Etsy is a big marketplace where vintage and art buyers and sellers come together. Everyone can start selling, making Etsy a great and easy way to start a full-time online business or a profitable side hustle. But is it safe to sell on here? What are the risks as a seller and how do you prevent getting scammed?
Anyone Can Sell On Etsy
Etsy is kind of like an artsy variant of eBay. Everyone can buy from it and everyone can offer their own services on the platform. Etsy is free to sell on (aside from the $0.20 per listing) and requires no monthly costs.
To sell on Etsy, all you need is a product. You can sell vintage pieces, you can sell a digitalized version of your own art and you can even sell your art on t-shirts, mugs, posters, and more through print on demand.
For the creative people among us, Etsy is a great way to make some extra money. Some even have started full-time businesses through Etsy!
Is Selling on Etsy Safe?
Selling on Etsy is about as safe as selling on any other marketplace platform. You might encounter an annoying or even unreasonable customer every now and then but that’s true for any sort of business.
The best way to ensure your safety as an Etsy Seller is to make sure your store and separate orders comply with Etsy’s Seller Protection Policy.
You should also make sure you have store policies in place for Returns, Exchanges and Custom Orders.
This way, buyers know what they can expect from your store and you can work within those policies.
Etsy’s Seller Protection
You as a seller are protected under Etsy’s Seller Protection Policy. This means that if a certain buyer tries to scam you, or attempts a chargeback, Etsy will come in-between and help you out.
However, keep in mind that in order to win a dispute, you need to be fully within your rights.
Etsy requires you to respond to inquiries within 3 calendar days, if you can’t do that, the dispute won’t be ruled in your favor.
Also keep in mind that just because you are protected by the seller protection, that doesn’t mean you will win the dispute. Only if Etsy deems the buying party unreasonable or a scammer/fraudulent customer they will rule in your favor.
How To Get Protected By Etsy’s Seller Protection Policy
Every seller can get protected under Etsy’s Seller Protection Policy and you most likely already are but just to be safe, here are the steps you need to perform in order to be 100% protected:
- Read the Etsy Policies and never break them (this can get your removed from the seller protection)
- Make sure all your Shop Policies are filled out. Make sure you at least have a return, exchange, and custom order policy in place. Also, check whether these policies comply both with Etsy’s policies and your own local laws.
- Use accurate images and descriptions within your listing, do not try to cheat or hide anything from your customers.
- Do not lie about shipping and processing times. You should have an accurate estimation in place. Don’t list the quickest possible time. Your print on demand supplier might be behind on orders or if you’re sending out products yourself you might not always be available to ship it out right away.
- If a buyer disputes one of your orders, give Etsy your full cooperation during this process. Be informative and polite with your replies. Provide any evidence and useful information and cancel or refund when Etsy tells you to do so.
Etsy can deem separate orders ineligible if they didn’t comply with the following rules:
- The order wasn’t shipped within the listed shipping times.
- Only ship the order to the address provided on Etsy.
- Only mark the order as shipped AFTER you shipped it.
- Shipping proof provided (tracking number)
- Use Etsy Payments to receive payments
How To Prevent Disputes On Etsy
Disputes are bad for business. Multiple disputes can get your store suspended. On top of that, buyers with negative experiences will leave bad reviews which in turn results in less and less orders.
In order to prevent disputes on Etsy, you must offer good customer service.
Seriously. Do not make the mistake of treating your customers poorly, this never works.
Good customer service means you are polite, helpful, respectful at all times and very responsive.
Answer your customers questions and if you encounter a bad customer, try to resolve the issue before they dispute the order.
And yes, sometime you will have to refund a customer and eat a loss. That’s just part of business.
How To Resolve Etsy Disputes
One thing you have to understand about disputes on any platform is that the platform will most likely stand behind the customer.
So unless the platform deems the customer truly unreasonable and within violation of your and etsy’s policies, they will likely make you refund the order or accept the return.
The first stage of a dispute is without Etsy’s support. Here you want to come up with solutions to satisfy the buyer and work together to closing the dispute.
If you can’t come to an agreement within 3 days, the dispute will be escalated to Etsy.
You do not want this unless you are absolutely confident you will win the case.
Always try to come up with solutions that you think the customer will accept. Don’t be unreasonable just because your customer is being unreasonable, they are the ones paying here, remember that!
Continue reading: How to resolve a dispute on Etsy
Etsy Review Extortion
Review extortion is a common practise on all online marketplaces, including Etsy.
Sometimes, a customer will threaten to leave a bad review in order to get you to refund an order or even give them something completely for free. Bad reviews will hurt your business and some customers try to take advantage of that.
This is called Etsy Review Extortion.
Luckily, this practise is completely against both Etsy’s seller and buyer policy.
If this happens on Etsy’s platform (through Etsy’s messaging platform), you can report the review and Etsy will remove the negative review and possibly ban the buyer.
If that doesn’t work, contact Etsy directly (preferably by phone) to report the issue.
You can also try contacting Etsy on their email [email protected] to report a review extortion.
Etsy Is Safe To Sell On If…
Selling on Etsy is a good way to make some extra cash and is generally very safe. However, you’re also running a business which means you will run into some issues and one point or another.
This means you will have to deal with demanding clients, disputes and so on.
Make sure you have good policies in place, provide prime customer service at all times and try to resolve any issues that may occur.
Eating a loss and refunding an order is almost always better than having someone leave a bad review or losing a dispute.
As a seller you are protected under Etsy’s Seller Protection Policy, I highly suggest you give that a read and make sure you comply with it’s requirements.