Review: Buying and Selling with The Real Real

I recently did my first consignment with the Real Real and wanted to share my experience in case anyone else is curious. I have purchased both a handbag and wallet from The Real Real and had mixed experiences– the handbag was in perfect condition and a great value. The wallet was in much worse condition than described and shown in their photos, and was final sale. After that, I decided not to purchase final sale items from their site.

I received a lot of marketing from The Real Real for sending items to consign. They have a limited list of higher end designer brands that they accept and you must send them your items for them to decide if they want to sell it or not. I had a few items in their designer directory that I wasn’t having luck selling on other resale apps, so I thought I would give it a try.

Their consignment policy is a little confusing. The cut you get depends on the value of items you have sold for them, which I personally think is a little unfair. On other resale apps, the company takes a percentage cut but it’s the same for everyone selling. Because it was my first time selling, I would make 55% of the items sold. People who have sold more make up to 70%.

If items are under $145 you only get 40%. If there are sales or additional discounts on your item (that The Real Real decides), that also comes out of your commission. Of course, the 2 pairs of leather leggings that I sent that have a retail value of $500 were listed at $145 so that the commission rate would be lower– this was the first red flag that I had with their service.

The second and even bigger issue was that a brand new pair of $600 boots that I sent them were rejected and sent back to me with their reason being the boots were stained. I was shocked given their new condition and how carefully I had wrapped them for shipping. When I received the boots back, they were thrown in a giant cardboard box and the metal from the boots had scraped the suede all over. It’s clear my boots were damaged during the handling at The Real Real.

I contacted customer service right away to share what had happened. They danced around what they would do for me, claiming they would compensate me, but never defining how that would happen. I communicated to them that the leather was damaged and that isn’t something I can just have repaired and send them the bill. They asked me to send them the boots but would never confirm what would happen when they got them or how I would be compensated. I requested to know when I would know the amount of compensation and if I would get the boots back if I disagreed with the amount they offered. They never responded.

I continued to receive emails almost daily asking me to send more items to consign, and replied over 7 times explaining what had happened. They never followed up.

The remaining items that I sent in are still listed for sale, but haven’t sold. The photography on the items is poor. You can’t see the detail of the items. There are no close up shots of the leather trim on the leggings. They are ill fitting and wrinkled on the mannequins. I understand why they haven’t sold, because you can’t even tell what the item is.

If the item doesn’t sell, it is on the seller to pay for shipping to return the item if they want it back. Which again seems unfair given how poorly The Real Real has treated my items.

For how they market a “luxury” goods, it mostly seems like The Real Real just collects items and sees if they can sell them for the least work possible, and then has no liability if they don’t sell. By the time they are discounted and your limited commission is paid, you are better off selling your item for a lower rate on a different resale app. Both you and the buyer would benefit without an expensive middle man.

It’s also really concerning how poorly they treated my boots without ever following up. It’s very apparent that they don’t care to maintain relationships with customers once they get your items to sell. The experience will end up costing me more money in item damages than I could make, even if all my other items sell.

After these experiences, I am definitely done buying or selling through their service, and would caution you to do the same.

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