Hello There! Let Me Give You the Real Deal on Chairish…

Before we dive in, let me introduce myself. I‘m Amanda – resident furniture fanatic and savvy shopper extraordinaire. With 15+ years tracking trends and evaluating experiences across dozens of digital marketplaces and retailers, I‘ve developed a knack for separating quality services from pretty façades and fancy language promising the world.

And that critical eye led me to eventually try the one-and-only Chairish…

So What Exactly is Chairish?

For anyone unfamiliar, Chairish is an online furniture resale marketplace launching back in 2013. They‘ve built a reputation for curating and connecting buyers and sellers across everything from antique finds to vintage modern designs and newly-crafted items.

The website (and apps) allow you to browse, purchase and list your own furnishings for sale through their platform. Their promise? To make scoring quality secondhand home goods from the comfort of your couch an Instagram-worthy reality.

But between sky-high price tags and shipping risks, does Chairish really deliver on that glossy vision? I sought to find out firsthand…

My Quest to Separate Chairish Fact from Fiction

As someone who has furnishing nearly 3 homes over the past decade scourging Facebook Marketplace, thrift stores and garage sales for hidden gems, I remained skeptical of Chairish’s value from the sidelines for years.

Could they really offer such rare and covetable mid-century, Victorian or Art Deco pieces consistently enough to justify the clearly inflated costs? And what about better protecting buyers on the shipping and delivery end of things compared to the DIY experience I was used to elsewhere?

I set out to get answers to those key questions and more by:

  • Comparing Chairish prices vs the same or similar items across alternative sites like Facebook Marketplace, 1stDibs and local antique shops
  • Surveying past Chairish buyers and sellers directly thru forums and social media groups to learn about their first-hand experiences
  • Reading thru all available Furniture reviews from impartial sources like Consumer Reports and TrustPilot assessing positives and negatives
  • Tracking the complete buyer journey for myself – from browsing listings to making a purchase; communicating with the seller and Chairish on fulfillment; receiving, inspecting and attempting to return the item

Let me break down for you what I uncovered…

Price Tags That Made My Eyes Water

As a bargain shopper by nature, I must admit seeing those Chairish price tags at first glance pushed me into minor panic mode. We’re talking often 3X+ the cost of the exact same piece I could locally source thru Facebook Marketplace or a consignment shop.

To illustrate with real numbers:

  • Mid-century teak credenza seen on Chairish for $3,500
    • Same model found locally on Craigslist for $800
  • Antique oak secretary desk listed at $2,250
    • Comparable desks ranged $650-900 at area antique dealer

You’re essentially paying for Chairish’s end-to-end curation, authentication and delivery service layered on top of the actual furniture cost. But oh what a steep premium it is!

Digging deeper into the economics, I discovered sellers themselves are still netting healthy profits even after Chairish takes its over 40% transaction cut.

Let‘s Break Down a Sample Transaction

  • Lucy lists a Milo Baughman chrome and leather lounge chair she purchased for $250 at an estate sale
  • Lucy invests $125 to have chair professionally cleaned and light damage repaired
  • Lucy lists chair on Chairish for $1,800 plus buyer-paid shipping
  • A buyer purchases chair along with white glove delivery for $2100 total
  • Chairish takes its 45% commission = $945
  • Lucy earns $855 profit on her $375 invested – a stellar 228% return!

So while Chairish buyers pay dearly, that hefty commission model allows the platform to make a healthy profit themselves and enables sellers to uniquely maximize earnings in the secondary market.

Whether those economics justify the costs depends on your budget and how much value you place on factors like selection, curation, shipping and authentication relative to other options.

I struggled a bit with the sticker shock myself, but decided ultimately the unique styles I was eyeing would be worth ponying up extra money to score items potentially unattainable otherwise.

Shipping Worries Made Me Think Twice

However, my moment of willingness to bite the higher price bullet was suddenly interrupted when I came across complaints of terribly-packaged shipments resulting in smashed chairs, scratched tables and cracked mirrors on delivery.


Digging into the experiences shared across Reddit threads and Consumer Affairs posts, I pieced together this picture:

  • Certain sellers fail to properly box, pad and crate items according to basic best practices
  • Fragile pieces incur damage resulting from poor packing methods
  • Buyers report having to file claims and battle uphill fights to receive adequate compensation

Unlike retailers that handle all fulfillment internally, Chairish positions itself more like an “online flea market” with independent sellers packing and shipping purchases directly. Some clearly do this more adeptly than others.

And while Chairish does offer buyers up to $2500 protection for any shipping damage, reports indicate getting your payout remains easier said than done depending on how cooperative the seller chooses to be.

