Ratings: Elle’s Guide to the Stars



(This post has been updated on April 16, 2016 with some new content and tips)


Nothing can start a more heated debate than the simple word ratings.

Receiving a perfect rating can make your day! On the other hand, a rating that we feel is unjust can ruin your weekend.

In this post I will address the system, my opinion of how it works, decoding the stars, and then I will give full disclosure on my own personal ratings.

When I joined Poshmark in April 2014, if a purchase was received and all was well (you were not going to contest the sale) you simply “accepted” it. If you had an issue (wasn’t as described, holes or stains that were not mentioned) then you would “report” the problem and Poshmark would take over. If the purchaser absolutely loved the item, you hoped that she would come back and comment in your closet- professing her love.

If she didn’t like it, well, things could get messy.

Fast Forward several months and we get a rating system. It’s no longer a yes or no… it’s a 1-5 star rating. 1 being the worst and 5 being the best. A purchaser can accept the package and let you know how they feel, be it good or bad. A purchase can be accepted and, for any reason, a single star can be given based on opinion, fit, packaging, shipping time… hell, you can give a single little star and not even explain yourself. On the other hand, you can give five stars and sing Posh praises!

In my opinion: The system is such a great idea and I believe that it will eventually evolve into a wonderful tool to help us make informed buying decisions.


On to the next chapter... Love Notes. I love this feature. Love Notes are the public 5 star ratings. In your “about” section of your closet (currently only visible on the app) are all the 5 star ratings you have received that include comments, as well as all the 5 star reviews that you have given to closets that you have purchased from. I know that it may on the surface not seem very handy or helpful because it’s all positive ratings and no negative, but let me tell you how I use it…

Utilizing LOVE Notes

As a BUYER: if I am going to purchase from a closet I take a peek and see how many she has received and read a few comments. If it is a popular closet that has been around a while and a top seller- I would expect to see 75 or more ratings (just throwing out a number). I pay attention to comments that include “fast shipping” and “as described.”

As a SELLER: if someone makes an offer or makes a purchase- I check the ratings they have given. If she mentions “fast shipping” I know that is important to her. If she raves about packaging- I make sure to do the best I can and pay attention to detail. I utilize this to ensure she has a positive experience with me.


Elle’s Guide to the Stars

As a buyer… here is my mentality on how I hand out stars…

1 Star: wasn’t shipped for 5-7 days with no communication of delay. Maybe no communication at all. Although light wear was mentioned, it was actually worse than alluded, no packaging (just thrown in box). I want to keep the item (as opposed to contacting Posh to arrange a “return”) but want the seller to know where they can improve.

2 Stars: same reasoning as a 1 star but maybe only 2 or 3 aforementioned issues- again, want to keep the item.

3 Stars: Indifferent and only 1 issue.

4 Stars: Mostly happy but there just was something that could have been better and worth mentioning and deducting a star.

5 Stars: Perfect/Excellent/Acceptable. Even though it may not have been the right fit- I may not even like it- but everything was as described and the seller shipper in a timely manner/communicated/ did nothing to deceive me.

The above is how I feel… but to be honest, I have never given less than 5 Stars.

Have I liked all my purchases? No. I have received items full of fuzz, small flaws, and pieces that didn’t fit me. But I have never felt as though I was deceived. Deception would be if I asked a direct question and received an answer and the opposite turned out to be true. In the case of true deception- I would go straight through Poshmark support and arrange a return. If the listing didn’t mention specific condition and I didn’t ask- shame on me. You get your stars.

Don’t get me wrong- Yes, it is 100% a seller’s obligation to described the condition! However, if you purchase an item in which condition is not described- it is your responsibility to ask for details to protect yourself from a huge mess later.

Closets that only purchase may see things differently. To some, a four Star rating is a huge compliment and a 5 star rating simply does not exist. If you are not an experienced seller or strive to be a top seller- you may not know how much value a seller places on stars!

Regardless, our feelings still get hurt. Nothing stings like a 4 Star rating when you feel you gave 5 Star service. You may feel like you want to shut down your closet.

You are not alone. Most of us have 3-4 stars on our record. Some have 1-2 stars sitting there haunting us. I have had many Posh friends vent to me (sometimes ready to close down their closet!) because of a low rating. SO, I will share with you what I share with my Posh friends.

