Vinted. An app I downloaded over a year ago, afforded a cursory glance to and then promptly forgot about. After all, I had a plethora of ways to purchase second hand clothing without needing to think about buying on Vinted. With charity shops closed during lockdown and my postnatal wardrobe seriously lacking, I found myself turning to online marketplaces for second hand clothes once again. EBay, Depop, Vinted, Facebook Marketplace, Facebook Groups, Instagram: you name it, I searched them all but I kept returning to buying on Vinted. Its upfront pricing, opportunity to negotiate price and bundle discounts meant it was affordable, sustainable and best of all, quick and easy. No more waiting for auctions to end, no more being outbid in the final few seconds and no more commenting, ‘Hopelessly inline’… fingers crossed emoji.
Already using Vinted? Feel free to skip ahead to the tips and tricks.
Buying on Vinted: What is it and how does it work?
Vinted is a marketplace app for second hand online shopping. It allows users to buy, sell and interestingly, swap clothes, shoes, bags, accessories and beauty. Founded in Lithuania in 2012, it claims to have 25 million users and is available in 12 countries. For the purpose of this guide, we’ll solely talking about buying using Vinted UK.
Why would I use Vinted?
Why am I writing a post dedicated to buying on Vinted? Is this sponsored? Absolutely not. When asked on Instagram, 79% of respondents had never heard of or used the Vinted app (!) Dear reader, I believe you’re missing out! With lots of well-known brands and items listed for as low as £1, why wouldn’t I be sharing this with you? (I’ve just this second snapped up an Emily & Fin top for £3.58… delivered). I know you’d be shopping in charity shops right now if Coronavirus wasn’t an issue so I’m here to share my knowledge and experience to help you find something you love without leaving the comfort of your armchair. Oh, and you can also find well-known charities listing on Vinted (just in case you want to support a good cause).
It’s no secret, purchasing second hand does mean you have to work harder: you have to be willing to put in the legwork and time. When I asked my Instagram followers, one of their biggest issues was finding clothing further up the sizing scale, with followers as small as a size 12 saying it was tricky to find their size! Also, the frustration of knowing exactly what your wardrobe needs and needing to search many, many shops. I’ve been there, it’s a slog. Let’s make it a little easier – I’m not saying Vinted is the solution to all issues, but it’s possible that it may help.
Housekeeping! A few things to keep in mind…
Unlike other online marketplaces, Vinted charges the buyer a protection fee for each sale. This means Vinted will: issue a refund if your item is never shipped, arrives damaged or is not as described, offer support and provide secure in-app payments. They state this as 4% of the sales price (including VAT) and a fixed amount of 60p. When I tested this on sale of £5 (excluding postage) this incurred a 95p charge.
Which leads me to buying safely within the app. In some countries Vinted allows user to purchase by PayPal – this is not the case in the UK. This means you need to add a debit or credit card to purchase items using the app. Vinted uses 3-D Secure (which, depending on your provider, is known by other names such as Verified by Visa or MasterCard SecureCode.) Personally, I use a credit card, although I want to point out that protection under your credit card only applies to purchases over £100 under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974.
Tips & Tricks (The Good Stuff)
Bundles: Some of the best bargains I’ve ever found on Vinted were part of a bundle deal – especially baby clothes! Recently, I bought Baby D a bundle that was £10.20 delivered, this consisted of: 3 pairs of Mini Club joggers, 3 TU vests, Joules leggings and top, Next Snoopy leggings, Primark joggers and sweatshirt and a Joules top! Buying a bundle means you are able to buy numerous items from one seller and receive a discount for buying more. Sometimes, as the number of items purchased increases, so can the percentage reduction – it can actually work out cheaper overall to buy an extra item at around £1-2 to unlock the higher percentage discount.
How: Once you’ve found an item to purchase, simply scroll down to look at the seller’s other items. Here you’ll see ‘Shop bundles’ and underneath should be the discount the seller offers (if they do, some will only combine postage). Simply hit the ‘Shop’ button to browse other items, once selected Vinted will do the maths for you!
Save your searches: With Vinted’s ‘fixed’pricing’ (we’ll discuss the firmness of this later) you’ll need to be searching regularly to snap up newly listed bargains. Blink and you will miss them! (I once missed a £7 vintage Laura Ashley prairie dress and it still haunts me.) You’ll be able to quickly see when new items are listed with the plus icon appearing next to your saved search. The search is primitive in comparison to its sophisticated sister, eBay, but reducing the steps means your more likely to be ahead of the competition.
