NWT & NWOT: Buyer/Seller Confusion over their Meanings

165 Likes Comments Comment
Like if this guide is helpful

A Guide to the Meanings Behind Clothing Listed as NWT or NWOT

What does NWT and NWOT mean to sellers and buyers? Well, they actually have different meanings and as a Seller I want to share my perspective of the difference in meanings to help stop some of the confusion and misunderstandings between these coded labels. I want to help buyers understand what is expected of sellers and how we should be trusted to list our items accurately but inform buyers that at the same time we have choices and guidelines that we have to follow as well that you may not be aware of. So here's an insider track to what sellers are thinking when they list their items as New. 

For buyers, N.W.T. means New With Tags and for the most part is thought to mean that the clothing item that they are looking for is brand spanking new with ALL retail hang tags still attached and is even showing the full M.S.R.P. (Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price) on it. For buyers, N.W.O.T. means New Without Tags and is thought to mean for the most part that an item is still new but does not include price tags. Well, these meanings are simply not accurate and at times contrary to what a seller's true meaning is. As easy as this coded system sounds for eBay's labeling process, it is still the most confusing method of describing an item and the reason for many buyer/seller disputes. I wish that eBay would just simplify the specifics into categories that only include New or Used, because really, isn't that truly what we look for in buying clothing? Excluding items that need to be authenticated by their manufacturer's original tags such as Designers who create original items that may be faked (i.e. Coach, Ed Hardy, UGG, etc.) aren't we all just looking for whether a specific item is new or used?

I am a seller of children's and family clothing and a very reputable and trustworthy seller at that! I have achieved Powerseller status and have 100% feedback, selling for 10 years. I take selling seriously and customer satisfaction is my number one priority. In my eBay store, Spottie and Dottie I list new and used brand name items. So I have experience in listing clothing of different conditions and I'm here to explain a seller's point of view on descriptions. It is not my intention to deceive or falsely describe an item in order to get a quick sale. My descriptions are clear and accurate and I'm also available to answer with the best of my knowledge any questions that a buyer may have about a product that I'm selling.

Now with that said, for Sellers, N.W.T. means New With Tags and that means the item is brand spanking new and may have but may not be limited to tags of ANY kind either retail store hang tags, price tags or sale/markdown tags, brand tags that reveal the item's name brand, inside tags for size, care, and materials, etc. These tags can come in the form of paper tags attached by plastic hangs or fabric labels sewn into the items. In order for an item to be listed as NWT, it doesn't have to have ALL of these just one or the other. I'll explain why later. Also for Sellers, N.W.O.T. means New Without Tags and that means the item is still new but has NO labels whatsoever. I'll explain in detail later why an item would even be listed this way.

NEW WITH TAGS: why is there confusion? A buyer asks, "I just received my item and it doesn't have any retail tags on it but your listing states it is NWT. This item is not as it is described!" Ok, so what is a retail tag? When you shop at Old Navy, an item sold there is specifically an Old Navy branded item and may or may not come with a hang tag on it that shows Old Navy as the manufacturer. It may or may not also include a price tag. These are retail tags. Some stores are letting go of the old price tags though and opting for displaying the prices openly with signs and just having bar codes to scan at the register. When you shop at Macy's, items there will be of various brand names because Macy's is a multi-brand department store. So here you will find an item that may or may not include a brand name tag to distinguish the manufacturer as well as Macy's own price tags and their inventory bar code. This labeling is done for purposes of returns and stocking. These are other examples of retail tags. These retail tags however are not attached to the items by the manufacturers because these items are distributed to many different stores and sellers. The retail tags are attached to the items by the venue that is selling the items before they are displayed and stocked out on the sales floor. As a seller, I buy my merchandise from many different sources to be able to offer choices in great deals to buyers. Most of my items do NOT however come from actual Retail Stores. My online/eBay store is the Retail Store. My clothing sometimes comes direct from the manufacturer just as Old Navy or Macy's would, and I choose not to attach my own personal hang tags to the items because they are not being displayed in a brick-and-mortar store. So these name brands that you see listed in my store are still indeed listed as NWT because they are still brand new and may be direct from the manufacturer. They don't arrive to me with retail tags. Some are shipped flat packed in dry-cleaning type bags with hangers while others are packed together in size sets (2Smalls, 2Mediums, 2Larges) all in one plastic bag. Every item has inside name labels, care instructions, sizes and a materials list sewn into the item. But these items are still NWT. Also sometimes I buy famous brand name clothing direct from a retail store's supply distributor who sells overstocks, shelf pulls, discontinued items, and returns. These items are sold to me in bulk of various sizes like pallets or 500 piece lots, etc. Now because these items are coming from retail chains, they may have store hang tags or price markdown tags etc. but not always. Again, sometimes these overstocks never even make it to the sales floor. Also these items sometimes come from the Catalog or Online division of a retail chain and those items seldom have tags too. When you order online at Old Navy, your item is usually shipped to you in the original plastic bag with a stickered label on the outside...no tags. So again, NWT can encompass a whole range of meanings but rest assured that it still means "New".

