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Tips For Selling on Facebook Marketplace

By Catherine Hodder, Esq. | Last updated on

Facebook Marketplace is a huge e-commerce platform to unload unwanted items or profit from selling products to over three billion users. This article will explain how to get started on Facebook Marketplace, tips to sell items, and what legal issues to understand as a seller.

What Is Facebook Marketplace?

Think of Facebook Marketplace as a localized eBay store, similar to Craigslist. You can view products on Marketplace and buy them by contacting the seller through Facebook Messenger. If you have products to sell, you can list the items on Marketplace with a description and photo. There is no charge to use Facebook Marketplace.

Whether selling a secondhand item or several products as an online business, listing items to attract potential buyers is easy.

How to Create New Listings on Facebook Marketplace

If you have a Facebook account, you have access to Facebook Marketplace. If this is your first time listing an item, follow these steps:

  • From your Facebook app, click on the Marketplace icon.
  • Click the Sell button and Create Listing button. It will give you a choice to sell an item, vehicle, or home for sale or rent.
  • You can upload a photo or video of your item.
  • Next, enter the title, price, category (i.e., baby products, furniture, etc.), the item's condition, and item description. If you want to give the item away for free, enter “free" as the price.
  • You can add additional details such as brand, color, and material.
  • Choose your listing options, such as hide from friends.
  • Continue until you can click Publish to post. You have the option to edit once published.

Once you sell a product, it is important to mark it “sold" so other interested buyers know it is no longer for sale.

Selling Tips for Facebook Marketplace Listings

While it is easy to list items for sale, the more information and photos you include will increase your conversions. Here are some suggestions to help your sales:

  • Use High-Quality Photos. Take photos that accurately represent the product, flaws and all. Show close-ups or good photos that reflect the scale of the item.
  • Write a Detailed Description. While you want the item description to feature its benefits, make sure you are honest about any problems or issues with the item's condition.
  • Price Competitively. Look at competitor's pricing of the same or similar items. You don't want to be too high or too low from what other entrepreneurs charge. You may wish to include in your description the retail price if your price is lower.
  • Respond Quickly. Answer the buyer's questions or respond to problems immediately. If there are any issues with the quality or delivery, be upfront. Dissatisfied buyers may report you to Facebook Marketplace, causing Facebook to ban your account.

How To Stay Out of Trouble Using Facebook Marketplace

There are certain steps you can take to avoid problems when selling your items. Following these guidelines will help to set you up for success.

Comply With Facebook Rules

Facebook Marketplace is an easy-to-use platform, but you don't want to break any rules. First and foremost, comply with the following Facebook Marketplace policies:

Additionally, Facebook Marketplace prohibits the sale of the following items:

  • Animals
  • Drugs
  • Weapons
  • Counterfeit items
  • Any items that infringe on patents, trademarks, copyrights, or intellectual property

Stay within Facebook guidelines. Otherwise, your account may be banned.

Avoid Scams

While Facebook Marketplace scams mainly focus on victimizing buyers, there are issues with fake buyers as well. For example, scammers may try to overpay you with counterfeit funds and then ask for a refund. Or they try to get your personal information to steal your identity or money. For example, the “buyer" may ask for your banking information to wire money. And you can communicate with the buyer through the Facebook app, so there is no need to share your phone number. Here are some other tips to avoid scammers:

  • Accept only cash, Venmo, Zelle, PayPal, or credit cards as a payment method.
  • Avoid checks that may bounce or gift cards that may be invalid.
  • Look at the buyer's profile to see if there are any red flags, such as no profile information or a recent profile.

If you have trouble with any buyers, report them on the Facebook app.

Stick to Public Spaces

When arranging an in-person delivery with a local buyer, you should meet at a public place, such as a grocery store parking lot. Do not share your home address. Or, for larger items, contract with a third party to pick up and deliver items.

Understand Product Liability

If someone uses a product properly but suffers injuries, they may have a cause of action under product liability theories. For example, suppose a manufacturer designed something improperly (a design defect), made a product improperly (a manufacturing defect), or did not correctly warn or label a product (marketing defect), and that product caused an injury. In that case, a plaintiff may sue under strict liability. But if you are reselling a product and the buyer suffers an injury, they may have a cause of action against the product's manufacturer.

However, if you manufacture the product you sell on Facebook Marketplace, you may be held responsible for your products.

Understand Tax Liability

Depending on your activity and profits, you may be liable to file and pay taxes on your earnings. Consult with your tax advisor to know if you have to pay taxes on Facebook Marketplace sales.

Understand Business Obligations

Many people use Facebook Marketplace for casual sales. However, if you are selling products as a business, you may have to follow state and local laws about licensing and permits.

Do You Need an LLC?

If you plan to sell on Facebook Marketplace as a business, consider forming a limited liability company (LLC). An LLC is a business entity that separates your business assets and liabilities from your personal assets. In the event of a lawsuit, any claims or judgments go against the LLC. You protect your personal assets, such as your home. Another benefit for sole business owners is that an LLC allows you to file the profits or losses of your business on your personal income tax return to avoid double taxation.

Facebook Marketplace is a popular way to sell items as long as you comply with Facebook's terms. However, take steps to protect yourself from scammers and legal issues that could harm you or your business.

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