A popular question that we often get is "Can you sell an item that is damaged, stained, or has some other type of flaw or issue?" The answer is ABSOLUTELY! You can sell items with broken zippers, weird stains, tears, or broken heels when done correctly. Here at The Style Lister we have sold many items that have some type of flaw or defect - and they've all been successful sales with no returns. The one caveat is that you disclose the flaw in your listing description and are honest about it. Do not mislead the buyer by saying "small tear at the seam", and there is a 9" rip.
Here at the TSL we do NOT use the NWD acronym, nor do we put the flaw in the listing title. Instead we use the following steps below to ensure the buyer goes into the listing and considers it instead of just scrolling on without giving it a chance.
#1 Photographing the issue/s:
This type of documentation is imperative for your listing for several reasons. Most importantly it protect you the seller in case a buyer attempts to open an INAD (Item Not As Described) case against you. If you document the defect in your description and photograph it you can win a possible case that may be opened against you or get neg/neutral feedback removed. The second reason is the buyer is more likely to purchase if you show the issue, and they will know that your description is honest when you say " 1" tear at the seam". Try to take at least two pictures of the flaw, one with the item from farther away/whole piece, and a second up close shot so the buyer gets a good idea. TSL always keeps a few items handy to help the buyer reference the size of the damage/issue. We tend to use coins and a MAC lip liner pencil to showcase the size of the item. The buyer will know- its smaller than a dime, or smaller than the end of a lip pencil and they will be more interested in purchasing because they will have a better idea of the flaw. If you can show the measurements with a tape measure as well if the issue can be measured - this is great for any issue 3" or larger.
#2 Describing the issue/s:
This is just as important as taking a picture because documenting the flaw or issue can be critical when a case is opened against you. Lets say you post an item with a broken zipper, not only do you photograph the broken zipper but you also put it in the description "Zipper broken, will need to be replaced". If a buyer receives the item and attempts to open a case against you, or worse leave negative or neutral feedback you can contact Ebay Customer Support (1 (866) 540-3229) and they will be able to see that you very well documented this issue and they can either remove the feedback or more than likely decide in your favor if a case is opened. Not only should you mention the issue, but mention where it is, If there is a tear, mention the area its located, or if it is or isn't on the seam. Explanation is key, if you mention the missing button will/won't be included or if the stain can/can't come out with dry-cleaning or a good wash will help a buyer decide if they want to purchase. Letting the buyer know if it is repairable is good business because they will be more open to the idea of purchasing the item. Don't say "could be repairable" when it isn't. DO NOT MISLEAD YOUR BUYER. This creates an environment that you seem untrustworthy and they can put that in their feedback, preventing you from getting future sales. If an item is vintage or from the 80's and before, they are more likely to purchase as a lot of true vintage pieces do have some sort of flaw due to time.
#3 Pricing your item correctly
When listing an item that is damaged or has some type of issue, you have to take into consideration the cost for the buyer. They will need to repair it on their own, pay a seamstress to do the work, or not be able to repair it at all. Items that have flaws need to have a discount, and it needs to be reasonable to inspire the buyer to purchase it for repair or just wear it as is. If the damage is significant, you will need to discount the item considerably. We've seen many people try to sell an item that is nowhere near wearable, usable, or repairable for an obscene amount of money, just because it is high end. No one will spend $950 on a Chanel dress that has the red stain in front because it got damaged when trying to remove the store sensor. A person will spend $900 on a Chanel dress that is missing one button or that will need a new zipper. Typically the price ranges from $15 to $25 for a new zipper, so you will need to factor that into your listing discount. You don't have to be exact, but keep that in mind when pricing your item. Also, state something to the affect of "priced low due to _______ issue." and if you are open to best offers, mention that too.
Any seller can sell items that have flaws or issues, and sell successfully as long as you follow the above guidelines! Whats most important for listings like these is to document the issue and let the buyer know about it so they know what they are getting into.