Is It Legal to Resell Items in the UK?

The second-hand market has witnessed a significant increase in the last few years and has become more popular between both entrepreneurs and buyers. But is it legal to resell items in the UK, or can you face some consequences for starting a reselling shop? Here is all you need to know about this topic.

Man packing a box
Is it legal to buy and resell items? Let's find out

Yes, you can resell goods in the UK legally, as long as you're not trading restricted goods. However, as a reseller, there are some laws and regulations you need to follow if you wish to run a legitimate shop.

What Does eCommerce Reselling Exactly Mean?

A reseller is an individual (or a company) who purchases goods in order to sell them for a higher price rather than use them. Those who wish to start an online business with no money usually opt for reselling since there is no cost to manufacture the products. Additionally, it takes a much lower level of commitment to simply buy and flip an item than create your own goods and later brand and advertise them. 

Many people opt to start an online store and flip products for profit since it has proven to be a lucrative side business. However, some are willing to go even further, investing more of their time and effort and making reselling their main occupation. 

If you are a reselling beginner, here are some valuable tips on how to start your eCommerce business:

Is It Legal to Resell Items From Retail Shops and Other Manufacturers?

Is it illegal to resell items for profit? For some, becoming a reseller may seem a bit shady. After all, you are selling a product that is not created by you, and you have every intention of doing so for a high price compared to its initial one

So, is it legal to buy items and resell them? Yes, it is - after you purchase an item, you'll be able to do with it as you wish. However, there are still some laws and regulations you must follow in order for your online store to be legitimate. 

First and foremost, you need to know which goods are allowed to be traded in the UK. For instance, there are some restricted goods, such as narcotics and drugs, that aren't allowed for trade and, therefore, in the resale industry. Additionally, if you wish to start a legitimate shop, keep in mind that you'll need to obtain certain permits and licenses. 

Most Common Legal Issues in the Resale Business

There are some common mistakes many inexperienced resellers tend to make, some of them more severe than others. As mentioned above, you have all the right to do as you please with the bought goods, including reselling them. However, there are some gray areas in which selling an item off can become problematic. 

For instance, it's illegal to use the manufacturer's trademark in order to advertise a product you plan to flip - if you don't have a manufacturer's permit. If you start using their trademark signal, you can be faced with a trademark infringement lawsuit, which can ruin your store. Therefore, it's always a better option to avoid using logos and slogans or simply ask for permission.

On the other hand, there are some warranty issues inherent to the resale industry since the majority of manufacturers deliver the warranties only to the first customers. Since the first customer would be you, your buyers would be deprived of it. However, if you're an official vendor, you may present yourself as a possible distributor to the manufacturer. You'll no longer be perceived as a first buyer, and your customers will be entitled to the manufacturer's warranty. 

woman with online shop on tablet
Make sure you know all the potential legal issues.

Read the Word of Law Carefully and Studiously Before You Start Selling Products

As a vendor, note that you'll need to obey laws regarding customer rights - if not, lawful actions may be initiated against you. We're advising you to consider:

  • Consumer Rights Act - all sold goods must have truthful descriptions. If you, for example, tend to sell a flawed product, a buyer must be informed about the defect before the purchase.
  • Consumer Contracts Regulation - specially designed for this type of online sale, it states that a buyer must be informed about product specifications, price, and current status. 
  • Data Protection Act - you are not allowed to misuse private information you obtain from your customers. This Act also regulates how you need to handle and protect these personal records.
  • Treating Customers With Fairness - an unofficial rule all (re)sellers in the UK must follow. It implies you must disclose every vital detail and not take any kind of advantage of your buyers when determining the value of second-hand goods

How to Get a Reseller Permit Before You Start Selling Items?

If you plan to use some of the best online selling platforms in the UK, such as Shopify, Amazon, eBay, or Vinted, and enter the online second-hand market as a reseller, it will be recognized as a business activity. Although you can sell without a permit or registered business, keep in mind that it may cause you difficulties in the long run. Therefore, note that getting a permit will allow you to flip products legally.

You'll have to register for self-assessment with HM Revenue and Customs if you plan on starting a shop as an individual and file a tax return annually. Also, you'll be required to pay value-added tax on the goods you plan to flip.

On the other hand, when you're ready to get a permit, you'll need to:

  • Gather application materials - contact your local authorities for more precise information on which documentation you'll need, 
  • Learn regulations - different local authorities have different rules regarding business models and products,
  • Register your shop - it can be done at your local parastatal that is responsible for this type of registration, 
  • File for the permit - it's a good solution to get a permit for all of those states you intend to buy the goods from.

Obtaining a permit usually implies paying certain fees. After you get this license, you'll be perceived as a government-recognized vendor, and your shop will be completely illegitimate. Not only that, but you'll be exempt from paying sales taxes, which can only positively affect your profits.

Boxespacked for shipping
Obtaining a permit will provide you with some significant benefits

A Reliable Crossposting App Is Necessary in Order for Resellers to Improve Their Sales

When you start your shop, you'll be able to choose between different online selling tools. An online multi-vendor marketplace platform is there to facilitate the process of reselling and help your eCommerce business grow. However, many resellers have started discovering that listing on more than one online marketplace platform helps them reach an even wider audience and get more sales. 

If you wish to start an eCommerce shop, it's a good idea to crosspost on multiple platforms. However, in order to succeed in eCommerce, you'll need the help of multichannel listing software - and that's where Zipsale comes along. This cross-listing software for selling online will help you manage your inventory, update the product information, and list and delist on all platforms at the same time. If you are searching for software to sell on both eBay and Depop and other platforms, take a look at what our crossposting tool can offer - and sign up as soon as possible.


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