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Can you get scammed on Mercari?

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  • 5 min read

Mercari is a website where people can trade secondhand goods. It was established in Japan in 2013 and soon became well-known worldwide. Users can easily put up their items for sale using the Mercari app, which can be downloaded for free from both the App Store and Google Play.

This article discusses whether Mercari is safe to use and the types of scams buyers and sellers may face.

Is Mercari safe to use?

Yes, Mercari is a reliable option for online shopping. It’s known for its safety measures and offers a secure transaction space. However, as with any online platform, there are potential risks, like encountering sellers who aren’t entirely trustworthy. If you’re using Mercari, it’s smart to be careful. As the platform gains popularity, there’s a chance that scammers might try to take advantage of it.

Also read: Can you get scammed on eBay?

Types of scam buyers may face

Mercari is a great place to find awesome deals, but there are a few sneaky scams to be aware of:

  • Fake seller: Some sellers may take your money without delivering your purchased item, possibly providing false tracking information. Check seller reviews before buying, avoiding those with little or no history.
  • Fake item scam: Beware of attractive deals on designer items that are cheap knockoffs. Crafty sellers use appealing photos and descriptions to pass off fakes as genuine. Always scrutinise listing details and images.
  • Hidden shipping costs: Be cautious of unexpectedly high shipping fees at checkout, which can negate any savings on a seemingly good deal. Factor in shipping costs before completing your purchase to ensure a fair deal.
  • Switcheroo scam: Some sellers may send a different item than you ordered, hoping you won’t notice. Thoroughly inspect your package upon arrival to ensure it matches your order and isn’t a cheaper or defective substitute.

Tips for buyers to avoid such scams

Here are a few tips for buyers to avoid getting scammed on Mercari:

  • Investigate the seller: Before purchasing, thoroughly check the seller’s ratings, reviews, and transaction history. Positive feedback from previous buyers indicates a trustworthy seller. Avoid those with negative reviews or suspicious behaviour.
  • Review item descriptions: Carefully read the description, focusing on its condition, specifications, and any relevant details. Look for information about the seller’s return policy. If there are uncertainties, contact the seller for clarification before buying.
  • Use secure payment methods: Stick to Mercari’s secure payment options like PayPal, Apple Pay, or integrated card payments. Avoid alternative payment methods outside of Mercari to reduce the risk of scams. Be cautious if a seller insists on a different payment method.
  • Review return and refund policies: Familiarise yourself with Mercari’s return and refund policies to know your rights. Ensure the terms are fair and reasonable. If a seller’s policy seems overly restrictive, consider it a warning sign of their reliability.

Types of scam sellers may face

Being a seller on Mercari can be a great way to make some extra cash, but watch out for these tricks some buyers might try:

  • False claim dispute: Buyers on Mercari may falsely dispute legitimate purchases, claiming items were never received or significantly different from descriptions, resulting in chargebacks for sellers.
  • Transactions outside Mercari: Scammers persuade sellers to conduct transactions off-platform to avoid fees, leaving sellers vulnerable to fraud and non-payment without Mercari’s protections.
  • Return fraud: Dishonest buyers exploit Mercari’s return policy by falsely claiming items are damaged or not as described after use, returning different or damaged goods and causing losses for sellers.
  • Phishing scams: Sellers receive fraudulent emails or messages appearing to be from Mercari, requesting sensitive information or leading to malicious links, risking account compromise and personal data exposure.

Tips for sellers to avoid such scams

Here are a few tips for sellers to avoid getting scammed on Mercari:

  • Stick to Mercari’s messaging system: Use Mercari’s built-in messaging system to communicate with buyers. Avoid sharing personal contact details or conducting transactions outside the platform, as this limits Mercari’s ability to assist in case of disputes.
  • Choose secure shipping methods: Select a reliable and trackable shipping method when sending items. Consider services that offer delivery confirmation or require a recipient’s signature. This helps mitigate the risk of false claims of non-receipt by buyers.
  • Document the item’s condition: Before shipping, thoroughly document the item’s condition with clear photos from various angles. These images indicate if a buyer disputes the item’s condition upon receipt. Documenting the item’s condition helps protect sellers and ensures fair resolution in disagreements.
  • Trust your instincts: When dealing with suspicious buyers or transactions, trust your instincts. If something feels off, exercise caution and consider declining the sale. Prioritise your safety and avoid scams by trusting your intuition, ultimately ensuring a secure experience on Mercari.

Also read: Can you get scammed on StubHub?

Akash Singh

Akash is a law graduate who likes to go for bike rides on the weekends soul-searching for answers to his many existential questions. You can contact him here:

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