The Ultimate Guide to Mexico's Mercado Libre

Scouring for your Collection? │© frankieleon / flickr
Scouring for your Collection? │© frankieleon / flickr
Photo of Lydia Carey
30 October 2017

Welcome to Latin America’s most popular and useful online buying and selling site, Mercado Libre. We’ve got the lowdown on how to use the Mexico version, what to look for and what the benefits are to this incredible online resource. Read on to find out just how to buy and sell on Mercado Libre.

Getting started

To start shopping on Mercado Libre just enter the website, choose your country and register for an account. You will need an account for both buying and selling and it’s easy to set up with a few basic details about yourself. It also allows other people to review you and you can start building a reputation on the site.

Buying and Selling VolPelino / flickr


Once you’ve created your account you can search for the product you’re looking for. First choose a category (food & drink, appliances, books, magazines, etc). You can also search for vague terms like “Star Wars” or more detailed terms like “Star Wars blu-ray The Empire Strikes Back.” Use the filters for a more specific search. You can filter for location, price and condition of the item (you can select new or used here).

Always check the location of the your vendor. This helps to calculate the price of delivery or, if they are close, let’s you know you can probably go pick up the item in person. Prices appear in a range (much like on and you can choose if you want prices in a narrower range to make your search easier. Once you find what you like you are free to ask questions of the vendor within the product page to ensure you get what you want.

Want Vintage Stuff? Paul Townsend / flickr


If you want to buy but don’t have the cash you can put the item in your shopping cart or add it to your favorites. That way you can return to it later without having to search. The site also offers payment plans of up to 18 months. You can pay for your product several ways including depositing cash at an OXXO (a Mexican convenience store) a bank transfer, your credit or debit card or using your Mercado Pago – a balance of credit that you continually add to via the site.

There is also the option of the “contra-entrega” this means that you pay at the moment of sale, at an arranged location between you and your vendor. This is the preferred method of many as it means you get a look at the product before you buy, and if you decide not to go ahead with the purchase you are under no obligation.

Scouring for your Collection? │ | © frankieleon / flickr

What to look for

Once the transcation between you and your vendor is complete the site will ask both of you to rate the experience. Both vendor and buyer are encouraged to be courteous, punctual and honest because if not you will risk a bad rating. When you are looking to purchase goods it’s important to review the reputation of your vendor. As mentioned, everyone on the site gets a rating and you will have a good chance of having an excellent experience if your vendor has some good feedback.

The site itself also has a rating system for buyers that awards them with medals based on the happiness of their customers, their rate of sales, etc. Vendors with a high qualification will be provided extras like access to new tools on the site and preferential customer service.

Old books to get rid of? jvoves / flickr


To sell on the site you need to have established what you want to sell. When you go to set up an account you choose the type of item or service you are going to offer, upload photos, add social media contacts, upload your contact and location information, and of course, price. You can choose whether or not you want the “gold” or “bronze” ad category, each providing the seller different benefits.

Later you can choose various payment methods for recieving your money and decide whether or not you want Mercado Libre to be in charge of selling your products (you print out a shipping label and drop it off at a Mercado Libre distribution center) or if you want to send them yourself. Mercado Libre claims a more competitive mailing rate than the regular post.

Gears and gadgets to give away? Stanley Mill / flickr

The tips given to vendors on the site are to take clear photos and describe their products in as much detail as possible in the listings. Also, since you will be rated by sellers and your sales are often determined on your reputation, always be courteous and quick when replying to customers.

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