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Is Mercado Libre Reliable in Latin America?

When living in Latin America, eventually you will come to a point where you will purchase something online.

I’ve known folks who have purchased from Amazon for example.

Some have had good experiences while others have not.

I’ve heard there can be issues purchasing from Amazon online while living in Latin America as the products may not always arrive at all or very efficiently.

However, those are just stories I’ve had from different people I know – I never used Amazon down here if I can remember right.

But I have used a website called Mercado Libre – a very popular website that you can check out here that you can use to purchase stuff online.

I’ve used it a few times before and plan to be using it again to purchase some gym weights.

So how is my overall experience using Mercado Libre in Latin America?

Is it reliable?

Any risks?

Let’s get into that.

My Experiences with Mercado Libre

To be fair, I have only ever used Mercado Libre in Mexico and Argentina.

Most of the time I’m not buying stuff online down here in Latin America.

In Argentina, I remember I bought some travel book for Patagonia if I remember right or something along those lines to help me enjoy my experience traveling around that region.

As you can read about here.

Now with my few experiences using it in Mexico…

In every instance, I have never had problems.

I would buy stuff like gym weights before and I’ve also bought some camera for my laptop.

The gym weights were over a 100 bucks and more while the camera was just about 50 bucks.

And in both cases, they arrived just fine.

I’ve purchased a few other items on Mercado Libre that had value and never had the items stolen, lost o never sent.

Now in Mexico, whenever I bought anything on Mercado Libre, I would always just go to a nearby Oxxo (a common store down here) and just send money to someone’s bank account through them.

It would arrive and I would notify the seller.

The item gets sent and that’s it.

But are there people who have bad experiences with Mercado Libre?

Sure!

Nothing is perfect so let’s look into some examples.

Bad Experiences

 So I’m part of this group for foreigners living in Mexico City.

Which lets me see the experiences of other foreigners down here – including those who have used Mercado Libre.

Here’s one bad story by a person who claimed that a phone was purchased but they got only a box of Boing juice inside the box.

There also seems to be other scams out there as well.

Such as this scam that you can read here (in Spanish) regarding folks fucking over sellers on the website.

Then you have this scam that you can read here (in Spanish) also regarding scammers pretending to sell products with great prices in Argentina.

One of the scams that the website mentions is pretty obvious – sellers trying to get folks to buy the product outside of Mercado Libre where they wouldn’t have consumer protections provided by Mercado Libre.

So then the money is sent basically outside the system of Mercado Libre and the buyer never gets the product.

Pretty obvious scam.

However, there is another scam going around also that the article talks about.

Where basically the seller will offer a product for a great price but will not agree to exchange the product in person.

So they will claim to send the product to the buyer but will ask for the cost of shipping to be charged additionally through Mercado Pago.

From my understanding, the shipping cost is charged as an extra cost (which isn’t approved by Mercado Libre).

Because of that, since that transaction is not approved by Mercado Libre, it can’t be taken to claims once the buyer pays it.

And the buyer will not end up getting the product but the seller can keep the money.

Anyway, when speaking of fraud, this article here claims that 9 out of 10 cases of fraud in Mercado Libre in Mexico City have to do with the selling of vehicles.

So it seems Mercado Libre might be better to buy most products except vehicles then.

Anyway, here is another article on the subject of scammers in Mercado Libre if you are interested and speak Spanish.

And if you do speak Spanish, here is a dude going on about a scam in Mercado Libre in Mexico.

Anyway , that’s enough of the scams – we get it, scams can happen on Mercado Libre like anywhere else.

But how do you protect yourself from them?

Here’s some basic tips.

Basic Tips

First, the obvious…

Only buy from sellers who have a solid history of selling products and they have been selling recently also.

Check to make sure on their profile that they have a solid reputation and that others have found them trustworthy.

If not a lot of people have been buying and having a good experience with the seller, then I wouldn’t bother.

That alone should help fix a lot of the issues.

Second, if any confusion or scam does happen, make sure to know that Mercado Libre does help out the consumer.

As according to some of these folks here talking about their experience with Mercado Libre, apparently it is quite safe and that Mercado Libre will likely try to help you out.

I’ve never had to file a complaint with Mercado Libre before but that seems to be the consensus I have read online from other people describing their experiences with the website.

Another obvious tip is to not go outside of the system of Mercado Libre to purchase the product you want.

Furthermore, be suspicious obviously of any offer that seems too good to be true.

Another point is to not send personal ID information since I have read that some scammers might be interested in using it for illegal purposes down the road.

Now what if you happen to be a seller on Mercado Libre?

From what I have read, some tips include….

Make sure that the account of the buyer is verified in Mercado Pago.

Don’t operate outside of Mercado Libre.

Keep at hand all of the information related to the selling and shipping of the product to the buyer in case you need it.

Make sure your account is secure with all the security steps on Mercado Libre.

Anyway, that’s all the basic information on this topic that I can think of.

What is the final verdict?

Is Mercado Libre reliable?

Absolutely in my own experience.

But like anything else, there are always people looking to scam others.

So just be smart about it and you should be fine.

Anyway, got any experiences or questions on this topic?

Drop them below.

And follow my Twitter here.

Thanks.

Best regards,

Matt

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