Today marks the finalization of a transaction between ThredUP.com and me. If you’ve never heard of ThredUP, it is one of many websites trending with the online-consignment-shop concept that you can send them your gently used clothing and have them buy these pieces off you for a fraction of the price they’re going to sell them for on the website – meaning that you can also shop a vast selection of clothing that their team has selected from other people like you.
I hadn’t heard anything about other users’ experience with the website before, so I decided to take a gamble and try their “closet clean-out service” since I had a lot of clothing – some of which I’d only worn less than a handful of times or not at all – that could be better off in a new home. So, I requested their big green polka-dot bag, which they ship to you for free. It is a giant bag that you use to stuff to the brim, and then drop off at Fed Ex (they’ve already got the shipping covered for you). I dropped off my clothing early December of last year, and they sent me a notification saying that they received my bag on December 18, 2013.
That’s when I began to feel frustrated. They send me a few e-mail notifications claiming that they had a large volume of bags to go through since the interest and use in their service had dramatically increased suddenly, but that I could still expect to receive a pay-out by January 22, 2014. So, I shrugged it off – nothing much I could do about it. I waited until January 23 to e-mail them when I did not see a payment in my account. I e-mailed customer service to inquire about the status of my bag. The response was that there was an item delaying the process, but that they would try to push it into processing so that I could receive my payout, and that they would get back to me when they received an update.
I waited five days. By then, I was getting extremely frustrated and was becoming more and more convinced that the website was a scam, particularly since I had never heard anyone talk about it before and their customer service was not responding to my e-mails. After some hassling and complaining on their Facebook page, I finally got my pay-out, and they told me I had a bag of the clothing pieces they did not take in the mail. I was able to transfer the funds to my Paypal account, with a 2% transaction fee imposed by Paypal. I ended up netting about $124 from the whole transaction.
So, would I recommend ThredUP? Yes and no.
- If you’ve got a bunch of clothing you’d like to get rid of quickly, doing this through ThredUP.com may not be the quickest. Their processing time, as I’ve learned from my December-to-January experience, can vary depending on how many other bags they have to go through. You can never really know when the “best” time to send your clean-out bag is. Perhaps if they increased the staff that processed the bags, this would not be a problem in the future.
- Not all your clothing will be accepted. They are selective about brands and the condition of clothing. Even though many of my items are name-brand (like BCBG Max Azria, Zara, etc.) in excellent condition – some with tags – they were sent back. This isn’t necessarily a good or a bad thing, but it may be disappointing if you were hoping to “get rid” of all your unwanted clothing in one go while making some money in the process.
- Their customer service is satisfactory. They must have been swamped by e-mails from suddenly having so much interest in their clean-out service and whatever else they had to deal with, but they eventually respond to you and try to get things going. While I was pretty upset and frustrated (I may have said they were afflicted by reading comprehension issues a couple times… *ahem* This is coming from a dyslexic individual, too), they were still courteous and was able to complete the transaction for me… even if it wasn’t exactly in a timely manner. This proves that they are not operating a scam operation, but indeed are trying to run a business – even if they are a little short-staffed.
The bottom line: Results may vary. If you’re looking for a way to make some money and want to avoid the crazies that perpetually haunt the eBay community, using ThredUP may be a good route to go on, particularly if you’re not looking to do this within a two-week or less time frame.
By the way, there are other sites operating on the same basis, such as liketwice.com. While I’ve never sent my clothes there to sell, I have purchased clothing from them, and I would definitely recommend shopping there! With free returns and full refunds, you don’t have much to lose if you don’t end up liking what you bought.
Have you ever had any experience with similar websites? How did it go?
Updated to add: Here’s a screenshot of my final payout, in case you’re curious.