Review: Sell By Mail with Buffalo Exchange

Howdy! Recently I decided to try Buffalo Exchange's Sell-By-Mail option since I had a pile of clothes packed up and just sitting in my closet. I was tired of bringing stuff to Beacon's Closet and Buffalo Exchange stores are just way further from me than I'd like to have to haul a bag to as a special trip. The clothes in this stack were a mix of brands - some Free People, Mata Traders, Urban Outfitters, vintage, etc. Half were off season and half were on-season. You can see the mix below:

  • 4 dresses (all Urban Renewal)
  • 2 jackets (Gap, Ann Taylor) -- boooring
  • 1 sweater
  • 1 cardigan
  • 4 short sleeve shirts (1 Free People, 1 Mata Traders) 
  • 3 long sleeve shirts (one Zara, 2 vintage) 
  • 1 pair of American Apparel Pants 

How it works:

You request a bag to be sent to you via an online form. The deal is you can fill the bag they send you and whatever they don't buy can be shipped back (for a hefty fee) or you can donate it to their monthly charity $1 sale. Once you fill your bag, you drop it off at a UPS location. When Buffalo Exchange receives the bag, they scan it and you receive an answer as to your bag's status within 5-10 days.

How it worked out for me:

Requesting the bag is easy and packing up the big bag they sent was a breeze. Finding a UPS store was minimal work and I was able to just bring my bag with me to Manhattan on my way to work and it wasn't too much of a hassle. The email updates they sent were timely and let me know exactly what where my fat bag was in their process and managed my expectations about when I could expect another update. 

I felt like donating the clothes they didn't purchase was fine - if it didn't get purchased it was going to our textile recycling drop-off anyway so it might be more likely to get used if it goes to a $1 charity sale vs what a NYC thrift store would price it as anyway. This made me a little envious of this $1 charity sale with the huge volume they get - imagine the deals! I figured they at most take 30% of what they receive.

Off-topic, of course because hi have you met me
I'm always jealous of thrifting and resale shops elsewhere. In NYC we have a "pay to be VIP" Housing Works sale, which may be why I never ever ever can find anything to buy at Housing Works. (Seriously do only '90s career women into synthetics donate there?) While I support their mission in general, I hate that VIP concept. I prefer my shopping to be egalitarian. (I know, I know, it's for charity.) Then there's the "bring gloves and dig through dirty bins" for both Goodwill and Housing Works. I have done the Housing Works warehouse "Buy the Bag" situation once and I could not find one thing I wanted to purchase much less pay like $15-25 for bag. I literally found a pair of Taxi the tv show-themed boxer shorts that made me laugh but that was the only redeeming inventory. NYC is a little too self-important in the used clothing resale area.

Circling back from my tangent -- how did the Buffalo Exchange sell-by-mail work out for me in terms of cash dollars? ZERO. They literally did not buy ONE thing. I figured they'd buy one or two of the Urban Renewal things and I'd get like $3 credit but this was a bit of a shocker. But also, like, shrug emoji. Whatcha gonna do, amirite?

How it worked out for others:

There weren't very many reviews online. I did dig around before I tried it and didn't see many reviews raving about selling by mail or pissing on it, either. This time around the ol' Google, however, I unearthed this bitter throw-down of an in-store experience which I thought was  worth posting. It is titled "I hate the Buffalo Exchange. Like, totally." There are several complaints that really don't have much to do with Buffalo Exchange buying clothes in that post but the fact that they didn't buy anything from her and then took her shoes out of the donation bin to put on the retail racks is really amazingly asshole-ish. I'm sure this is the exception but, wow. What the hell.

Let me know if you ever try the Buffalo Exchange sell-by-mail option (or if you have already, you pioneer person). I'm curious to see if you have as much crap luck as I did or if you offered the magical combination of cuts and patterns to the Buffalo Exchange God.


  1. i did thread up recently to see how it went, and thinking i could get a little credit to buy baby clothes on there. They actually accepted 11 of the things I sent, but gave me 6.50 in credit. SO, not really worth the time I spend going over my items to make sure they were in good shape, someone would still want them, etc. Travis and I cracked up at it when two months after sending it I got my email with my "results." less than a dollar and item..ok....

    1. Wow! I was wondering about ThredUp so I'm glad you mentioned it! I've looked there a few times. You got $6.50 more than I did at least! So well done! :D

  2. Man, this "we'll pay you if we feel like it" business model feels like a massive racket to me. THAT'S how little we care about clothes now, and how much we're willing to trust a business of strangers.

    After the "bitter throw-down" post I was dying to see a picture of the author. Had to see this person who hated hipsters so violently.

    1. I did the same thing. I really just posted it for the shoe thing because that was so outrageous!

    2. It was. The gall of some people!

  3. This (your post and the comments) is all very enlightening. I didn't know Buffalo Exchange did "sell by mail," but now I know I will not try it. And I don't think I'll try Thred Up either, haha! Just gonna donate to my local Goodwill that is walking distance from my apartment. I may not get any money, but it's convenient!

    1. I know! I was curious so I tried it but not worth the effort.

  4. The "Like, Totally" writer is SPOT-ON! I shopped/traded at Buffalo Exchange in San Francisco in the eighties and it was the same then as it is now - bored, condescending staff acting like high school mean girls - some things never change! I have used "sell by mail" a few times, however, because it's just so damn easy. I didn't make much at all. Three dollars, Nine Dollars, and 27 dollars (concert tees are always welcome, apparently). It's a super convenient way to rid yourself of clothing you no longer want or need, but you can certainly count on not getting much for your stuff, and there is always the chance that they aren't completely honest, all-natural cigarettes and cruelty-free vegan diets notwithstanding.!

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  6. I just received an email from BuffEx stated that none of my items was purchased. I filled in my bags with 25-30 pieces of clothes. They're all in good shape and some of them are the brands they prefer. I could understand if they don't purchase any other brands that are not listed on their website but I don't understand why they said no to these brands in mint conditions: Zara: check; Bloomingdale: check; Gap: check; Ann Taylor: check; Loft: check. I sent my clothes in the end of September and most of my items are for fall with light sweaters, pants, skirts, and tops.

    Another thing I don't understand is they don't like fast fashion like Forever21 but I have seen that brand on their racks every time I'm at their store in Berkeley, CA. I also have a F21 pair of sandals purchased there. :)


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