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Updated: 3 May 2022

Best and worst places to shop second hand online

Our customer survey has rated marketplaces such as Depop, eBay, Facebook Marketplace, Gumtree and Vinted to help you find the best and worst places to buy and sell second hand stuff
Olivia Howes
Items being prepared for packaging, packing tape, scissors, box

Buying and selling second hand has surged in popularity in recent years, and there's certainly plenty of choice when it comes to online second hand marketplaces and platforms you can use. 

Note: branded links take you to the marketplaces' websites.  


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Best places to buy second hand online

We asked 4,000 people about buying and 4,000 about selling using ten of the most popular second hand marketplaces.

The customer scores are based on a demographically representative equal sample of those who bought and those who sold. The star ratings for buying are based on those who responded about buying or freely acquring items. We only asked people about second hand items.

Our survey results: buying second hand

Marketplace
Customer score
Postage options
Ease of contacting seller
Ease of making an offer/purchasing
Ease of setting up account
Ease of searching for items

Paying for items
Vinted (220)75%
Facebook Marketplace (796)68%
Gumtree (470)68%
eBay (1030)67%
Freecycle (240)67%
n/a
n/a
Amazon Marketplace (356)64%
Depop (192)61%

Table notes: Survey data collected in January 2022. Customer scores combined for buying and selling. Sample sizes in brackets. For each brand this is an equal split between people who had bought and sold using a marketplace. Customer score is based on satisfaction using the marketplace and likelihood of recommending it. Customers rated other aspects of service, presented above as star ratings. 4,000 people were asked about buying using online marketplaces. 

Best places to sell second hand online

The customer scores are based on a demographically representative equal sample of those who bought and those who sold. The star ratings for selling are based on those who responded about selling or giving away items. We only asked people about second hand items.

Our survey results: selling second hand

Marketplace
Customer score
Ease of contacting potential buyer

Ease of receiving payment

Ease of listing items for sale
Flexibility of delivery options
Ease of setting delivery costs
Vinted (220)75%
Facebook Marketplace (796)68%
Gumtree (470)68%
eBay (1030)67%
Freecycle (240)67%
n/a
n/an/a
Amazon Marketplace (356)64%
Depop (192)61%

Table notes: Survey data collected in January 2022. Customer scores combined for buying and selling. Sample sizes in brackets. For each brand this is an equal split between people who had bought and sold using a marketplace. Customer score is based on satisfaction using the marketplace and likelihood of recommending it. Customers rated other aspects of service, presented above as star ratings. 4,000 people were asked about selling using online marketplaces.

Amazon

Amazon logo

Amazon impressed buyers with its ease of searching for items and making a purchase, receiving five stars for both of these ratings. It didn’t fall down particularly in any area for buying or selling and placed in the middle of the table. We only asked survey respondents about buying and selling second hand items.

One respondent said that the used DVDs and books they’d purchased had ‘been in good condition, some even looked new’; another disagreed saying they’d had books with ‘pages falling out’ but they’d never had a problem with refunds and Amazon been very helpful’.

21% of people who had sold something in the last year had sold a second hand book, making Amazon Marketplace the most popular marketplace for this category of sale.

Amazon’s set up leans more towards business sellers than private sellers. It’s A-to-z Guarantee protects buyers from third party seller issues that also handle their own packing and postage. If you use FBA (Fulfilled by Amazon) to sell your products (this means you send your items to an Amazon warehouse and they will do the picking, packing and posting of your items) you are required to have returns policies that are at least as good as those offered for goods sold on amazon.co.uk directly. FBA carries extra fees.

What can you buy/sell? Private sellers are limited to second hand books, music, video and DVDs, video games, automotive parts, software, toys (as long as passing safety regulations). Tech and home and small appliances may be sold second hand but only certified refurbished by the manufacturer and with a one year warranty which limits their sale to business sellers. Clothes, shoes and accessories, baby products, pet products, sports products, grocery, consumables and topical products are not allowed to be sold used.

Need to know for buyers: Unlike a lot of second-hand marketplaces, Amazon purchases can generally be returned. You may have to cover the cost of postage though depending on your reason for return.

Need to know for sellers: Business accounts are £25 per month plus VAT and then there is no extra fee for each item sold. Individual accounts carry a £0.75 per item fee and a referral fee (starting at £0.25 with a maximum fee depending on the category), be aware that buyers can return items.

Depop

Depop logo

A marketplace where users set their style and items and sellers are tailored to their preferences using AI algorithms. Its headquarters are in London. Last year it became a subsidiary of Etsy. 90% of its 30 million plus users are under 26.

While Depop scored three and four stars on most ratings, it only got two stars for making payments by buyers and receiving payments by sellers suggesting improvements could be made in this area.