For instance, Mark told me about his recent incident:

“I bought a beautiful mid-century tiered coffee table in ‘excellent’ stated condition for over $900 and awaited eagerly for delivery. When FedEx arrived, the box was so badly smashed that wood pieces of the table itself poked thru holes. I submitted photos immediately to both the seller and Chairish requesting a refund. But despite their shipping damage guarantee, I‘ve gotten zero reply from the seller and only generic “we apologize please be patient as we process your claim” responses from Chairish over two weeks later. So I‘m out $1,000 and have no sense if I‘ll ever see any compensation.”

Yikes again! 😟 Not quite the “we have your back” level of buyer protection and service I expected based on their messaging.

And Mark’s experience unfortunately doesn’t seem to be isolated. I found numerous buyers across review forums, Facebook groups stating:

  • Sellers dodging responsibility for damage they likely caused by poor packing
  • Chairish failing to stand up more firmly on the buyer’s behalf
  • Lots of frustration trying to get past generic platitudes to an actual resolution

A big disappointment for me and definite point of concern…

Attempting Returns Firsthand: Not So Easy After All…

Alright – so higher prices I came to terms with and risks of damaged deliveries I planned to mitigate by vetting seller reviews SUPER thoroughly before buying.

But I still had worries about Chairish’s return process if I happened to not like an item or felt it misrepresented online vs in person. Would it really be as seamless as touted?

Time to put it to the test!

I purchased a sweet vintage map chest described as being finished in warm medium wood tone. But upon delivery, the color came across far more orange-y with a major red tint. Plus a faded white stain splash marked one side – not visible at all in the listing photos.

👎 Not quite as advertised…

Despite messaging the seller right away with photos noting the color mismatch and stain, I was told simply “that’s just the nature of used furniture” and got denied an offer for even a partial refund.

So I reached out to Chairish Support within the 48 hour timeframe explaining politely this was clearly a case of misrepresented condition and I wanted to return for a full refund based on their guarantee.

Well…what I expected to be a painless experience ended up anything but.

Over two weeks of email and phone tag, Chairish basically corroborated the item was indeed “not accurately depicted” but that discrepancy didn’t necessarily warrant a return in their view. After MUCH back and forth communication pressing my case, including statements from a wood finish restoration expert I paid for a consult ($175 out of my pocket!), Chairish FINALLY approved my return request.

But, I would have to pay for return shipping at MY expense too! 🤯

For a heavy, oversized chest – we’re talking $300+ in shipping fees! Unacceptable!

At that point I gave up and decided keeping the chest wasn’t worth the hassle. But having to eat not only the base cost but personal expert and shipping expenses resulted in quite the frustrating, drawn-out experience vastly different than the “we make returns easy” message Chairish touts.

So buyers be warned – despite what Chairish may claim publicly about “not being stuck” with any purchase, getting an satisfactory return resolution still requires patience and some work.

The Bottom Line: Proceed ONLY With Clear Eyes & Low Expectations

If you‘ve made it this far, congrats! 😅 I know that was quite the Chairish deep dive filled with lots of mixed details.

So what‘s the bottom line recommendation on shopping there?

Well here’s my qualified perspective after extensive evaluation from both buyer and industry expert lenses:

The promise of Chairish is utterly intoxicating. Who WOULDN’T want easy access to the most fabulous curated selection of dreamy home furnishings available anywhere – straight to your doorstep?!

But in reality, numerous compromises emerge that can quickly shatter those grand expectations into frustrations. From inflated costs to shipping hazards to clunky returns – challenges await around nearly corner for the eager buyer lulled in by gorgeous imagery and seemingly "too good to be true" offerings.

Does that mean you should absolutely avoid Chairish?

Not necessarily. But I encourage any prospective buyer to enter clear-eyed and with accuracy picture of potential pitfalls in place BEFORE that first purchase.

Arm yourself with savvy evaluation skills, ask loads of vetting questions and ensure you have packing requirements in writing from the seller. Photograph absolutely everything during unboxing. And prep for an uphill battle getting recompense if things go south.

With the right diligence and managed expectations, you CAN land amazing one-of-a-kind home additions for a price you determine worthwhile despite higher risk elements. Just don’t bank on magically smooth sailing the whole way.

Ultimately for me, while Chairish remains an endlessly engaging browsing adventure (seriously, I can’t get enough!), I don‘t know I could fully get past ongoing concerns on price discrepancies and seller inconsistencies damaging wonderful purchases.

But for those with deeper pockets less worried about risks and hassles, by all means dip your toes in! Just proceed alert, self-empowered and willing to roll with the punches.

Hope this retailer reality check gives you the straight facts to decide if Chairish works for your style and budget! Drop any other questions below – happy to share more crowdsourced buyer experiences.

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