Myth Vs. Fact About the Glossy Popular Resale Site from a 4-Year Posh Ambassador
Want to know if Poshmark is a legit website for buyers? Here’s the juice from a Posh Ambassador and buyer. My story starts humbly. The year: 2020. The place: My studio apartment. The goal: Try to pare down what I owned, while keeping the nice pieces in circulation and out of the trash/ charity ‘donation’ rabbit hole. The solution: Positing my items for sale.
Is Poshmark worthwhile as a Buyer? Bottom line: Poshmark has a wealth of second-hand pieces that are waiting to find a new life with someone who will use and cherish them. It’s good for the planet, and you can find brands not accepted by local consignments and/ or online markets such as ThredUp or The Real Real, but that are still far too nice to simply recycle.
For babies and kids, Poshmark can be a shining star of hope to lower costs on nice quality items with name-brand pieces that truly are barely used.
But in the world of adult clothes, accessories, and other items such as electronics, Poshmark is much less legit. Since late 2020, I’ve sold 40 pieces of clothing, 38 of which were from my personal closet. In that same time, I’ve spent 15x what I’ve earned, and at least 1/3 of it (I calculated!) was wasted money/ hard lessons learned. Here for your benefit are some of those hard lessons, so you too won’t lose money on Poshmark needlessly.
1. MYTH: I’ll find bargain deals on Poshmark
FACT: Poshmark fees keep prices inflated
The Poshmark platform imposes an alleged 20% fee on sellers for every item sold. But if a seller sends you an offer with discounted shipping, the difference between the shipping cost and standard $8 shipping is taken out of the seller’s profit as well. Sellers with items listed for $5 and offering discounted shipping of $4.99 are earning 2¢ ($0.02), which hardly makes any of it worth the time and effort. An $8 listing earns $2.05 if they offer $6 shipping; that’s close to 74% being taken by the platform.
The shipping is killer on the buyer’s side, however, with a whopping $8 flat fee added to every purchase. Sellers can offer you free or discounted shipping, but it comes from their own profits, not Poshmark’s. If a seller offers you an $8 item with $6 shipping (which they HAVE to do to send an offer), that seller is earning 5¢ ($0.05) so they’re basically giving you the item for free. If you buy a $5 piece in an auction (which happens frequently if you’re the only bidder on a low start), you have to pay the full $8 shipping fee and again, the seller basically gave the item away.
You might be thinking, “Wait… I’d still have to pay $13-14 even though the seller is earning nothing?!” Yes, yes you do. Poshmark wins and buyer AND seller lose on so-called bargain items, which makes Poshmark NOT legit AT ALL for this type of buyer or seller.
Contrast this to an experience I had purchasing an awesome lace-and-embroidered romper at a local secondhand/ consignment store for $5 or a Levi’s jean skirt from Goodwill for $3. If you want a true bargain, getting off the couch is the way to go.
2. MYTH: I’ll find that amazing “new-with-tags” piece from the back of someone’s closet
FACT: Most new-with-tags pieces for sale are irregular/ unsellable in shops/ returns/ mark-offs and/ or samples
This myth is what Poshmark’s ads want you to believe about the site, but it’s definitely not legit. If you find a “NWT” (new-with-tags) piece, it’s more likely from an enterprising boutique than an individual seller trying to move things out of their personal closet. Why? Poshmark’s own Wholesale market is flooded with items from Amazon pallets, shelf pulls, deadstock, samples, department store returns, and wholesale merchandise of Shein quality being sold at boutique prices. (I have no proof but I could bet there are a ton of fenced items being sold new on Poshmark as well.)
The end result of Poshmark Wholesale is that sellers have no barriers to entry other than buying product:
- Resellers are free to list prices at whatever they see fit/ think they can get.
- No intervening expert, such as a consignment or thrift shop owner, is there to vet the quality, desirability, or actual market value of the products.
- There is no guarantee of quality or authenticity.
- This translates to a huge profit margin for the reseller, even with fees, as the average Posher doesn’t look into the actual value or cost of the items.
I ran into these issues a couple of times, and it feels scammy since you can’t return the items. I thought what I bought would have been better quality and if I’d seen and felt the items beforehand I never would have paid what I did. One example is a pair of NWT Sorel sneakers, which were listed for $110 with a full price of $140. After receiving several offers and comments about sale prices, I finally accepted the seller’s offer for $85, so with shipping and tax, they still cost about $100. After buying, I looked up the shoes to see how good the deal was, and it turned out to be last year’s model, which was being sold on the very legit and reputable Saks Fifth Avenue website for $52.49 + free shipping! Even worse, the shoes didn’t last 6 months without the leather cracking and coming unglued, and I already sent them for recycling. In contrast, I still have and wear a pair of Sorel rain boots I bought from Nordstrom in 2017.