One seller praised its ‘large market of users’ but another criticised the ‘too much back and forth with potential buyers wanting extra photos, measurements etc'.

Depop allows business sellers. Some brands like Lucy and Yak sell samples and seconds directly through Depop, and in 2020, shoe brand Vans teamed up with artists to create a capsule collection available exclusively on the app. But most of the items on offer are second hand.

What can you buy/sell? Branded fashion – men women children, some home decor.

Need to know for buyers:. How you pay alters how a dispute is dealt with – if you use Depop payments (Apple Pay, Google Pay, credit and debit card) you are covered by Depop Buyer Protection which means Depop will help to organise a refund or resolution. If you use PayPal, you’ll need to raise a Paypal dispute.

Need to know for sellers: You pay 10% of the purchase price.

eBay

eBay logo

eBay has been operating in the UK since 1999. Some items are sold through auction, others are ‘buy it now’. eBay ended its partnership with PayPal last year but PayPal can still be used to buy items (at least until July 2023) but you can also use other options such as credit card or Apple Pay.  For sellers it means money earned is paid directly into their bank account rather than through PayPal. 

Buyers gave five stars to the ease of searching for items and it received four stars for a number of ratings. 

Views were mixed on its customer service/dispute resolution with one respondent praising the customer service saying eBay is 'very hot on sellers who rip off their customers'. But several sellers said that the marketplace sided too much with buyers one saying they seemed to 'favour the buyer regardless'.

What can you buy/sell? Everything except prohibited items such as firearms, pets and alcohol.

Need to know for buyers: eBay’s Moneyback Guarantee covers you as long as you have paid using credit or debit card, PayPal or Apple or Google Pay.

Need to know for sellers: Listings are usually free unless over 1,000 listings a month. You pay a final value fee which is 12.8% of the total sale (includes item’s postage and taxes) plus a fixed charge of 30p per order. If you are found responsible for a dispute you’ll be charged £16.80 per dispute.

Facebook Marketplace

Facebook logo

Launched in 2016, Marketplace operates within Facebook’s website or app. In the past it was essentially a collection of classified ads (with the platform taking no financial responsibility) but now you can buy some items (in some categories) through Facebook Pay which offers Payment Protection – look for the ‘Buy Now’ checkout button. It excludes categories such as furniture and doesn’t apply to any item over £500. 

Some items will offer both local collection and checkout. Payment Proection only applies to products that are not received, faulty or perhaps counterfeit – it doesn’t equal a returns policy.

While Facebook Markeplace did pretty well in our survey it only received two stars for the ease of paying for items and the postage options reflecting that much of what you buy on the site must be collected and paid for outside of the app/website. It got five stars for the ease of listing items from sale.

23% of people’s last sale with Facebook Marketplace in our survey was an item of furniture or homeware making this the most popular marketplace for this type of sale.

What can you buy/sell? Everything except services, animals, healthcare such as thermometers and illegal items.

Need to know for buyers: If you aren’t using Facebook Pay you have no financial protection through Facebook. You can still use a secure method of payment to buy your item.

Need to know for sellers: Items sold with Facebook Pay will cost you a 2% fee of total costs and means you must adhere to certain rules such as posting within a certain timeframe.

The Freecycle Network

Freecycle logo

Started in 2003 in Arizona, the Freecycle concept is now in more than 110 countries. Members join local ‘Town groups or ‘Friend Circles’. Reducing waste, saving precious resources and reducing landfill are part of its mission statement.

Freecycle got several four star ratings with one respondent commenting 'it is an amazing site that helps to stop items going to land fill and gives them a new home and life'. Because you can't buy or sell items on Freecycle, it didn't receive star ratings for some factors.

What can you buy/sell? It’s all free – you can’t buy or sell anything. And everything that’s legal and not age inappropriate is potentially available.

Need to know for buyers: You don’t ‘buy’ anything. You’ll normally need to arrange pick up directly with the seller. 

Need to know for sellers: You don’t ‘sell’ anything. You may get lots of people wanting your items so it’s best to be clear who you are offering it to and not say first come, first served. 

Gumtree

Gumtree logo

Online classified ad site, Gumtree was started by two UK friends in 2000 and mainly aimed at connecting Australians, New Zealanders and South Africans either newly arrived in London or looking for a new place to live or work or meet people. It was bought by eBay in 2005, sold on to Adevinta and now the UK marketplace is owned by investment fund O3 Industries and private equity fund, Novum Capital.

Second hand cars can be paid for through Gumtree’s Online Payment Platform which ensures secure payment and incurs a 0.7% fee. Other purchases are not paid through via the app and have no financial protection from Gumtree.

