Mar 30, 2013

10 tips for buying
used goods on the internet

let's see...amidst this barrage of information regarding thrifting, i covered my general tips on buying used goods. i also listed some obvious sources of vintage home decor...as well as some places that can be found around the neighborhood.

now, let's take a quick break from the sourcelist and review a few things i've learned about buying "used" on the internet:

1. verify the images in the ad are of the actual product being sold and NOT a stock photo. check this by doing a google search by image -- the only picture that should pop up is the listing you are looking at (...and maybe one or two other places if the seller listed on multiple sites to increases chances of selling. verify they are the same seller.).

2. always check and re-check the measurements, especially if you're buying a large and/or expensive item. especially if it's non-returnable. obviously, make sure the space you want to place the object is sufficient -- but also make sure large pieces will fit through doorways, up staircases, etc.

3. ask away! don't hesitate to contact the seller for clarification on details of the item, shop policies, shipping timeframe, etc. know exactly what you're getting before handing over your money.
      also...don't forget to ask about smell. a chair may look perfect for your living room, but what if it reeks of cigarette smoke??

4. check the seller's feedback. if there aren't many reviews, ask the seller if they have other sources of feedback you can review.

5. time to dig: once the seller has provided their name, email, phone number, any personal information...google it. check for red flags.

6. when possible, pay by credit card. it's the easiest way to get your money back in cases of fraud (item not as described, item never arrived, etc)

7. when having an item shipped, ask for the package to be insured if it is valuable or easily breakable. rates start at $1.95.

8. if you're picking up in person, try to wait until someone big, beefy, and/or intimidating can go with you. at the very least, always let someone know the exact address (and any other information you have) of where you're going.

9. with your beefy friend watching on, test a piece in person before handing over the cash. sit in it, wobble it, look underneath it, etc. verify it matches the description online.

10. use common sense! if something feels off, if the deal looks too good to be true...it probably is. sigh.

are there any tips you'd add to the list?
let me know in the comments!

interested in my thrifting series?
      - 25 sources for vintage home decor: part onepart twopart three
      - keep up with my thrifting buys on instagram @meandering_mari!

* mari


  1. Tip #1 is such a great idea! It never even ran across my mind to do that. Highly recommend #2. I know I often get so excited and caught up in an item that I easily can forget all about the measurements!

    1. yes, and the reverse has also happened to me many times: i'm so excited for an item, thinking it's a huge honkin' statement piece...then am so disappointed by the dinkiness that arrives.

  2. #2 is probably a good idea no matter where you are getting the item from :)


    1. true, katie! i think i'm definitely more prone to measurement mistakes when shopping online, which is why it ended up on this list, ha!

  3. Thank you for these useful tips. My brother and I love to buy second hand items on the Internet because you certainly find several amazing pieces at lower prices. However, I have to admit that we are not that careful as we should be. These tips are worth taking note of! Keep your posts coming!


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.