Secondhand shopping: From baby clothes to smartphones

Buy secondhand online (cBuy secondhand online (c) Maruzhenko Yaroslav / Getty Images

Buy secondhand online (cBuy secondhand online (c) Maruzhenko Yaroslav / Getty Images - Credit: Archant

The pre-loved market is booming in France, with everything from clothing to phones to cars being bought and sold online. Catharine Higginson looks as the websites you need to know about.

While the French have always loved trawling brocantes and vide greniers for antique furniture and fittings, until relatively recently there was a certain hesitation when it came to buying other items secondhand. This was especially true when it came to clothing and baby equipment. However, the last few years have seen a massive change in attitude and shift in consumer behaviour.

Whatever you are looking to buy or sell online in France, here are the sites you need to know:

Clothes, beauty and baby products

Mothers followed their daughters into the secondhand clothing sector and sites such as Vinted started to really take off. These days Vinted also sells menswear and beauty products in addition to baby and children’s clothing, equipment and even school bags and books. For parents, the huge advantage of sites such as these is that they can clear out outgrown and no longer needed items, while building up a pot of money that can then be transferred to their bank account or used to purchase new (to them) clothing or items on the site.

Designer clothing

Videdressing and Prêtàchanger are two other similar sites. However, both focus slightly more on the more luxurious end of the market and if you have designer clothing to sell or want a particular handbag or pair of heels, then these are the places to go. Videdressing works much like Vinted and is quick and simple to use.

Prêtàchanger fixes the prices once you have provided the details of the articles concerned and then manages the entire sale process, listing and dispatching the articles to their new homes itself and they even offer a ‘buy direct’ service where you simply request a pre-paid postage label, box up your old designer clothes and wait for the money to appear in your bank account!

Household items

Facebook Marketplace is another option but it very much depends on your location; there’s bound to be more available in large towns and cities than in the countryside and sellers can be reluctant to post items so the distances involved may often mean this isn’t a sensible option if you are rural.

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Having said that, Facebook Marketplace is a great resource for smaller household items and browsing the locally available adverts will throw up all kinds of things that you never knew you needed; my best find to date has been a lovely vintage 1950s radio that was a mere €5 and conveniently located in the next village! It is well worth finding and joining some of the local ‘For Sale and Wanted’ type groups in your area.

Specific searches and property

Leboncoin is probably the best known of the French sales websites but it has its drawbacks. Uploading photos and adverts takes longer than on Facebook and this means sellers tend not to use it for lower value items. It also attracts a lot of scammers and they can be initially hard to spot. It is, however, still one of the best online resources for finding property and verifying local property sale and rental prices. Being able to quickly and easily search throughout France is also a useful feature if you are after a specific item that is not widely available; an unusual vehicle or uncommon breed of dog are just a couple of examples.

Smartphones and other electrics

If photographing and listing the item and replying to potential buyers sounds like a hassle, there are increasing numbers of sites such as Magicrecycle which will buy used smartphones and tablets directly before reconditioning them (if required) and then reselling with a guarantee. This is an environmentally friendly way to upgrade electrical equipment and the prices for both buyers and sellers are entirely reasonable. Backmarket is another such site. However, they are not limited to phones and tablets and sell pretty much anything electrical from televisions and consoles to deep fat fryers, barbecues and even drones!

Books and DVDs

Momox is another specialist site which will buy and resell books, CDs, DVDs, vinyl and video games and this is a very simple way to have a clear out and generate some extra cash.

Secondhand cars

Both Facebook and Leboncoin are good places to buy and sell secondhand cars but the Voiture d’Occasion app is a brilliant resource as it links to 10 other major online sites as well as the two previously mentioned, meaning that searching for a specific make and model is fast and easy. If you are selling it will also give you an idea of which sites have the most traffic and are user-friendly too.

Good to know

Now for the legalities. If you are selling things that you no longer require on an occasional basis, then there is no need to declare anything unless the items concerned include precious metals, jewellery, art or antiques and the value is above €5,000. This threshold does not apply to electrical items or vehicles. However, if you are buying or making items to resell, then this is considered a commercial activity and will need to be declared as such.

From 2020 all sites and platforms have been required to provide a year-end statement to both users and the tax authorities detailing the transactions made; this is why, when you mark an item as ‘sold’ on Facebook Marketplace for example, you will be asked if you sold the item on that platform or elsewhere.

You can check you whether you need to declare your sales here.