It received three and four stars for most ratings and one impressed respondent said, 'my whole house is fashioned second hand from gumtree and it’s amazing the value I get'.

What can you buy/sell? Everything as long as it’s legal and doesn’t cause harm. Popular for second hand cars.

Need to know for buyers: Try to arrange to see the item first and pay for the item using a trusted online method.

Need to know for sellers: Standard ads are free to place for private sellers but add-ons such as website links or ‘featured’ ads have fees attached.

Nextdoor

Nextdoor logo

Nextdoor, launched in the UK in 2016, is not primarily a private classifieds site; it’s purpose it to connect users with their neighbourhood. This means users join up and are then connected to others in their area. The app or the website provides a newsfeed (you can also sign up for daily emails) with local people offering services, giving updates on traffic incidents, lost cats, asking for tradespeople recommendations and selling or giving away goods.

One person surveyed said Nextdoor had 'a few gems to be found' and another liked that 'it saves having to clog up our planet with items that can be reused'. It received three stars for most ratings and sits in the lower half of the tables.

What can you buy/sell? Everything except live animals, illegal and age-inappropriate items.

Need to know for buyers: Nextdoor don’t get involved in disputes – the most they will do is disable a user’s account but caution they are likely to require multiple complaints about a user before doing so. View items before committing to buy and use a secure method of payment such as PayPal.

Need to know for sellers: Nextdoor is only for private sellers. Businesses can promote their business but not sell products through the platform.

Preloved

Preloved logo

A classified ads veteran begun in 1998, Preloved has over 1.7 million active members. Being a Preloved member is free and you can place unlimited adverts but paying to be a member has certain benefits such as being able to respond to adverts straight away (or buyers) or post multiple photos (for sellers).

Preloved also has a Freeloved section where items are given away for free.

Last year Preloved introduced Trustap if both buyer and seller agree to use it, as a response to increased scams during the Covid-19 pandemic. It works a kind of buyer protection where payment is held until the buyer confirms (within 24 hours) they are happy with the item. The seller then receives their money.  It only works for some item categories where items are to be posted and not viewed in advance such as clothing and accessories. 

Preloved received two stars for several ratings in our buyers' survey including the ease of contacting the seller and ease of paying. Sellers gave it three or four stars for most ratings. 

What can you buy/sell? Everything except illegal and age-inappropriate items.

Need to know for buyers: You’ll probably need to pay some form of membership to get access to the best items for sale (£5-£15 a year for buyers and sellers).

Need to know for sellers: Being a member can be worthwhile particularly if you have lots to sell.

Shpock

Shpock logo

A portmanteau of ‘shop in your pocket’, the Shpock app has been in Austria since 2012 but didn't launch in the UK in 2015.

Premium membership for sellers costs (through the Google Play or the Apple App store) £9.99 a month (after a week’s free trial). This gets rid of ads, allows you to bump ads and add more photos.

Sellers in our survey gave several ratings four stars but only gave two stars to the ease of receiving payment. Buyers weren't impressed with the ease of paying or the postage options available. A couple of respondents criticised the number of old posts on the site where sellers don't bother to respond.

What can you buy/sell? Everything except illegal and age inappropriate items.

Need to know for buyers: For buyers, it’s free unless you buy an item with ‘buy now’ which means you add Shpock’s buyer protection, but also means you pay a fee (between £0.30 and £3.75 plus 0-15% of the item price).

Need to know for sellers:  It’s free to sell if you place a basic ad.

Vinted

Vinted logo

Started by 2008 in Vilnius, Lithuania by two friends - one who wanted to sell her clothes and the other with some tech know how, Vinted was valued at over 3.5 billion euros last year and backed by four leading venture capital firms. It now operates in 15 countries. It was the highest scorer in our survey.

It was the only brand to get five stars in our buying survey for the ease of contacting the seller. It also recieved five stars for the ease of paying for items, the only other marketplace to get this was Amazon. And it got five stars for ease of searching for items.  One buyer said, 'it’s a great site and lovely community of people'.

Sellers liked the ease of contacting buyers (again the only marketplace to get five stars for this rating). They also liked the ease of listing items. It only received three stars for the ease of receiving payment though - perhaps reflecting the fact that sellers must wait until after the item is delivered for payment to be released.

What can you buy/sell? Fashion (men, women and childrens), some home decor.

Need to know for buyers: Fees are paid by the buyer and give buyer protection (unless you pay outside of the app) Fees encompass a fixed amount between 30-80p and an additional 3-8% of the purchase price.

Need to know for sellers: You will only receive payment for your item from Vinted once your item has arrived with the buyer and they have either confirmed by clicking a button to say ‘everything is ok’ or two days elapse after delivery and no dispute has been raised.