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I’ve been shopping with ThredUp, an online gently used clothing boutique for women and children, for several years now. I shop there far more frequently than I shop anywhere else except for the grocery store and Amazon. Until recently, it’s where I bought probably 90% of my clothing.
But I’ve never wanted to send in a bag to sell because I have heard rumors circulating that the pay is very disappointing for the clothing and that ThredUp seems unreasonably picky. In short, I didn’t want to get a bad taste in my mouth for a company I love so much so I just kept trekking as a shopper and not as a seller there.
But after many, MANY requests from readers to please give it a go and report back, I decided to just go for it. So in April of this year I requested a “clean out” bag from ThredUp. There is no fee to request the bag, and there is no up front fee to send it back filled with your stuff you no longer want. There is, however, a $4.99 processing fee that is taken out of whatever they offer you once they go through your bag. If they don’t offer you at least $4.99 my understanding is that they waive the outstanding fee so that you don’t owe them money, but you won’t actually be collecting money, either.
Wait a second…why wouldn’t you AT LEAST be earning $4.99 for a big bag of clothing??? Well, let me tell you all the reasons based on the experience I just had.
- The warnings are true: ThredUp is RIDICULOUSLY picky. I sent in 33 items that had already been edited by me for stains, being “worn” or just being out of style. I sent in Gymboree stuff new with tags that my kids just didn’t want to wear. Those NWT items were rejected if that gives you an idea of how unreasonably picky they can be. I had 15 items, in total, accepted for sale. That means that I had 18 items that ThredUp is going to donate. They are going to get the donation credit, and not me. I knew going in that it was a risk I was going to take, but I am still really disappointed with the result as I thought I had done a decent job of pre-screening. I was expecting to get around 75% of my items selected.
- The pay is SOOOOO low. For 12 of the items I sent in, they offered an up front payment of $7.63 (but then $4.99 got taken away for processing, leaving me with $2.64). This payout isn’t itemized by item, so I don’t really know what percentage I’m being offered, but it is LOW. It comes out to .63/item before the processing fee just to give you an idea. I could have made more per item at a garage sale! Already 3 of the 12 pieces have sold and ThredUp has made $23.98, with 9 more items from me still left to sell. I know this because you can see exactly what they list it for in your seller history and when it sells.
- They will offer things on consignment. This is another thing I just didn’t realize. If they want to buy your item but have concerns that it might take a little while to sell (for example, you send in something long sleeved that gets processed in June) they won’t pay you up front, but will list the item on consignment. You still get a crappy pay out (usually 10%, though it looks like they will offer me 20% for a blazer) but you can’t have the money until it sells. So that is another $6.00 that I can earn but I can’t have it right now and I’m not holding my breath because it might take a few months to sell. So already ThredUp is making out like a bandit, giving just 10% of what they will sell an item for to the seller, and then they won’t even take a tiny risk if they think it might not sell until the weather shifts and go ahead and pay you for the items. LAME, y’all.
- The wait for your pay is LONG. I sent the bag in late April. It was processed on June 15th (it was supposed to be June 13th but whatever) and I was offered not enough money for an iced coffee at Starbucks on June 16th. That’s a really long time to wait for less than $3, friends.
I let go of everything I put in that bag, emotionally, and declared it a worthy experiment to do for myself and for my readers. And it was certainly much easier to stuff a bag with clothes than to set up a garage sale or tag items for consignment. But now that I’ve seen what the return is (not even worth the time I had to spend waiting in line at the post office and the gas it took to get there!), I will NEVER EVER send clothes to ThredUp again. Instead, I will try out Swap.com next and report back on how that works out (they pay a much higher commission at 30%), and I will also continue to take clothes to my favorite local thrift store. I do feel bad now that all those clothes didn’t stay local and help support a nonprofit that does good work in the community. I bet the clothing I had in that bag could have made at a bare minimum $60 for Northside Neighborhood House. It was not at all worth giving that up for $2.64 in my pocket. 🙁
Have you ever sold to ThredUp? What was your experience like? Did you do better than me or about the same? Ever shopped with them? If not, my link will get you $10 to use on your first purchase. At least the shoppers can get a good deal, if not the sellers!