating the item

How To Tell If a Mercari Seller Is Legit

There are several ways to tell whether a Mericari seller is legitimate or a scam:

  • Check the seller verification: Mercari verifies sellers’ identification on the platform, and this information is made available on the seller’s page. 
  • 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, buying from them is safe. 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.

Pros and Cons of Mercari 

Like any other e-commerce platform, Mercari has both upsides and downsides. Consider these as you determine if the site is worth your time. 


  • Mercari offers seller and buyer protection
  • There’s a diverse range of items
  • The site connects sellers to a broad audience
  • Listing is free
  • The app is available for both iOS and Android


  • Buyers may abuse the return policy
  • Some sellers are unreliable
  • The customer service is unresponsive

Tips on Maximizing Your Earnings on Mercari

Navigating a selling platform may be challenging if you have no prior experience. Here are some ways to boost your earnings on Mercari:

  • Set competitive prices: Setting realistic prices is one of the best ways to attract buyers. Overpricing your items scares off buyers while underpricing leads to losses. 
  • Upload good photos: Take photos of your product in the best angles and lighting. Show off its best features to attract potential buyers. 
  • Respond to buyers promptly: Responding to queries about your product within 12 hours keeps the buyer interested and earns you a seller badge. 
  • Ship items quickly: Most buyers gauge their experience from how fast they receive the item. The quicker you ship, the more likely you’ll get a positive review from the buyer.

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 avoid getting scammed on Mercari:

1. Only Make Payments Within Mercari

Some scammers advertise products on Mercari that are not actually for sale. These advertisements are used to convince buyers 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 images of the same item from different angles.

The product descriptions are also helpful when rooting out scammers. You can’t trust a seller 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, 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 lets you 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 reality, 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 doesn’t provide a tracking number, allow seven days for the item to arrive. If it does not arrive, 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.

So, 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.

The Best Mercari Alternatives

While Mercari is among the best online marketplaces, it may not work for everyone. In this case, you can explore plenty of Mercari alternatives for your selling and buying needs. 

You can crosspost your items on different platforms to increase sales: 

  • Poshmark: This is one of the best Mercari alternatives for fashionable items, beauty products, and home decor.
  • Depop: Another site like Poshmark that mainly focuses on unique fashion, including designer and vintage items.
  • eBay: eBay is among the leading online marketplaces worldwide. Like Mercari, it offers many items and connects millions of buyers and sellers.
  • Facebook Marketplace: This app is for you if you’re looking for local buyers or sellers. Facebook Marketplace lets you sell and buy items both locally and online.
  • OfferUp: Like Facebook Marketplace, OfferUp lets you transact with local buyers and sellers in your area. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Mercari Safe for Credit Cards?

Yes, Mercari is safe for credit cards. Your credit card information is securely managed with the highest level of security, so you shouldn’t worry about losing your money.

Is Meracari Like eBay?

Mercari has a better listing process for new sellers than eBay. However, eBay has many users and, therefore, more potential buyers.

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.

Will Mercari Refund Me If I Get Scammed?

Yes, Mercari has a buyer protection policy. It doesn’t release payments until the item is delivered and the buyer confirms it’s as described. 

If you haven’t received the item or it’s not as described in the listing, you can request a full refund within three days.

Final Thoughts

I hope this review helps you determine whether Mercari is legit and worth your time and effort. 

Whether you’re buying or selling, Mercari is a reputable platform with lower maintenance fees than similar platforms. 

I recommend Mercari for buying goods since it offers a diverse variety at reasonable prices. For sellers, the main advantage is getting connected to millions of buyers worldwide. 

You can maximize your earnings as a Mercari seller by cross-listing your products on similar platforms like eBay and Facebook Marketplace. 

Also, check out the Mercari alternatives to find something that works for you.

Looking for other ways to make money? Check out these posts:

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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