Returns… What Does It Really Mean?

When selling on a secondary marketplace, the accuracy of your description is the most important aspect to being successful. Establishing yourself as a credible and honest seller will reward you with a strong loyal buyer base, with repeat business.
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When evaluating your inventory, always be as accurate as you can with the condition.

Misleading condition information can lead to unhappy buyers, thus increasing the chance of disputes. Although a seller may not have to personally handle the disputes, it could still negatively impact your presence.

So, how should a seller classify your inventory accurately?  This guide will help walk through the different conditions found on many marketplaces.


New assets are usually overstock merchandise, never having a shelf life. These items are in their original packaging and have no visible dents or scratches. They will possess all the characteristics, qualities and features as advertised by the manufacturer and wouldn’t have been used in the retail environment.

Shelf Pulls

Conversely, shelf pulled assets are exactly as it sounds: inventory once for sale in the retail environment, but did not sell. They are more likely to have sale stickers or price tags and have been exposed to customer handling. Items inside the packaging are close to new-like, although they may have been taken out of the packaging causing little-to-no damage.


Returns are one of the most complicated conditions as there are many different interpretations of ‘returns‘. Returned merchandise were assets previously sold to a customer who returned the item either to a physical store or mailed it back to a specific location. The reason for their return could range from size, color, model, etc. although this will vary by the original return policy of the retailer.

Returns may not always come in their original packaging, with some missing accessories or the advertised documents such as manuals or warranties.

Since many companies have their own return policy, an item may have been taken back having operational or cosmetic issues. While not an ideal condition classification for items possessing these types of issues, returned merchandise may show signs of potential problems thus falling into a different categories even though they were technically returned.


This is a term many are familiar with due to the rise of the consumer electronics industry. Refurbished items have been used, but have since been inspected, tested and restored to full working condition. Most often these types of inventory won’t have their original packaging and you may not have the original documents or accessories that normally come with it. However, in some cases they will come with a standard warranty – giving reassurance to the end consumer the product is reliable.

Given the history of the refurbished products, these will not only show various signs of use; such as scratches, blemishes, dents and other sides of age, but also they will be fully functional.


Used assets were previously sold to a consumer and possess noticeable cosmetic damages from blemishes to dents to scratches, and other forms of age. The original packaging for these items may not be included due to the nature of where they are being pulled.

These types of inventory may have had minimal testing to meet the basic requirements of functionality, and may not be in optimal working condition, but should still be functional upon further repair.


Salvage assets have been identified as defective due to the functionality of the inventory and/or the appearance. Anything not meeting the conditions listed above should be listed as salvage as these can only be used for parts.

To ensure the buyers are pleased with their purchase, follow the rule of thumb of: under promise and over deliver. There are loyal buyers on the secondary marketplaces looking for reliable inventory providers.

The saying “One man’s junk is another man’s treasure” is very true for these marketplaces. Don’t underestimate what your inventory could recover if you list it for a lesser category.

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