How: Simply hit the search icon which appears on the bottom of the app’s homepage then type in the search bar. Once you hit enter, click the tab icon that appears on the top right hand of the screen. Once saved, you’ll be able to easily access them from the same search bar. Waiting for your take out coffee? Quick search. Waiting to go into a shop? Quick search. I’m warning you, it’s addictive.
Favourite items: Experienced sellers are likely to have their alerts set to be notified whenever a prospective buyer hits favourite on an item they’re selling. I guess this is similar to ‘watching’ an item as your favourite items are stored in one area. This allows for two things: a seller may choose to inbox you offering you a personalised reduced price, or you’ll receive a notification from Vinted when the seller reduces the item.
How: Tap the heart icon, either on the catalogue page or the item page. To access your favourites, click on the ‘Profile’ icon (bottom right of your screen) and find ‘My favourites’ on the list.
Offer, offer, offer: I cannot stress this enough. If there’s any app where you can have open negotiations about price, then it has to be Vinted (although, this feature isn’t quite as obvious.) I’ve met some fantastic ‘Vinties’ and still check their wardrobe regularly because I know what I’ll receive is quality. You can also make an offer on a bundle price, even with bundle discounts applied. You need to request a price for postage from the seller, but once you receive this you can still make an offer on an already discounted price.
How: On the item listing, hit the ‘Ask Seller’ button. It will take you to messaging but on the top left of the screen there is a ‘Make an offer’ button. Once tapped, you can suggest a price to the seller (play fair, Vinted will not let you make an offer less than 50% of the sales price). And, remember to factor in Vinted’s buyer protection fee in your calculations. Finally, you can only make 5 offers a day, so use them wisely.
Zoom, zoom: Enlarge that image and zoom, zoom, zoom! Look at the item with fresh eyes: assume that there is a fault with an item and only proceed if you have no doubts. I have been known to refer to Vinted as the Wild West of online marketplaces. Even though you pay a buyer protection fee, this simply means Vinted holds the funds until you mark the item as received and confirm that everything is okay. What happens if it’s not? You enter into negotiations with the seller and have to cover tracked return postage in order to receive your refund.
Check your item & mark as received: Forget to mark your item received and you’ll find a barrage of messages from most sellers politely asking you to click received and confirm that everything is okay. Assuming that it is, once you tap those buttons Vinted releases the payment to the seller. Make sure you check items carefully, once the money is released you cannot claim it back.
Vinted will automatically update tracking once the item is scanned at your door for sellers that purchase labels via Vinted, or upload tracking. Following this, you have two days to mark everything is okay. After that time, Vinted will automatically release the payment.
How: As most items are sent tracked, the messaging page should automatically update to show the ‘Mark as Received’ button. If this doesn’t happen, scroll up to view tracking information: if enough time has elapsed, there is an option for you to manually mark that you’ve received the item.
Leave feedback: It sure is nice to be nice. Once you’ve marked your item as received, leave feedback for positive experiences – sellers really rely on feedback for future sales. Plus, they may remember you and give you a greater discount in future.
How: Find the leave feedback button in the messaging area.
Change of heart: “Buy in haste, repent at leisure” Or, you could just cancel the sale. Yes, you heard me right. You can cancel a sale, even after the label has been sent to the seller. It’s not ideal, but it’s easy to miss things in the heat of a quick sale. Remember, you cannot physically inspect the goods so if you spot something after purchase that’s a dealbreaker, it’s better to cancel before receiving the item, otherwise you’ll be responsible for the return cost.
How: Again, find the messaging page with the seller. In the top right hand corner, click the ‘i’ button. This will direct you to a summary page, at the bottom click ‘cancel order’. Be warned, you may receive automatic negative feedback via Vinted’s system.
Hermes postage offers: When buying on Vinted, look out for Hermes postage offers within the app. Sellers choosing to use Hermes as a delivery service, can sometimes offer postage as low as 99p. However, in January 2021, postage was free! Yes, you heard me right. Free. I’ve found these postage offers can take the sting out of paying a compulsory buyer protection fee.
Track your purchases: There are two ways to access a log of purchases you’ve made when buying on Vinted. One way is through messages, however it can be easy to lose track this way – especially when you are making offers, or sellers are sending offers to you. Remember this pathway: Profile > My orders > and you’ll find a chronological list of purchases you’ve made. From here, you can track their progress – this comes in handy when items are making their way to you via Hermes to a collection point.
Hopefully, you’ll feel confident to download the app and try it for yourself! I would love to hear if you’ve found any bargains and how buying on Vinted has worked for you- drop me a comment or find me on social.
Please note: This post was originally published in August 2020 and was last updated July 2021 to include further information regarding postage offers and how to track purchases.
Have you read my eBay guides?
How to eBay #1, How to eBay #2