The Real Real is an online consignment store for brand-name goods, but generates a lot of complaints from sellers
Expected pay: speculative
Commissions & fees: staggered from 80% to 15%
Where: Nationwide (remote)
Requirements: Clothing, shoes, handbags, jewelry or other luxury items for sale
The Real Real Review:
The Real Real is a high-end consignment store, where you can theoretically resell your designer goods for a reasonable price. But a litany of complaints filed with the Better Business Bureau tell a different tale.
How it works
To sell here, you’ll set up a seller account providing your name, email and banking information.
You then have three ways to sell goods. You can sell directly to the site. Or you can sell on consignment getting a percentage of the sale. Finally, you can trade your goods for a credit that can be used on the site.
The Real Real only accepts designer goods. However, the list of designers is long.
The site says it prices your items for sale based on the item’s condition, market trends and demand for that brand. Sellers have no control of pricing here. List prices are set at The Real Real’s sole discretion.
Commissions and fees
The site imposes a staggered commission schedule, paying sellers between 20% and 85% of the sales price. In other words, to sell here, you’ll pay The Real Real between 80% and 15% of your item’s value simply to sell it on your behalf.
The site pays sellers for sales on the 15th of the month following the sale. In other words, you’ll get paid for March sales on April 15. All payments are made through Stripe.
But before you sell anything here, realize that the site’s terms give it the right to do a litany of things that sellers complain bitterly about. The most common complaint here is that the site discounts items ruthlessly, and that leaves sellers with a tiny fraction of the item’s value.
The Real Real’s terms give it complete pricing power, including the right to discount your items as steeply and as often as it chooses.
The site also has little accountability for losing items. Technically, the site says that if an item is lost while it’s in the site’s possession, it will be treated as “sold.” But they can apply all of their discounts and promotions to that sales price. So, your item that you thought was worth $500 could be valued at $100. You’d get just 20% of that, or $20.
And it has the right to seize your property when it claims the items you sent were are “inauthentic.” Since they now have the item — and have the right (in their terms) to keep it — their determination of authenticity is impossible to dispute.
The Better Business Bureau has handled more than 1,400 complaints about The Real Real in the past three years. The site answers every complaint, but not necessarily to the customer’s satisfaction.
Seller complaints are also listed on dozens of other sites, from SiteJabber to SideHusl.com.
Don’t sell your brand-name items here. There are several other sites that offer to sell luxury merchandize, and most of them cost less and perform better than The Real Real. Some we’d recommend:
If you’re selling designer goods, we’d suggest Poshmark, where you create a “closet” and set your own sales prices. Poshmark charges sellers a 20% commission.
Amazon can also be a good bet, depending on what you’re selling. The site has a variable commission schedule, which can get costly for some items. However, it’s never more than The Real-Real’s unreal 80%.
What their sellers say (from SiteJabber):
Don’t sell through them. Fees to consign are INSANELY high, you end up with almost nothing. Their grading system is subpar too: sent a pair of shoes that were LITERALLY worn once and still looked new. They graded fair, inline with other shoes on their site that had major stress lines, cracks and heavy sole wear. As a buyer, their prices are pretty high too.
They don’t honor pricing requests. Rather than bunch sets together, they price under $100 to ensure virtually no commission to seller. Customer service is NOT good.
I consigned an inexpensive pair of mother jeans and they priced them at $65. Then I consigned a pair of brand new Moussy Vintage jeans that cost over $300 and they priced them LESS than the mother jeans? Never consigning with this company again.
They continue to send my luxury items to the wrong return address. I have contacted them multiple times and nothing gets done.
from the Better Business Bureau
“I listed an expensive diamond watch (+ appraisal) with them. They marked the watch down without my approval. It sold and there’s nothing I can do about it. Also, I have purchased items from them that were not in good condition: stains, pilling, defects, etc. They have low standards for the items they accept for sale. I have given them several chances. Now I am done with TRR.”
Cut my price in half
I sent The Real Real a Balenciaga Motocross Giant 12 iPad Case which I originally purchased at Barneys for over $400. They listed it originally at $175, but said they would never go below 50% off. Instead they sold it for $75 (over 50% off), leaving me with a measly $42.63 commission! The Real Real. It was a waste of my time and money!!!”
I have a statement in writing from one of their employees stating that I did not approve the sale of one of my personal items. The Real Real had a mixed up with the warehouse and forgot to ship my item back to me. Instead they sold my item well under its value. They refused to pay me for the item and they can’t retrieve it from the person who purchased it. I have no bag and no payment for it. This company is a fraud.”
The worst experience I’ve had with any company. Customer service is a joke, no effort and ability to help resolving any issues, terrible place to consign. They are friendly and easy before you send anything in. Once they have your items, it’s over. They don’t care about you as long as they make their 45% off your goods. False advertisement, misleading information. They undervalue your goods and then run an extra 20% or more sale on top of it, that means you as a consignor get real ****** money for your stuff.
THEY ROB YOU. I sent over 15 items which were accepted by them, one of the items is a high demand popular Louis Vuitton wallet, in great condition. Two days after being on the website, they sold it with their 20% off promotion despite that fact it was marked as not available for any coupons and discounts. I mean why the hell would anyone do that? The consignment rep who helped me clearly told me such an item like this would not be on sale unless it’s being on sale for more than 30 days. BUT 2 days after ?? A well sought after LV wallet?? I have no words. But they refused to admit it was their mistake and refused to do anything about it.
“I have had only negative experiences with the company. As a consignor, they will mark down your item significantly without notifying you beforehand–so you are stuck with a final sale price that is much lower than what you would otherwise have accepted.”