Poshmark is a peer-to-peer marketplace where people can sell new or used apparel and goods. On sitejabber.com, I analyzed 324 reviews on Poshmark–or one year’s worth of reviews starting on March 21, 2019 through March 21, 2020. I found that 44% of all buyer reviews claimed that the seller misrepresented the item for sale. This is a large source of friction, which leads to customers filing claims and ultimately, a low customer service rating. I wanted to dig deeper and find out how sellers and buyers are miscommunicating in their online transactions.
First, a little bit about how Poshmark works. To sell, Poshmark explains that you just take a picture of your item and upload it to your virtual closet. Then you share the item with your social network. According to Poshmark, the more you share, the more you sell. To buy, browse items and purchase. Orders should arrive in two days with Priority Mail.
The first source of misrepresentation is fraud. 19% of claims of misrepresentation mention fraud. One woman said, “counterfeits run rampant and are not reported because counterfeiters know how to make professional looking listings that will fool most users.” Others claim to have received fakes–from Burberry shirts to Louis Vuitton purses, from Christian Louboutin shoes to Gucci handbags. One way in which Poshmark tries to combat fraud is to certify the authenticity of luxury goods themselves, but it seems fraudulent pieces still make it past inspection.
The second source of misrepresentation is posting the wrong style or color of the actual merchandise. 21% of claims of misrepresentation mention wrong style and color. Buyers describe receiving women’s shirts when they thought they were buying men’s Polo’s. Others thought they were receiving a Nike jacket, but ended up with a sweatshirt. One woman thought she was buying hot pink shoes, but ended up with orange shoes.
The third source of misrepresentation is posting the wrong size. 30% of misrepresentation claims mention the merchandise received was the wrong size. One customer received a children’s size when he thought he was purchasing for adults: “I was misled by a seller that I was purchasing an adult size 10 shirt. It was quite clearly a kids small when I received it.” Others completely received the wrong size: “I ordered a pair of J Brand High Waisted Maria jeans on Poshmark. Not only was the tag completely different, but the size was off by about two sizes.”
The fourth source of misrepresentation is not disclosing damaged goods, which is mentioned in 39% of misrepresentation claims. One woman said, “the seller was 100% dishonest during her sell of the handbag to me in regards to not disclosing all of the damage including the extra ink pen stains in the inner pocket and the rip/tear at the seam of crease of another interior pocket that also was coated in that odd smelling brownish substance.” Another woman said, “The listing failed to describe the 25 plus stains it had, and also that the dress was altered, it was about 5-6 inches shorter than the original.”
In terms of selling on Poshmark, some reviewers thought that selling was too time-consuming. One person said that they had hundreds of followers added each day, but it did not translate into purchases. This is true for experienced sellers too, “I recently became a Poshmark Ambassador. Now I get a lot of people following me, I cannot keep up with it. I find that it takes too much time to promote and very little return on all the follows and promotions.”
On sitejabber.com, the reviews of Poshmark are very negative. The average rating for Poshmark given by buyers is 1.36 stars out of 5 stars. The average rating given by sellers is 1.64 stars out of 5 stars. One potential source of bias is that only the extremely dissatisfied customers would review on sitejabber.com. Therefore, I take my findings as an upper bound on how much misrepresentation is impacting Poshmark.