Is It Illegal to Resell Items for a Higher Price?

Reselling in order to gain profit is one of the simplest ways of making money - but is it lawful? Is it illegal to resell items for a higher price, or can you do it legally without the fear of consequences? If you see your future in the resale industry, make sure you know all the answers. 

Woman packing clothes
Is it illegal to buy something and resell it for more money? Find the answer before you make a purchase.

No, flipping is not illegal in the UK. However, there may be some restrictions regarding the type of products you want to sell - restricted goods, as well as those that have expired, cannot be traded. At the same time, note that you can have an online store legally without registering as long as your income is below £1,000.               

Is It Illegal to Resell Items for a Higher Price - And Why?

It's legal to flip goods for profit. Once you buy a product, it becomes your property, and you can do with it as you please. Therefore, you're entitled to list previously purchased goods on some of the best online marketplace platforms in the UK and price them as you see fit - it's on buyers to discover if the set price is suitable for them. 

However, keep in mind that not all physical goods are suitable for reselling. Illegal drugs, narcotics, and other restricted products are forbidden from trading on the whole UK territory. Therefore, when starting an online store and choosing the niche, contact the local authorities and get informed about which product you're not allowed to trade. 

Is It Illegal to Resell Items Bought With Coupons and Products on Sale?

The same answer goes regarding all the products whose price was lowered at the time you bought them. However, note that it's not legal to sell goods whose expiring date has passed and those that have been stored in unsuitable places. Remember that you can even be legally prosecuted for endangering others with these sales.

Woman holding a bottle of perfume
Products on your listings must not jeopardize the health of your buyers

Unauthorized Use of Retail Trademarks - One of the Most Common Mistakes Resellers Make

Although becoming a reseller is generally legal, there are some fines you need to think about. For example, although manufacturers can't forbid you to sell their products after buying them, note that you can't use their trademarks for advertising without permission. Starting an eCommerce business with online selling tools such as eBay, Amazon, or Etsy can be easy and profitable as long as you remember not to use protected trademarks for advertising purposes. If you are only a small vendor, it can go unnoticed for a while, but the bigger your store gets, the larger the chance of you getting caught. 

Therefore, if you plan to grow your online shop, you have two choices ahead of you - either retain from using trademarks such as slogans and logos or you can contact the manufacturer and get their permit by becoming its authorized reseller.

Each Reseller Must Obey Customers' Legal Rights

Each reseller is a type of vendor and comes in contact with a buyer. Therefore, in order to have a legitimate online shop, resellers must respect customers' rights provided in different acts and regulations. For example, note that omitting valuable information about the product is not legal, and any personal data you've obtained from the customer must not be misused. 

Knowing more about customers' rights in the UK will undoubtedly help your eCommerce business, so make sure you study the video below:

Does a Reseller Need to Register a Business for It to Be Legal?

When starting an online store, you are not legally obliged to register your online store - you can offer your goods on a multi-vendor marketplace platform such as Depop or, for example, Shopify, even without it. However, if you wish to expand your online shop, advertise, and brand it, you should consider registering it. If you plan on succeeding in eCommerce and earning more than £1,000 with your shop, it must be legally recognized, and you must face taxes. 

Choosing a Model for Your Resale Business

As we sum it up above, if you plan to start living out of your online sales, your business needs to be registered. However, whether you want to make money with Vinted or earn from selling online with Shopify, you'll need to choose a structure most suitable for your situation. Here are some of the most significant models in the resale industry:

  • Self-employment - it implies you're a sole trader. With this model, you're responsible for paying income taxes, VAT, as well as National Insurance, but you are the only one in control of your store.
  • Partnership - you'll need to pay VAT and a partnership tax return annually but are not responsible for the corporation tax. In case of losses and debts, both partners are held liable. 
  • Limited company - a more complex model to set up than the previous ones. It separates the business from the owner. It's subjected to corporation tax and filing annual accounts with Companies House, but shareholders are not liable for the possible debts. 

In order to run a company legitimately, keep in mind that you must pay taxes each year - their type will depend on the model you are operating with. If you fail to do so, you can be faced with severe tax evasion penalties. 

Two persons calculating taxes
If you plan to make a living out of your shop, you'll need to learn all aspects of managing it

Let Your Reselling Business Grow by Connecting Multiple Platforms

Now that you know all about the lawful side of owning an online resale store, you should also learn how to build a successful shop. Listing on one online marketplace platform is a good place to start. However, if you have a desire to reach a wider audience and, therefore, increase sales, don't use just one selling software. Listing on multiple platforms can bring you a lot more potential buyers. Don't forget that you can crosspost on online marketplaces easily and promptly with the help of good multichannel listing software.

Our crossposting app - Zipsale - allows you to list, delist, and update listings on various platforms automatically, saving you a lot of time and energy in the process. With the help of this cross-listing software for selling online, our clients were able to increase their profits by 20% in just a short period of time. Therefore, if success is what you're striving for, don't hesitate to sign up and choose the plan that is right for you.


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