5 reasons why selling on an online marketplace is risky

Online marketplaces are the so-called easy way to sell your old possessions – but don’t be fooled by their seeming usefulness. While an online marketplace can be helpful when shifting second-hand items, these platforms don’t come without risks.

Read on to find out why you might want to reconsider selling on an online marketplace and what to do with your unwanted items.

In this blog:

The downsides to selling on an online marketplace

Selling fees and charges

a calculator on top of several bills of money with a notepad and pen to work out fees


When you sell on an online marketplace, you will usually be charged a selling fee. This fee is typically a percentage of the sale price, ranging from around 5% to 20%.

In addition to selling fees, you may also be charged other fees by the marketplace, such as listing fees, final value fees, and even payment processing fees. These fees can add up quickly and eat into your profits!

Before you decide to sell on an online marketplace, be sure to research the fees that you will be charged. That way, you can make an informed decision about whether or not selling on the marketplace is right for you.

Lack of buyer or seller protection

When you sell on an online marketplace, you are essentially working with strangers. There is no guarantee that the person you are selling to will actually pay you for your item or that the person you are buying from will send you the item they promised.

Because of this lack of buyer or seller protection, it is riskier to buy and sell on these platforms. If you do decide to sell on an online marketplace, be sure to take precautions to protect yourself.

For example, only ship items after you have received payment and keep track of all communication between you and the buyer or seller. If something goes wrong, it will be easier to resolve the issue if you have a record of your conversations.

Some online marketplaces offer a certain level of protection, so as long as you do some research and choose wisely, it is possible to sell on these platforms safely.

Potential for bad reviews

A set of smiley faces with tick boxes next to them showcasing reviews

As you may know, one bad review can change everything. If you’re looking to sell a fair few items, reviews really do matter. One downside to online marketplaces is that buyers can leave reviews; in some cases, these can negatively impact your future sales.

Whether it’s due to miscommunication or just a disgruntled customer, getting a bad review on your account can put off any future customers coming your way. If you’ve put lots of time and effort into your listings, a bad review can shatter all your hard work.

Visibility is hard

The number of online marketplace platforms has increased in recent years, making it harder for sellers to stand out. With so much competition, it can be difficult to attract buyers to your listing.

If you’re considering selling on an online marketplace, be aware of the difficulties you may face in getting your items seen and purchased by buyers. You’ll need to work hard to make your listing stand out from the competition, and you may need to lower your prices to compete with all the other sellers on the platform.

It’s time-consuming

A hand holding a small white clock

It can be time-consuming to sell on an online marketplace and requires a lot of effort. You have to take pictures of your items, write descriptions, set prices, and ship them out once sold. And if you want to be successful, you must do all this for each item you sell.

If you’re only selling one or two second-hand items, it’s not too much trouble. But if you’re selling a handful of things, it can take a lot of time.

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