If you are taking the time to read this blog, I consider you a Posh Friend… and I want you to know- it has happened to everyone…

This is why I am baring it all to my dear readers… here is my “shame”! (Accurate as of March 2015)


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Yes, my first star deduction kept me up at night! But you know what? I decided to learn from these…

If the above is how the buyer felt then that’s how the transaction came across.

I am not angry, I did not run and “block” them. I decided to take the comments into consideration and LEARN from them.

This is what I have learned…

  • I now list measurements- or offer measurements on request.
  • I state the color even if I feel it is obvious. (Haven’t we learned so much from this month’s ‘What color is the Dress’ internet sensation?
  • I ask more questions when I shop.
  • I will never be able to fully avoid a less than 5 rating. We all have different opinions and views on how to win over those stars. However, I have learned that it is okay. It’s okay to not be perfect in everyone’s eyes.
  • Some buyers think that a 4 Star rating is outstanding and have no clue that you are disappointed.


I get asked quite often “I have an overall 4.9 rating, will I ever get back to a 5.0?”

Yes, since I originally wrote this article last year- I have received many ratings all across the board. However, my 5 Stars outweigh the lesser and I have maintained a 5.0. Just keep collecting the 5 Stars and you will get it back!

Tips to “wow” your customers:

  • Include a thank you note
  • Small token or free gift
  • Cute ribbon or tissue paper
  • FAST SHIPPING (same day or next day)


My hope is that if you have recently received you first “less than perfect” rating, or if you felt like the only person who gets bothered by 4 Stars… that this post might you might feel better about it!




28 thoughts on “Ratings: Elle’s Guide to the Stars

  1. Hi Elle! This was a wonderful way of explaining the ratings system. We’ll never ever please everyone. Last month I had a 4 star rating, yes, it did bother me a bit, because the buyer raved about this top I sold her. She also complimented me on how I wrapped it, threw in a couple free gifts, and thanked me for a pretty “thank you” card! I messaged her and asked why she gave me a 4/5 because I’m always concerned about customer service, etc. and what I can do to improve. Well, she never bothered to acknowledge or answer me back, ugh! I guess for some, the written words won’t match the # of stars but it’s okay ๐Ÿ™‚ Dorothy xo

    1. Exactly! That’s a great example of what I was talking about- I think some people wouldn’t give a 5th star unless you hand delivered during a snowstorm! Thanks for sharing ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Lol Elle! So very true! I’m glad you’re doing your blog and these topics really are great for us vets, newbies & everyone in between

  3. This is a great post! I had a very frustration experience recently. Someone purchased an item without comments, and I shipped it out the same day. After shipping, the girl came back and said her toddler son took her phone and accidentally purchased the item on Posh. Though I felt badly for her, I couldn’t do anything to stop the transaction at that late stage. When the item reached her, Posh didn’t agree with her reason to want to return, so she gave me a 1 star rating with all sorts of terrible retaliatory comments. Super frustrating, but there’s not much to be done about it. Hopefully Posh will institute a system of removing retaliatory feedback (even though most feedback is not visible, it still brings down a seller’s ratings unfairly). As much as I love the rating system, like anything else, people have the power to abuse it too. I’m just waiting for someone to trick the system by giving a 5 star rating and then writing negative comments – what better way to have the “Love Notes” section reflect their dissatisfaction. Oy!

    1. I’m not gonna lie- I have thought the same thing about horrible comments on a 5!!! (Hopefully no one gets any ideas….) I just hope that eventually people will take it as serious as ebayers do… It took years but now on eBay you can see sellers responses to negative comments.

  4. Thanks for the great post! I find the ratings to be very helpful overall but sometimes frustrating. I wish that buyers would have to give a reason when they give 1 – 4 stars. I have two 4 star ratings that haunt me – both items were in excellent condition (one NWT), both were wrapped beautifully with a hand written thank you note, and both were shipped next day. I reached out to the buyers but they didn’t respond. I guess it’s up to me to realize that I can’t please everyone all the time!

  5. Hi, thank you for creating this blog. I have been on Poshmark for less than six months and I’m learning a lot of new things from your posts (i.e. Love Notes). I agree the rating system is an excellent idea, but it can be abused by some. I don’t really worry over 4-star ratings anymore because I figure I have enough 5-star rating to balance them out in the overall rating. However, I did receive a 4-star rating from a buyer who commented the items were in great condition & it was an excellent purchase. So, I’m not sure why she only gave me 4-stars. Now, I do have one 2-star rating that really got under my skin. The buyer purchased a popular item from my closet. It was pre-loved, but in excellent condition. I even got the item dry-cleaned before sending it to the buyer, which reduced my earning to less than $5. But I wanted a happy & hopefully repeat buyer. I shipped it within two days of purchase. But she gave me 2-stars and her only comment was “ok”. That’s frustrating because it’s difficult to identify what she didn’t like about her purchase. I’ve noticed that buyers who don’t sell on Poshmark seem to give the most critical rating. Once you’ve experience things from the sellers end, you tend to be more forgiving.

