Mercari is a platform to purchase used items, which is gaining more and more popularity in the US. However, you may not trust the platform well enough since it is less known. Is Mercari legit? Can you get scammed on Mercari?
Mercari is a legitimate platform, as it exists as a listed company in Japan. Mercari also offers a strong buyer protection guarantee, with buyers able to get their money back if products don’t arrive or are not as described. However, scammers try to work their way around the system, so you should still be careful
This post discusses Mercari as a platform, how it works, and if it is legitimate. We also discuss how scammers may try to work around the safety systems within Mercari and how you can protect yourself.
What Is Mercari?
Mercari is a shopping platform allowing users to anonymously buy and sell used goods. Once a product is sold, customers have three days to ship the product out. Once customers confirm receiving the product, the seller gets the money minus a 10% commission for Mercari. Mercari may be a more secure version of Craigslist.
Mercari is a Japanese e-Commerce company founded in 2013; they company was founded by Shintaro Yamada. Within a year of launching the marketplace app, it reached over one million listings.
Mercari entered the United States in 2014, establishing its office in San Francisco. Since then, it has accumulated over 40 million app downloads in the US and has reached as high as third place on the US App Store rankings. Mercari entered the UK in 2016 but decided to exit the market in 2018 as a ‘temporary retreat.’
Users love Mercari for the speed of how it works. Users can quickly list the products for sale, and then once sold, they can ship their goods away anonymously. The payment system is also transparent, and Mercari does not seem too protective of buyers or sellers.
How Does Mercari Work?
Users start by downloading the marketplace app. When a user makes a purchase, Mercari keeps the money and instructs the seller to ship the product out within three days. When the product arrives at the buyer’s hand and is confirmed to be in the expected condition, Mercari releases the money to the seller minus 10% commission.
Mercari works like a broker, a middleman, connecting the buyer and seller. For every successful transaction, Mercari stands to take a 10% commission from the transaction.
If you intend to list your items for sale at Mercari:
- Start by installing the Mercari app on your phone and opening an account.
- You list your product and your price.
- If a buyer buys your product, Mercari takes the buyer’s money, deducts 10% commission, and holds the money.
- You have three days to ship the product out to the buyer. If you fail, the money will be returned to the seller.
- Once the buyer receives the goods, the buyer can inspect them to confirm that they are in acceptable condition.
- Once the buyer confirms, you receive the money from Mercari minus the 10% commission.
- Suppose the buyer does not confirm three days after the product has arrived. In that case, Mercari automatically assumes that the product does not have issues and releases the money to you, again minus the 10% commission.
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Is Mercari Legit?
Mercari Is a legitimate platform for many reasons. It is listed on the Japanese stock exchange and has a legitimate and proper method of generating revenue. It also has implemented various policies to protect buyers and sellers, with a fair way of handling the money like an escrow system.
In short, you can safely use Mercari to purchase your used goods for many reasons:
Mercari Is A Publicly Listed Company
One of the telltale signs of an illegitimate company or corporation is that they are not registered. They may be registered as offshore companies that do not reveal much information about the owners and transactions if they are.
Mercari does not do this. It is a proper entity registered in Japan. It is also a publicly listed company, with its shares trading on the Japanese Stock Exchange. The company has a face in its founder and CEO, Shintaro Yamada.
Mercari Has a Legitimate Way Of Generating Revenue
Scams often rely on an unsustainable method of generating revenue, relying on a Ponzi-like revenue system.
In a Ponzi system, companies use money from new customers to pay for older customers. These companies also do not report their finances. These entities eventually collapse, leaving the masterminds rich and the victims out of their money.
Mercari reports its finances in its quarterly financial filing with the Japanese Stock Exchange. It also openly shows how it makes money, mostly through the 10% commission generated from every sale they make. This source of revenue is also legitimate and is sustainable long term.
Mercari Takes Care of Both The Buyers And Sellers
Mercari has a fair policy that takes care of its users; the platform is fair to both the buyer and the seller as well. They essentially function as a middleman and an escrow.
Mercari takes the money from the buyer when a purchase is made. However, it holds on to the money and does not immediately release the money to the seller. This protects the buyer, preventing him from not receiving anything after payment is made. If the seller does not ship the item three days after, Mercari returns the money to the buyer.
Once the seller sends the product out, Mercari still does not release the money to the seller. The buyer needs to confirm that the product is acceptable. Mercari only releases the funds to the seller when the buyer confirms this.
However, Mercari also understands the sellers also want their money. Suppose the buyer does not update the product’s condition three days after receiving it. In that case, Mercari will assume the product is fine and release the money to the seller.
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How To Avoid Being Scammed On Mercari?
To avoid being scammed on Mercari, always transact within the app. Do not buy anything too cheap to be true. Avoid products with vague descriptions, and always verify the seller by checking their profile. Finally, always check carefully whenever you purchase something to ensure they are what you are looking for.
Despite Mercari being a legitimate and safe platform to transact, scammers constantly try to find their way around the system. You still need to be careful and protect yourself from scammers.
Too Cheap To Be True? Beware
When an item is priced at a ridiculously low price, chances are they are fake or have defects not mentioned properly. Always check properly before purchasing, including verifying the price of the product brand new first.
Vague Descriptions? Beware
If you buy something on Mercari and are not happy with it, you can only get your money back if the item is not what was described. Sellers who are not honest know this, so they often post vague ads that might be misleading but are not always a scam. You should not buy anything unless the product description tells you exactly what it is and how it works.
Verify the Seller
Mercari has systems where you can verify a seller. A good seller would have badges that indicate their commitment to their customers, such as being fast in reply and a fast shipper. You can also view how long the seller has been around. Sellers with a long history and good badges are usually honorable. As if they were not, they would not last this long.
Always Transact Within Mercari
Some sellers may advertise their products in Mercari but try to lure you into transferring payments outside. Once they receive the payment, they disappear. This means you reject transaction requests outside Mercari and always make your payment in the app.
Confirm The Tracking Number
After buying an item, always ask and confirm the delivery number with the seller. This is a way to verify the seller is taking your order seriously.
Suppose the seller does not give you a tracking number. In that case, you should ask for a refund because you cannot confirm that the seller has shipped the item out, and you have grounds to doubt the seller’s honesty.
You can request a refund 7 days after purchase if no tracking code is given. Mercari will automatically refund you even if the seller says the item has been sent.
Check In Detail After Receiving Item
You have three days after getting an item to check and confirm the product’s condition. If the product is not satisfactory enough to your inspection, or does not fit the description, you can request a refund. The key is to check in detail as sellers may try to send you fake goods that may look genuine but may need a proper detailed inspection to detect.