Buying and Selling Used Clothes Online: Is Poshmark Safe?

If you like to buy or sell used clothing and accessories, you may already know about the popular online store Poshmark.  Poshmark is one of many marketplace sites with over 70 million users where you can buy and sell old clothes for up to 70% off. 

However, is Poshmark safe?  The popular online marketplace is “legit,” so you needn’t worry about the website itself.  In fact, the site owners go to great lengths to protect users with a program called Posh Protect.  Although you can’t return a purchase due to a change of heart, you can ask for a full refund on any item that does not match the description given.  You can set up an online account and “posh” to your heart’s content without concerns about the site itself. 

How Poshmark Works

To buy, you use the site’s search functionality and menus to find sellers and styles you adore.  To sell, you write an accurate description then list your items through the Poshmark app.  It’s so easy, you’ll be up and running in minutes. 

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Moreover, you can feel good about where your money is going.  The company doubled its revenue in just one year, paying out over $2 billion to its millions of sellers, many of them small business operators — and women.  Buyers, too, can congratulate themselves for making the eco-conscious choice to rescue garments from our increasingly exhausted landfills. 

However, since anyone can sell on the platform, both buyers and sellers must engage with caution. Recent news reports remind users to be aware as a Florida woman paid $800 for a non-existent Louis Vuitton bag off Poshmark.  As with any online transaction, you must protect your money and your identity, ensuring that you engage in a fair exchange. 

Following are six of the best ways to avoid being scammed:

1. Use Poshmark’s Authorized Payment Method

Poshmark’s authorized system includes most of the primary digital wallet systems such as ApplePay, Venmo and PayPal, as well as all of the major credit cards.  When you use Poshmark, your banking information is protected.  Never agree to use an unauthorized payment method for any reason, whether for convenience or to save money.  If you do, Poshmark will not back you if there is a problem.  If the item is lost in transit, arrives damaged or the condition is misrepresented, you’re on your own. 

2. Don’t Cash Checks for Buyers

Along those same lines, scammers may give you a plausible reason why they can’t use PayPal.  They offer a cashier’s check, so what’s the problem?  No matter how tempted you are to accept a check, even one written for several dollars over the asking price, don’t do it:  A few days after you make the deposit, the bank notifies you that the check is no good, but it’s too late because the goods have already been shipped.  However, if you’re following rule number one (ahem!) regarding conducting your transactions within the Poshmark system, you shouldn’t have this issue.

3. Know Your Merchandise

Before you buy brand name or luxury goods, do your homework.  Visit the designer website to look at styles and price points.  Google how to identify counterfeit goods.  For example, the logo may be slightly off, the colors unusual or the stitching crooked.  If you examine the sole of a counterfeit Nike shoe, for example, you may notice that the tread is not uniform.  Ask for close-up pictures of stitching, tags, fabric, hardware and more.  An honest seller will gladly supply them.  Sellers, you must pay attention as well.  Familiarize yourself with how to identify authentic articles so that you don’t end up trying to pass off fabulous fakes as the real deal. 

4. Take Plenty of Photos

Whether you’re buying or selling, you need photos.   As a seller, you can avoid having your items rejected by taking pictures of every defect, no matter how minuscule.  If you are a buyer and you have a problem with the item, you’ll need to carefully photograph the issue.  If you are trying to prove something is counterfeit, it’s important, also, that you have pictures of the genuine article.

5. Confirm Before Shipping

A Poshmark account, like any other, can be hacked.  Although you may be able to recoup your losses if you are scammed in this way, you can save yourself the hassle.  Prior to shipping an item, send an email to thank the buyer for the purchase.  You can even request acknowledgement of the purchase.  But even if you don’t ask for confirmation, wait a day or two before shipping the package.

6. Review the Posher Profile

Each Posher has a profile.  You can tell how long they’ve been a member, how much they list and if they have followers.  You’ll also see “love notes,” which are reviews from other users.  Read the profile carefully.  It should be complete and older than a few months.  

When you’re selling high-end items, be particularly careful.  One popular scam is that the buyer claims the item is not as described and returns it to the seller.  However, the original item is swapped.  For example, the seller sends a London Fog trench coat and receives back a knockoff version or something entirely different.  Avoid doing business with Poshers who have an insufficient history of transactions. 

Shopping on Poshmark

Want extra assurance that you’re dealing with an upstanding Posher?  You can search by address on Spokeo to get more information about a buyer.  You may also be able to enter a Poshmark username, or any other information you may have about a buyer/seller (such as an email address or phone number) in Spokeo to discover their identity or find aliases used on other social media platforms.  There are great deals on Poshmark if you use the platform with care.

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