This doesn’t mean there are no new, quality items from the back of someone’s personal closet– just that those are as rare as they would be in a thrift or consignment shop. (And often drowned out by aggressive, profit-seeking resellers.) If you find an item that seems too good to be true, the first thing you should do is go to the seller’s shop page. If they list dozens (or hundreds) of NWT items, it’s best to avoid buying from them. But if they only have one or a few NWT among their listings, or they have very few other listings at all, the listing is more likely from a legitimate “from my closet” seller – and you probably have found that gem.
3. MYTH: Rich people are on Poshmark selling authentic luxury goods at bargain prices
FACT: Assume any bargain-priced luxury item on Poshmark is fake, especially NWT items
This is where Poshmark really loses legitimacy, and where other online marketplaces such as The Real Real, Vestaire Collective, and ThredUp have picked up the slack. Even eBay offers authenticity guarantees. Poshmark, however, will not authenticate your item if the sale price falls below $500.
Poshmark notoriously does not allow returns unless the buyer can prove the item is “not as described”. So if you buy a luxury item for under $500, even if with shipping and/ or tax it crosses over the $500 mark, it is on YOU to authenticate the item within 3 days of receiving it. If you don’t do so, you’re stuck with a very expensive worthless item.
If you find a piece you believe is authentic and can’t resist buying, plan in advance how you will authenticate it. Many online sites offer examples of areas where replicas fall short, so find those in advance and know what to look for. If a local shop will appraise for free, call and make an appointment to bring your item in.
Got a fake? You will need to open a case within the 3-day window and send ample photos of the item where it differs from the authentic piece. If an expert has appraised it (which would be at your own time and potentially expense), that person’s affirmation that the piece is a replica can also be included. Be prepared for pushback from the seller.
I had a run-in with a scam seller when buying Ray-Bans, which I documented on Instagram. New Ray-Ban sunglasses fall below the $500 mark usually anyway, but $70 + taxes and shipping for a worthless pair would have been a rip-off. The seller insisted the sunglasses were genuine, even though what I received didn’t even match the photos in the listing. Fortunately, the seller agreed to a refund. But when I sent the glasses back, the address was “undeliverable”, so the fake Ray-Bans came back to me, AND the scammer got paid. Worst of all, despite reporting them a few times, that seller is still out there, with hundreds of “brand-new” quality brand sunglasses listed for sale.
4. MYTH: I’ll find legit great deals at Poshmark auctions
FACT: You’ll probably pay about the same as making an offer
Auctions have a floor price of $3 starts, as set by Poshmark. The seller earns $2.25 on that $3 item, and you pay $11 + tax because there are no shipping discounts. Bundling multiple items from the seller during the auction helps disperse the shipping cost. In my experience and opinion, winning a $3 item is paying $11+ for a $3 item.
There are few auctions that start items below $5 now, because bidders were winning single items at $3, and a $2.25 “profit” doesn’t make it even worth the time you spend introducing that product and showing it to buyers, much less the cost of organizing the show. Plus again, there are a lot of resellers that hoped the prices would be bid up, but once buyers won $3 items they didn’t want to pay more when they could just go to another show. So those items sold at a tangible financial loss in addition to the time sunk, and now you’ll find would-have-been $3 items selling for $5; which as the buyer means you get a $3 item for $13.
Here’s the thing: Getting an offer from the seller has to include a shipping discount, so a seller offering you an item for $8 + $5 shipping costs you roughly the same amount as winning a $5 item at an auction. A seller offering you $8 is probably trying to move an item out, or else it’s a percentage off of the list price. Either way, you’d actually be getting a nicer item for the same total cost.
And that’s the other thing about auctions: They create an impulsive buying frenzy if done correctly. The offer they send you is likely to be about the same total cost for you and may even be less than bidding on a desirable item in an auction that started low but sells for about average. I’ve won items at auction that were being bid up in the excitement of the moment, only to realize I’d ended up paying 80% of the list price anyway, and didn’t get a shipping discount.
If you bundle from a seller, the offer they send you may well average out to about the same price per item, plus you get a shipping offer.
Final advice: Poshmark is legit, but Posh with caution
If you’ve made it to the end of this article, then you’re ready to cautiously proceed! While Poshmark is full of scammers and schemers, there are legit sellers out there with pieces that are amazing. Oftentimes those pieces would be rejected by second-hand or consignment shops like Buffalo Exchange or even online versions like ThredUp. Plus it saves you the time of hunting at a charity thrift shop.
It also gives socially conscious buyers and sellers the chance to keep secondhand pieces in circulation, as they are better for the environment and for workers than new products are. That’s why I got into it, and I’m getting back to that truth now.
New users, save $10 on your first Poshmark.com purchase using code CATECATLAX! Use the link to download the app. Navigate to my Poshmark closet to check it out too, although if you want the best deals from Wearing Conscious, they’re right here on the site 🙂. Happy thrifting!