Last year, 24-year-old Ana was using Grailed’s female-focused site Heroine to sell clothes. “But certain unisex pieces weren’t getting enough traction so I moved over to Grailed,” she says. There, Ana tells me, she fared better. But after a few fairly successful months, the fees “started getting unreasonable.”
For example, if Ana sold a shirt for $50, Grailed would take $4.50 (nine percent for every transaction) and PayPal would take another $1.50 (three percent for every transaction). Add in $10 for shipping, and Ana’s take home was quickly whittled down to $34 from the $50 sale price. It was around this time she read online about a way to bypass Grailed’s fees altogether. “I put my Instagram in my Grailed bio and would subtly tell potential buyers to check my bio,” she says. The idea was to use Grailed’s customer reach without having to pay its fees. Per the Grailed subreddit, this is a common way to circumvent the app’s corporate overlords.
Doing so, however, puts you at risk of getting banned, as Grailed has a strict no “offsite activity policy.” It basically says any attempt to take a conversation or transaction off of the app is prohibited. If you do so, and your conversation or profile is flagged by a bot searching for specific keywords — e.g., “check bio” — you get a warning, which Ana admits she probably received and ignored.
And so, after a few months of subterfuge, she was locked out of her account. “When you open the app/site you’ve been logged out,” she explains. “And when you try signing back on, it tells you that your account has been frozen.”
While slyly advising potential customers to check your Instagram is one way to get banned from the app, there are plenty of others too. Calvin, 26, tells me that he was banned for what he assumes was spamming people with offers for the clothes he was selling. “I understand it’s a warranted offense, but I don’t believe that sending the same offer to multiple different distinct users is spamming,” he argues. “They all might have interest in the product that I’m trying to sell.” He adds that if he ever gets reinstated, he’ll “be sure to word it [offers] differently each and every time if that tickles your fancy.”
For her part, Ana has tried to appeal her ban. She wrote an email to banned@Grailed.com and asked them to reconsider their stance. “But no luck,” she says. “Any subsequent accounts I made were also taken down since they were tied to the same PayPal account and phone number.”
Others, though, have had better luck with their appeals. “Just email them. I’ve been unbanned twice, both for legitimate reasons,” writes one subscriber to the Grailed subreddit. “I apologized and said I wouldn’t do it again, and they were chill about it and let me off with a warning.”
It seems the only way to truly get banned for life is by attempting to sell fake stuff. “You’ve been banned for selling inauthentic Supreme accessories, which we have zero tolerance for,” the official Grailed Reddit account responded to a redditor pleading his case. “As we’ve already explained, your account will not be reinstated.” The same goes for Sean, a 28-year-old who admits to me that he was selling knockoffs, and that as a result, his account was yanked permanently.
But according to another Grailed user, even in these cases, there is a workaround of sorts. “From my experience, you can link the same PayPal over again to marketplaces,” they write on aspkin Suspension Forums. “Change your primary email and remove all API permissions from that site. Then try mobile data with fresh IP.” In other words, it requires a bit of computer hacker-y, but no matter your transgression, you can eventually be back in business.
Or you could do what Ana did and just use a different resale platform instead. She isn’t reformed as much as she is savvier. An outlaw on Grailed perhaps, but a shrewd operator everywhere else — until, at least, the terms of service catch up with her once more. “Depop is the same, but it’s a lot easier to do offsite transactions,” she says. “You can even see the city the item is listed in, so a local meetup is possible as well.”