Mercari scams you need to know – Is Mercari Legit?

Chances are you have landed on this page trying to make a decision on whether you should trust Mercari as a legitimate platform.

The good news is we have all the information you need about this popular e-commerce right here in this article! 

After thorough research and personal experience with the platform, we have compiled a short guide on how to avoid the most common Mercari scams:

  • Watch Out for These Common Mercari Scams!
    • Offsite Transactions
    • Sellers Lying about Condition or Authenticity of Item
    • Buyers Falsely Claiming Damage
    • Sellers Changing Address after Shipping Item
    • Sellers Promising Solutions

What Is Mercari?

Before diving into Mercari scams you need to look out for, it is important to establish the legitimacy of the platform.

Mercari is an online marketplace for buying and selling brand new or used items; although it tends to largely attract resellers. While the platform is popular for its large collectibles niche (video games, limited edition items, figures etc.), it still remains a relatively diverse marketplace. 

What this means for sellers is that since it does not target a specific audience, there is a wide range of subcategories for most products that one would be interested in selling. Therefore, making profit successfully is possible with any type of item. 

The growing e-commerce was founded in Japan in 2013 but has since then become popular across the globe. Latest statistics have shown that it currently has over 20 million monthly users and 350K listings added daily by active sellers. 

So, it can safely be concluded that Mercari is indeed a legit online selling platform that already has and continues to gain significant popularity each year.

How Does Mercari Work?


What’s great about Mercari is that listing your items does NOT come with extra fees. The online platform makes most of its money from successful sales. Their fees are split into selling (10%) and payment processing fees (2.9% + $0.03), which will automatically be deducted from each individual sale once it is completed. 

This is all great news for Mercari users!

As profit is dependent on successful sales, the platform doesn’t benefit from scams and fraudulent activity, which can be seen in the extra steps they have taken to protect sellers and buyers alike. These include policies such as Shipping Protection, Buyer Protection, User Verification and Profile Badges. Don’t worry if you don’t know what these are, as they will be thoroughly explained as you keep reading this blog! 

What this means for people like you who might also be sitting on the fence about Mercari, is that it is a relatively safe marketplace to conduct business on (as long as it’s used correctly!).

Find out more about Mercari’s competitive fees here; including more about shipping fees!

Returns/Refunds Policy

Sellers are given 3 days to ship their item to the buyer, and once successfully received the buyer also has 3 days to either accept the purchase or request a refund. It is important to note that a refund will NOT be accepted- even within the 3-day timeframe-  if the buyer has already rated the product, as this is viewed as the completion of the order.  

In compliance with the Buyer Protection policy, any profit made from the sale is withheld by Mercari until the buyer has confirmed the receipt of the item. If this is not done within 3 days of the delivery date, the money will automatically be released to the seller. 

Items are eligible for returns when:

  • Not as described
  • Item is prohibited
  • Undisclosed damage to the item
  • Seller has not shipped the item
  • Incorrect and/or missing item

Items are not eligible for returns if:

  • Item was accurately described in the listing
  • Item does not fit 
  • Buyer changed their minds
  • Transaction was conducted outside the platform

Once the buyer has requested a refund, the seller is given 24-hours to either accept or deny it. If denied, Mercari will review evidence provided by both parties and decide on the appropriate outcome. 

Whether you are a seller or a buyer that is involved in a return appeal, it is important to stay active on the platform and respond within the appropriate time frames in order to reach a fair conclusion with minimal to no profit loss. 

Watch Out for These Common Mercari Scams!

Now that you have a basic understanding of what Mercari is and how it works, it is time to dive into the top scamming techniques you are likely to come across on the platform.

This is not to say that the platform is unsafe or sketchy, as it has been established that Mercari is a legit marketplace for used items that takes the prohibition of scammers seriously. However, scammers are everywhere, and it is virtually impossible to get rid of them; especially on a platform with millions of users!

Will you encounter Mercari scams? Unfortunately, the answer is yes..but that does not mean that you have to be a victim!

As long as you remain vigilant and follow Mercari’s policies, selling on this marketplace can be a great profit-making experience like no other.

Offsite Transactions

Requests to use a different payment method outside the platform is a Mercari scam as old as time. While it may seem common-sense to remain on the app for all sales, these requests can get quite tempting at times. 

As a seller, the idea of avoiding online platforms’ pesky fees may sound like an enticing alternative to make more profit. On the other hand, as a buyer you may be offered a better price if you accept to use an offsite payment method. 

These requests can be made in different ways. Some may get to the point straight away, asking you to transfer money through a different method as their account on Mercari isn’t accepting payment. Others may choose a less direct approach and ask you to continue your conversation on another messaging app, such as WhatsApp. Don’t be fooled! This conversation will always lead to the same request. 

While there is always the odd chance the person is actually honest, you shouldn’t be willing to risk it. Most of the time these are either people who want to take advantage of your naivety as a buyer/seller, or bots who are trying to steal your personal information, including your email and phone number. 

Either way, it is better to pay a few extra dollars in the form of fees or item price than losing all your money and confidential information!

In addition, it is important to note that Mercari can’t protect you if a sale has taken place outside their platform, so it is best practice to ALWAYS stay on the app. 

Crosslisting your items is a great way of increasing your profits and getting less tempted by enticing prices. With an automatic crosslisting tool, you can increase your odds of being seen across multiple marketplaces, and will therefore worry less about fees that can seriously decrease your revenue if you are only selling on one platform. 

Try crosslisting  for FREE and watch your sales grow!

