The general goods site Mercari announced today it is shifting its fees in the U.S. from sellers to buyers.

Having previously charged sellers a 10% fee on all transactions, Mercari says it cut that to zero starting with items listed after 8:30 a.m. Wednesday (March 27). Instead, buyers will be charged a service fee of $.50 plus 2.9% of the transaction price (including item price, shipping, the service fee, and sales tax). 

At the same time, the company has implemented a no-questions-asked return policy allowing buyers to turn back purchased items for any reason within a 72-hour window. However the buyer is still out the payment processing fee.

Based in Japan, Mercari launched in the U.S. in 2014 and its Stateside operations now outpace all other general marketplaces except Craigslist in terms of revenue. But since a spike in business during the pandemic, it has suffered declines in gross merchandise volume and monthly active users. The company has also cut back on marketing in an effort to reverse its record of consistent annual net losses in the U.S.

With little to spend on user growth, Mercari may view the change as its most viable way to attract sellers and build inventory.

“At a time when other marketplaces are raising fees for sellers, Mercari is doing just the opposite by becoming the first and only major U.S. resale marketplace to offer zero selling fees,” Mercari’s announcement read. “With zero selling fees, Mercari sellers can price their items more competitively and keep their earnings, making it the best choice for everyone looking to sell their unused items.”

It’s not all good news for sellers. Mercari also said, in a note Wednesday morning to users, that it had implemented a $2 flat fee when sellers do direct deposits from their Mercari accounts to their personal accounts.

Seller reactions on Reddit were mixed.

“I love how there was NO warning this was coming,” Reddit user Teamboomerang wrote. “I also think it never goes over well when a business charges consumers/buyers payment processing as most feel that is a cost of doing business and should just be absorbed into the price they are charged.”

MrHartnabrig wrote: “Not a fan of that $2 cash out, but I totally understand it.”

Meanwhile, user RentJapan appreciated not having to pay commissions: “This is actually good news IMO. I just have to update all my listings, kind of a pain, but keeping all my $$$ and only paying $2 to transfer to my bank account is ok by me. Let’s hope it lasts awhile.”

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