  6. Hi Elle,
    Since getting 1-4 star rating about a month ago, I’ve sold more listings and they were all 5 stars.. What’s baffling is my current 4.9 avg hasn’t budged at all! You’d think after all the sales afterwards, it would bump back up to 5 stars! Hmmm.. I often wonder about Poshmark’s programming and set-up. They really need an App overhaul on so many things. On some competitor sites, within the Make an Offer feature, you can private message a buyer to explain why you declined their offer or discuss other issues related to the intended purchase. No one else can see any comments or explanations but you & the buyer. There are many other features that need addressing but will save that discussion for another time ๐Ÿ™‚ xo

    1. Hi Dorothy! I found that for every 4 star rating, I needed at least 20 5 star ratings to average back to an overall 5 star. If you have surpassed that and are still at a 4.9 , maybe you should email posh support and see what you would need! I think that they do not allow private messaging because that’s the only way to police off site transactions- that’s the only reason I can think of!

  7. I actually got a 4 star rating on a listing before I even shipped it. When I contacted the buyer to let her know she had rated an item she hadn’t recieved yet, her response was, “Yes, sorry. And I can’t track the item now. Please, just make sure it gets here safely.”
    Ugh! It was a NWT Free People sweater, I sold it to her for about 80% off. It was wrapped up like a present, free gift included, in protective packaging. When I asked her if she recieved it a week later, no response. Crickets chirping…owls hooting….etc. It took a while for me to shake that one off.
    Every once in a while, I still look at that rating and grouse. I also don’t take it too seriously if I see less than five star ratings in someone else’s closet now. Unless the buyer takes the time to leave a comment, it is impossible to know what motivated the lower rating.

  8. I got a 2 star because the pants didn’t fit her body type….. I’m a Lil bitter. This person only shops PM, so I guess she wouldn’t understand why it’s important. But now I’m stuck at a 4.8. Hopefully there won’t be much more of that.

  9. There is a 2 star rating in my closet that still haunts me in my sleep. But 120 “5 stars” giving her a cold shoulder.:)

  10. OMG! I needed to read this! I stayed up nights wondering why a 4 star when I went out of my way to make everything perfect! Your are so right about people not giving a 5 star unless you delivered it personally in a snow storm ha! Thanks so much for making my day!

  11. You are so on the money. Even the best sellers wonder why a 4 or less. I’ve enough 5’s to outweigh a lower rating now and again and getting a 4 certainly isn’t a pleasure. However, I’ve seen sellers rail with a vengeance against the system. Don’t they ever Google a new restaurant, check the net reviews on a home service or heard of references before hiring? I see the system as a way for buyers to check me out before they buy. I’m always going to check a seller. As for abusing the system? Oh yeah, it’s been done. A seller told me she wouldn’t ship an item same day if I didn’t give her 5 stars. Was I miffed…uh YEAH! However, I thought okay, I think I need this, accepted it the second it arrived. Gave her 5 stars as I thought was fair, although she threw the garment unprotected and unwrapped in a huge box. Then it got ugly. Apparently, I didn’t do enough, she wanted a Love Note and I was told that in no uncertain terms. Did I give her one? Um…Yes! Under her 5 stars, she got what she asked. If that’s abuse? Guilty! Sometimes it’s better NOT to poke the bear. I do my very best as a seller and I give 5 stars if other sellers even get close to the mark. Posh has to have some kind of review system to grow. This one may need tweaking, especially between retail and resale. Not all buyers acknowledge they know the difference or that retail has options for recompense not available to resale. All in all, a review system was inevitable. I’ve seen worse.

  12. By the comments, it’s clear that you’ve struck a nerve with this post. I recently got a 4 star on an item that had original tags, as well as original sewn- in size label. Buyer gave me 4 stars because I should have told her “it was not a true 14.”!! She bought w no questions asked re: measurements, etc. even though she may have not been a true 14, I chose to take it as a learning experience and will post measurements in the future! Love the blog!