Sellers Lying About Condition or Authenticity of Item

Another common Mercari scam that mainly affects buyers is the sale of fake or damaged goods. These items tend to have low prices that are almost too good to be true! Don’t get tempted to buy a Louis Vuitton bag for $30. While finding a bargain is the purpose of browsing reselling platforms like Mercari, some deals are simply off the table.

Another way sellers can convince you to make the purchase is by writing persuasive product descriptions that make the item appear of good quality. While good product descriptions tend to point to a good seller, it is imperative to make more effort to verify a seller. 

Thanks to the steps the platform has taken to prevent Mercari scams, there are a few features that exist to protect buyers and help them evaluate sellers:

  • Look for Verified Sellers

Mercari requires all sellers to verify themselves when registering on the app. This information will appear on the seller’s page, so make sure to check this out before trusting someone’s listings!

  • Opt for sellers with Seller Badges:

Mercari created this feature to reward sellers who are performing exceptionally on the platform. Some key badges and their meanings include:

  • Choose sellers with good customer reviews:

The more positive reviews, the lower the chances you will be a victim of a Mercari scam. Third-party feedback is great in the evaluation of a seller, so make sure to read through other customers’ opinions. It is recommended that the seller has at least 40+ positive reviews. 

  • Use Mercari Authenticate for luxury items:

This feature allows third parties to verify the authenticity of a designer product. Once this has been confirmed, a badge will be shown on the page of the listing. The majority of Mercari scams involve sales of fake items, therefore this is a great way to trust a seller’s product integrity.

  • Consider using Merpay Smart Payments:

This deferred payment service can be used through the app for any purchases and allows you to pay after a month. This means that if you find yourself in the unfortunate event where you have been scammed, you will at least be comforted by the fact that no money was lost. 

  • Use PayPal for all your transactions:

If Merpay isn’t for you, you will be glad to know that Mercari accepts PayPal payments. PayPal is widely known for its strong buyer protection policy, which gives you 180 days to file a dispute. While Mercari customer service should be your first choice in the case of a fraudulent situation, if they are unable to resolve it to your satisfaction, you can always turn to PayPal!

Buyers Falsely Claiming Damage 

Most sellers on any online selling platform will be painfully familiar with this one!

A popular Mercari scam directed at sellers involves buyers who will request a refund due to alleged product damages and other issues. 

Contrary to the common saying, customers are not always right and that is a common issue when you start a reselling business. While there isn’t much you can do to foresee these types of Mercari scammers, you can carry out a few housekeeping rules to minimise the chances of profit loss during those disputes, and even discourage scammers from choosing you as their next victim:

  • Create extremely detailed listings (Yes..extremely!)

While ‘extremely’ may sound like an intense word, it is important to emphasise the usefulness of being detailed across your entire listing. This means that you should include significant information in your title, description, and product photos. This can include the size, colour, country of origin, production date, dimensions and any other applicable information you can write about!

Customers are unlikely to read your entire product description, so a great way to include important information in your listing that is more likely to be viewed is by adding those features in your product photos. 

Mercari’s return policy claims that refunds will not be eligible if a product description has been accurate, therefore if you have done everything in your power to mention all features and flaws of your product, a scammer will quickly lose a refund dispute. 

Furthermore, scammers would be discouraged by a well-written listing, especially if they are familiar with Mercari’s return policy. Thus, doing this will decrease the likelihood of someone attempting to scam your business. 

  • Take clear pictures

Taking good quality product photos is another way of sharing details about your listing. Use multiple angles, and even model the product if applicable so the buyers can have the right expectations of the item. 

Staying consistent with the quality of your photos will also make you eligible for Mercari Seller Protection. This means that you will have maximum support by the Mercari team each time there is an issue. It will also make it easier for you to dispute a request return, as Mercari will not honour your claim if you aren’t eligible.

Find out more about using product photos effectively here.

  • Respond quickly to inquiries

As seen in Mercari’s return policy, time is key to successfully winning a refund claim. After a buyer has made this request, you have 24 hours to provide your evidence and feedback. If you miss this opportunity window, you will have no more chances to dispute their claim, leading to an inevitable profit loss. 

Sellers Changing Address After Shipping Item

While this isn’t one of the most common Mercari scams, as a buyer it is wise to be aware of it and ready to quickly act if you find yourself in this situation.

Some sellers who choose their own carrier service, as opposed to the Mercari shipping system, may sometimes ship a parcel containing paper or garbage (..while this may sound odd, yes this has happened multiple times!!).

Once they have updated the tracking information, they will call the shipping company and change the address to a random location in your area. The purpose of this is to keep you waiting for the expected parcel for more than 3 days in order for the return window to pass. As you are unable to file a return after this period, you will not be eligible to get your money back.

Therefore, you should always ensure that you stay on top of your tracking and contact Mercari if you notice that you have not received your parcel despite the status showing delivered.

Sellers Promising Solutions

Similarly to the previous Mercari scam, sketchy sellers may guarantee a solution to a customer enquiry after a shipment has been delivered, yet fail to follow through with it quickly. 

The purpose of this is to keep the buyers waiting until the 3-day return period passes, and leave them with a faulty product; unable to get their money back.

If a seller isn’t willing to resolve your enquiry as soon as possible, make sure you contact Mercari support and file a return within 3 days of receipt of an item.

In Conclusion…

Mercari is a legitimate platform that is great for resellers of any kind. Due to its dependency on successful sales for profit, the marketplace has strict prohibitions against Mercari scams that could lead to less profit for both sellers and the e-commerce itself. Therefore, it is safe to conclude that Mercari is a secure platform for sellers and buyers alike, as long as they move with caution and vigilance. 

Here at SellerAider, we want our community to stay safe while growing their reselling business across different platforms. Make sure to follow our advice on staying safe from common Mercari scams and we are certain you will be perfectly fine!