Buyers and Sellers Alike Feel They Got Scammed on Mercari

April 27, 2020

Mercari is a peer-to-peer marketplace where sellers offer used and new merchandise to buyers. The way it works is that a seller will post an item for sale and buyers will purchase the items. Once the good is delivered to the buyer, he has three days to rate the seller, return the item, or ask for a refund. Once the seller is rated, all sales are final. Also, after the three day window, all sales are final.

I conducted a study of one year’s worth of reviews, or 234 reviews, on Mercari from both buyers and sellers alike. The reviews came from sitejabber.com. I started on April 26, 2019 and ended on April 24, 2020.

Turning first to buyers, 57.9% of buyers did not receive the purchased merchandise, or received damaged or fake goods. One man said, “I purchased a set of apple AirPods 2nd generation for my daughter for Christmas. They did come sealed and everything looked ok but we were having firmware issues so we had the Apple store look at them only to find out that they are counterfeit.” Another woman said, “I thought I was purchasing a ‘buttery leather’ authentic Burberry handbag with care booklet and dust bag.” She discovered that the bag was counterfeit after getting it authenticated. After filing a claim with Mercari, their response was, “too bad so sad.”

One issue that goes hand in hand with getting the wrong or damaged merchandise is filing for a return. It seems that many of the reviewers filed claims outside the 3 day window or after they had already rated the seller or marked the item as received. One man said, “I received a defective $50 electronic device, but because I didn’t know that I only had 3 days to request a return I am stuck with a defective item with no recourse!”

There were some buyers who could not get a refund even within Mercari’s published window for a refund. One woman said, “Seller sold me a misrepresented item: shirt was to be a XL and it was only a Large. I contacted the seller within an hour of receiving the item and seller said they would take back/refund, but did nothing.” Another woman said, “Purchased computer system and it arrived damaged, contacted Mercari the day it arrived and it’s been two weeks still no response!”

Turning to sellers, I found that 18.9% of sellers did not get paid for their merchandise. One woman said, “[The buyer] claimed to have not received her goods and was refunded her money. So she is keeping the goods and the money.” Another man said, “Sold an item and while in transit with the Mercari Pre-paid carrier the buyer cancelled. So the Buyer got the item and I never got a cent.”

Another 25.2% of sellers claimed that their accounts were closed, locked, or suspended even though they still had a balance. One seller said, “I had an account and then one day without any notice they closed my account and kept my cash balance!” Another seller said, “My complaint is that without notice they completely deleted my account without sending me any messages. And they claim that because I was in violation that I will not get my product or my money for my items shipped!”

Finally, around 9% of sellers said that they did not get the returned item back, or received their returned items damaged. One woman said, “Sold an Brand New Item, Buyer filed a return 3 days later and what I got back was a different item that was completely shredded.” Another woman said, “A customer received a sheet of stamps packed in a clear plastic bag with two pieces of cardboard to protect the item. The buyer claimed I didn’t pack it right and they were ruined. They wanted to not only keep the item but wanted their money back.”

Buyers and sellers alike feel like they got scammed on Mercari. In the case of buyers, over 50% did not get their merchandise, or received damaged or fake merchandise. Furthermore, Mercari’s return policy left buyers wanting. In the case of sellers, about 19% did not get paid for their merchandise. Another 25% of sellers had their accounts suddenly shut down with balances still in them. Finally, sellers have a hard time getting back their returned items at all and in good shape.

The average number of stars sellers awarded Mercari was 1.59. The average number of stars buyers awarded Mercari was 1.31. Therefore, both buyers and sellers alike had major complaints using Mercari as a peer-to-peer marketplace.

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