NEW WITHOUT TAGS: what is the difference then? A buyer once asked, "If the item is listed as NWOT then is it used?" The only difference between NWOT and NWT is that the item doesn't have any tags at all or the necessary tags to identify the authenticity of the item. These items are still brand new but may not carry the care tags, size tags, or brand name labels on the inside. So why would these labels even be missing if these items are new? Well, when overstock items or returns are sold to private sellers such as myself from retail supply distributors, sometimes they mark through the labels with a big black line or even cut these tags out. This is done due to a legal obligation from the retail store to help prevent fraudulent returns. If this safety measure wasn't in place, then you could buy an overstock item from me at a very low price and turn around and take it back to the retail store as a return for a store merchandise credit with a value of much more than the item's cost. So these items have the tags removed and therefore are considered NWOT. Another example of listing an item as NWOT is when the item you are selling is an original or other authentic brand that tends to be highly copied or replicated on the black market and it doesn't include these authenticated tags. If you are selling original sports jerseys for a profressional sports team then you would be required to have ALL tags in place in order to be able to identify that the jersey isn't fake. If you are selling "real" jerseys but didn't have those original tags then you would have to list the items as NWOT. Also if you are selling famous designer brand clothing like UGG or Ed Hardy, these are specific brands that require their manufacturer hang tags to be on the products to identify their authenticity because the tags are original. The same goes for something like Coach purses. Again if you are selling these items and don't have these original tags or authenticity cards then you must list them as NWOT. But again, rest assured that all these items are still "New".

Some sellers however do not have the resources like me to be able to buy from the manufacturer or to buy in bulk from the supply distributers. So these sellers may "hand-pick" items directly from retail stores and buy during clearance sales or markdowns, or going-out-of business sales, etc. and then list these items at a higher price for profit or even become personal shoppers for you for a fee and sell small lots. Of course, these items would have all tags in place because they were bought at a retail store. Also there are small time sellers who sell personal items that they may have received as gifts or bought themselves and changed their minds on, etc. These sellers may not even have eBay stores and may be selling for the first time or may have only sold a few things here and there. Their items would also probably have all tags attached too. I think this was the original intention and reasoning behind eBay's choice to label the condition of clothing in this way. EBay started out as a big online garage/yard sale. Since then eBay has greatly evolved and the seller has changed to include many Momprenuers such as myself who now work fulltime in our eBay stores. So as you can see, there are many intricate details to the conditional terms, NWT and NWOT.

As a Powerseller and an eBay store owner, I receive tips and helpful information from eBay on how to optimize my selling techniques. I also get guides on how to describe accurately and promote a trustworthy experience. These selling practices sometimes aren't common knowledge among buyers and therefore I think my advice could be very helpful to you. When a buyer is looking for an item and you are reading the auction for details, please be advised to read the entire listing description completely. Don't judge the item by the photo alone or the title alone. Photos and the appearance of colors vary by computer monitor displays, mobile devices, and lighting. And the title of the item is what a seller uses to categorize and briefly describe the item for quick viewing and search optimization. It is the first thing you see on a page full of similar items from different sellers. But buyers, please take note: a seller is only allowed a certain number of letters or characters to be used in the title and we are advised on how to use certain words to aid in better search results. The next thing you see are the item specifics. Again, sellers are advised to stay within the means or choices in order to obtain better search results. For example, we may be selling a turquoise shirt but turquoise isn't one of the main choices for colors in the item specifics. So eBay advises us to list the item in the blue category so it will show up in better results. I've actually had buyers who asked why the item was listed incorrectly before. These tips for optimizing selling results are taught by eBay and not considered deceiving or misleading. There are also tips that advise sellers to put more details into their description that not only describe the product but our code of ethics as well. Advertising and cross-merchandising are included here as well. Payment instructions, specific return policies, and shipping details are written here too. In fact many of these details aren't hand written for each individual listing, but rather a master template is created that inserts the same information into every listing. Some buyers think that sellers are trying to "hide" the item details within a bunch of mindless jargon about our stores. This isn't true at all. We are simply doing what eBay advises us to do as far as making our descriptions more personal for the shopper. Did you know that an item can be damaged but listed as NWT? Just because an item has a defect or flaw doesn't mean that it is Used. But if an item does have any damages then they must have the damages described in the listing. So as you can see from my perspective, there are many terms to a sale....the condition of an item, the details, the seller's purchasing instructions. The best advise that I can give to a buyer is to read the entire listing completely! And when all else fails, you are free to ask as many questions as you want!

So thanks for reading my very endless speech on NWT verses NWOT. I hope it helps you in determining what to buy and who to buy from here on eBay. PLEASE CHECK YES AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PAGE IF THIS GUIDE WAS HELPFUL! If you are interested, please visit my store, Spottie and Dottie for the best deals on name brand clothing for Kids and Families on eBay or at least spread the word to a parent friend. Good Luck and Happy Bidding! Thanks, Kim

Explore more guides