Un poco de ayuda por favor.
August 2, 2014 5:48 AM   Subscribe

I'm trying to use Mercadolibre (the "Latin American eBay") to buy some books only available on the Mexican market. However, I don't speak Spanish and am confused by several aspects of the site. Several questions inside.

1) Foremost, is there a way to private message sellers? I can't find any contact method except asking questions on individual items, but a lot of basic elements (shipping, for instance) seems to involve agreeing with a seller.

2) Is there a way to combine payment for items? It seems like the site wants me to pay for things one at a time, even if I'm buying multiple items from the same seller.

3) Also confusing: many sellers list items in lots, but, for instance, "su costo es de $45 CADA UNO," which means that each item in the lot is 45 pesos, right? But there's only one "buy" option. I'm guessing that this is another element where I am supposed to come to some sort of agreement with the seller?

4) The site is not designed for international shipping. First of all, when on the buy screen it asks for my external number, is that just my street address. Like, should I list my address as "Pennsylvania Avenue" and then my external number as "1600"? Another situation where it'd probably be easiest to private message my address to sellers, I suppose.

5) The feedback system on Mercadolibre seems much harsher than eBay's. Even one or two negatives seem to put people into the "proceed with caution" category, even if they have hundreds of positive feedback. There's also a lot more neutral feedback. Is there any reason I should give more weight to bad feedback on the site than I do on eBay, where I assume that any seller with a strong majority of positive feedback is not going to be trying to rip me off?

6) Is Google Translate the best way for dealing with the language gap? It's working okay (I think - I'm sure the sellers I've been dealing with think my Spanish is appalling), but in particular I'm interested in whether there's an electronic translator that takes into account common misspellings or offers multiple translation options.
posted by vathek to Computers & Internet (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Have any of the sellers responded to you?
Some googling regarding MercadolLibre and whether they ship overseas returns results indicating that you are behaving exactly in the way that MercadoLibre sellers are warned foreign scammers behave. I am not saying you are one, I am pointing out that what you are doing will make the sellers think you are a scammer - e.g. asking in broken Spanish coming out of Google Translate whether they ship overseas or if some kind of special shipping/payment method can be arranged for you.

The first option MercadoLibre suggests for delivery of items is to arrange to meet in a public place to hand off the item personally. Coming to agreement with a seller regarding shipping means whether it will be a personal handoff or shipped via post, and if shipping via post, getting a cost estimate based on postal code. The site really is not intended for buyers from outside the country. Do you have a friend in Mexico who could get the books for you and then ship them to where you are? Or, if you could try searching for the books in a site like BookFinder and see if they are available from vendors in your country or vendors who will ship to your country.
posted by needled at 6:46 AM on August 2, 2014

After doing some googling, it appears that once you hit the "comprar" button, MercadoLibre gives you and the seller each others' details so that you can work out an agreement. What's not clear to me is how binding it is to click that button -- whether you are actually obligated to make a payment once you get to that point (probably).

Apparently MercadoLibre withholds the info like this so that you can't just arrange with the seller to buy the item outside of MercadoLibre, avoiding MercadoLibre's commission.
posted by mekily at 7:10 AM on August 2, 2014

Response by poster: I have (I think) worked out terms with one, just am yet to pay, and am dealing with another in English after he spotted my mangled Google translate questions. That's interesting that I could be mistaken for a scammer. It hadn't really occurred to me. I assume the scam would be getting them to mail something and then doing a chargeback or something? I don't see how selling to foreigners would make them any more vulnerable to that than selling domestically.

I don't have any friends in Mexico, but I have considered the idea of hiring someone in Mexico to forward packages for me - it would certainly lessen part of the hassle, but I'm sort of dipping my feet in right now.

I've clicked comprar - it seems more like putting something in a shopping cart than making a binding agreement to buy, since the items are still listed on the site.

I have a feeling that in addition to my lack of Spanish that the site is not at all intuitively designed.

The books I'm looking for do not exist for sale outside Mexico. I'm an experienced collector and I've exhausted the possibility of finding them elsewhere.
posted by vathek at 8:30 AM on August 2, 2014

Best answer: Yep, MercadoLibre is not intuitive or well designed at all. I've bought and sold stuff there and I still have to learn how to use it every time.

I live in Mexico and I can help. Feel free to MeMail me.
posted by clearlydemon at 9:20 AM on August 2, 2014

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