  13. Ok ok, because we all are in the same boat. ..I’ve received two 4-star ratings both because the item (both NWT items) didn’t fit – AFTER me providing measurements and in one of the sales, extremely graphic (?) details about fit and coverage. Beyond frustrating.
    However, the WORST was a 2-star I received for “shipping speed,” on a NWT item. I shipped the item on the same day as purchased, the buyer received on the second day i.e. shipped Tuesday, received Thursday AND she actually got the package the morning of new years eve! I actually emailed PMHQ because the rating was an outright lie and I was pretty upset, I wanted an override! They said no. lol (it’s totally the buyers ‘opinion’)

  14. My very first posh sale got a 4. The “area for improvement” she gave was Other, with no explanation. As a newbie, it never occurred to me to reach out and ask what that meant. I’d described accurately, shipped quickly, packaged securely, included a card… Guess you can’t please everyone. That 4.9 stings, though. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Love your blog! Glad I found it!

  15. Hey Elle! Thanks so much for writing this post. I just recently had a below 5-star rating with no real explanation to why (she selected “other” for reason) and this has helped me keep it in perspective.

    Just wanted to ask if you reached out to those who gave you feedback? Would you recommend it to clarify what might need to be improved?

    1. Hey! Quite honestly I do not reach out. I personally just let it go. Unless I was selling something in bulk (wholesale) and I was consistently having issues then I would ask. A lot of people DO ask if it was less than 5 but it’s up to you.

      1. Thanks! I wasn’t sure what I should do. I don’t mind feedback because it will make me better. I wondered if a buyer would simply refrain from engaging in that type of conversation. Or having that type of comment permanently on a listing. Thanks so much for your advice! ๐Ÿ’

        1. I’m not sure how long you have been selling on Poshmark, but if you are just starting out and you really want the feedback then go for it! I just assume that if they “wanted to talk about it” then they would have used the comment potion of the rating system. And yes, you could potentially have some feedback or a bad interaction on a sold listing if things go awry. Thank you so much for reading ! XOXO

  16. This makes me feel so much better. Despite hundreds of 5 ratings, the ones I wind up focusing on are the two low ratings because the item did not fit the way they wanted despite there being measurements in the listings. Rationally I know it silly to stare in horror at the low ratings instead of in pride at the 5s. The truth is on Posh there are both good and bad buyers and sellers as well as fair and unfair Posh support decisions. It is what it is, concentrate on the good unless the bad/ unfair starts to be too frequent.

  17. I have recently had two return cases decided against me. In both cases I had plenty of photographic evidence that the items were accurately described and undamaged. In both cases the buyers faked photos ( one by providing a dark photo and scrunched up a shirt making the size measurement look smaller than it is, the other the pulled a seam taut to make the seam looked opened and also splattered the item with reddish liquid which completely disappeared when I rinsed the item after it was returned ) . In both cases I had photos showing the exact measurement and the exact areas unstained and complete seam ( both from the listing itself and after the return). I thought folks here might be interested in the Posh support response, “…because the buyer provided photographic evidence, we were forced to approve the return case.” whe. Asked about my evidence, silence. I persisted, I was told they could not explain the contradiction of my photos versus the buyers, It seems that the official policy is if the buyer provides photos, support does not question if the photos are legitimate and they ignore any evidence the seller may have. Sadly Posh itself is rewarding the occasional dishonest buyer (and I am sure there are similar stories from the buyers’ point of view). The message is, be forewarned it is likely you will get dishonest buyers and do not expect support to be of any use. They simply do not seem to acknowledge that there may be dishonesty happening. Go into it with open eyes, most folks are honest, you will get unjust bad ratings and you will get scammed.

  18. I should mention that my above comments are not meant to say “Avoid Poshmark” they are meant to say “Set your expectations accordingly.” If I had even more aware of how things actually are I wouldn’t be so greatly disappointed by Posh. I was expecting better. Now I know.

  19. I have had three bad ratings so far. The First was a 3 star because the dress didn’t fit her (Too small) even though I provided measurements. The next a delightful 1 star that said I charged too much for the Lilly Pulitzer sweater vest I listed that she paid full asking price for (looking at her other reviews from that same day she purchased 2 other sweater vests originally from target and she gave those both 5 star ratings- she did pay $5 for those and $50 for mine) The third was today when I got another 1 star for the dress being too big.
    Not for stains or shipping time as i refuse to list anything that isn’t 100% but those have been my only three bad in 50 sales but seriously its annoying but I know its them not me. Blocked and moved on

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